Kenneth is a key figure in the UK arts and culture scene with over 40 years professional experience in the sector, currently working as a freelance creative consultant.
He began his career as a professional dancer, performing for 13 years with the internationally-acclaimed London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and then with other leading companies during a 25-year career as a performer, choreographer, teacher and director.
From 2007 to 2016, Kenneth was Chief Executive of The Place, the UK’s leading centre for contemporary dance development and from 2018 to 2020, was Director of The Africa Centre, in its new home in Southwark, London.
Most recently, he was Interim CEO of Eclipse Theatre, a Black-led touring theatre and production company based in Leeds.
Kenneth also serves on various arts charity boards and is a school governor.
Kit de Waal was born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father and brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Her debut novel, My Name Is Leon, was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, and winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017. In 2022, it was adapted for television by the BBC.
Kit’s second novel, The Trick to Time, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize and her young adult novel Becoming Dinah was shortlisted for the Carnegie CLIP Award 2020. A collection of short stories, Supporting Cast, was published in 2020. An anthology of working-class memoir, Common People, was crowdfunded and edited by herself in 2019.
Kit founded her own TV production company, Portopia Productions, as well as the Big Book Weekend, a free digital literary festival in 2020. She was named the FutureBook Person of the Year 2019, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Professor and Writer in Residence at Leicester University.
Her memoir Without Warning and Only Sometimes was published in August 2022.
Nicholas has been working in theatre, television and film for over 30 years, and his extensive list of credits include lead roles in the ABC / SKY series ‘For Life’, ‘Criminal’, ‘Counterpart’, ‘Top Boy’ (Channel 4 / Netflix), ‘Marcella’ (Netflix) and ‘Guerilla’ (Sky Atlantic).
His theatre credits include critically acclaimed roles in long running productions at venues such as the Royal Court and Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre.
Nicholas is a passionate advocate for mental health support in the Arts and has often spoken openly about his own personal battles with his mental health.
He is also an Ambassador for MIND, the mental health charity.
Olivia is an actor and musician from Manchester.
She has played the character of Dawn Taylor, a series regular in ITV’s Emmerdale since 2018, and was nominated for Best Soap Newcomer in the 2019 TV Choice Awards. She has worked regularly as a performer with theatre collectives such as all-female Shakespeare company, The Smooth Faced Gentlemen, actor-musician company Action To The Word, and was a member of 5 piece London band Damsen.
Olivia trained at The Oxford School of Drama.
She is passionate about creating positive change for women working in the Arts and improving the affordability and accessibility of mental health support for those who need it.
Ruby is a British actress, known primarily for her role as Miss Marina Thompson in Bridgerton. She began her acting career after graduating from high school, immersing herself in community theatre before working her way up through the industry.
Ruby has worked for a number of high profile companies including CBBC, BBC, Sky Atlantic, Netflix and Studio Canal, and recently won the Best Actress award at the British Urban Film Festival for her role as Yakira in multi-award winning independent feature ‘How To Stop A Recurring Dream’.
Mental health awareness and support has always been close to Ruby’s heart from a young age as she was put up for adoption due to her parents struggles with mental health.
After experiencing her own issues, Ruby has frequently spoken out about her mental health and recognises the importance of raising awareness of the support available to artists within the industry.