Co-founder & Artistic Director of the Hostry Festival and PBSK Partnership
As co-founder of the festival, Stash heads up yearly festival programming, commissioning projects, development & running of the programme. He also co-produces Hostry Festival Signature Projects the Norfolk Arts Awards and the African Choir of Norfolk.
He takes care of all creative management, reporting and general administration. Festival sustainability is key for Stash; the core festival team works hard to ensure the Hostry Festival continues to champion the arts in Norfolk for years to come. As artistic director, he programmes, casts and directs every aspect of the festival’s Central Production.
If you would like to chat about a creative idea over a coffee, become a partner, ambassador or volunteer, or would like to share your skills with the festival, get in touch with Stash at email@example.com.
Co-founder & Executive Producer of the Hostry Festival & PBSK Partnership
Peter is the Hostry Festival’s Co-founder and principal philanthropic investor. As co-chair of the festival committee, he oversees outgoing & incoming financials and is involved in fundraising, partnerships and co-programming of festival events alongside his co-founder Stash Kirkbride. Together they formed the PBSK Partnership in 2010 to “create and develop projects in Norfolk” which include the festival and its Signature Projects, The Norfolk Arts Awards, Total Ensemble Theatre Company, Paint Out, and most recently, The African Choir of Norfolk. These key annual events have developed under the creative umbrella of the festival all of which now engage with the Norfolk community throughout the year.
Peter is originally from Canada but has lived in the UK since the 1970s, moving to Norfolk in 2007. He graduated as an actor from The Drama Centre and Mountview Theatre School. He acts and performs in the festival’s Central Production each year, which he co-produces with his creative partner Stash. He’s played some very diverse roles since the festival’s first production way back in 2010 – visit our new Archive to see him in action!
Artistic Director & Founder of Total Ensemble Theatre Company
As co-founder of the festival, Rebecca played an integral role in establishing its cultural offering in the county. A professionally trained actor, she performed in several of the festival’s Central Productions before forming Total Ensemble Theatre Company (TETC), a Hostry Festival Signature Project.
As artistic director of TETC she develops, writes, casts and directs sublime pieces of movement-based theatre. She is a fierce advocate for inclusion; the company has been producing original ensemble productions with large casts made up of disabled and non-disabled performers since it was founded in 2011.
In 2018, she devised, wrote and directed the festival’s Central Production, Boy in the Lighthouse. A beautiful piece of theatre that received glowing reviews from the press and audiences alike. To find out more about Rebecca and TETC, visit: www.totalensemble.org.
Founder Member of the Hostry Festival & Norfolk Arts Awards
Peter is a founder member of the festival. As an actor, he has performed in several Central Productions. He held the role of Set Designer & Production Manager from 2010 to 2015 and co-wrote the 2012 Central Production, Hamlet. He went on to direct Central Productions in 2013 (A Doll’s House) and 2014 (The Country Wife). Peter is co-founder of the Norfolk Arts Awards with Stash Kirkbride.
He continues to work with the festival on a freelance basis, assisting with set design and development of the production offer. Peter works as a Theatre Director, Actor and Set Designer and is Director of Restless Natives. He is a UEA Alum.
Treasurer of the Hostry Festival Committee & Patron
Mike has been actively involved with the Hostry Festival since its inception. During this period he has played many roles, performer, presenter, promoter, associate producer being just some. Working closely with Stash and Peter he continues to help in the formation, management and governance of the festival as a member of the Hostry Festival Committee. He also is a member of the Total Ensemble Theatre Company management team acting as Treasurer.
Assistant Producer, Writer In Residence
Hamilton has been Assistant Producer of the Hostry Festival since it was founded in 2010. His role encompasses cast support, line learning (much appreciated during rehearsal season!), dramaturge during festival events, responsibility for Box Office requirements, support on casting, and so much more.
He brings warmth to every aspect of the festival (and even hosts cast parties with his wife, Hassanah!).
Artistic Director of the African Choir of Norfolk
Anna joined the festival in 2019 following the launch of the Hostry Festival Signature Project, African Choir of Norfolk. Anna’s vast experiences in voice and performance coupled with her winning personality and reputation made her the perfect choice to lead the choir. Anna’s remit is to engage with people of African heritage living in Norfolk and beyond, all of whom play a part in portraying the 54 countries of Africa through song over a five-year programme.
The choir’s member base is growing rapidly, with on-line rehearsals taking place thanks to support from Arts O’Lam and the Arts Council of Great Britain. The official launch of the African Choir of Norfolk is taking place on Friday 22nd October.2021.
MARK IVAN BENFIELD
Festival Productions & Events Manager
Mark joined the festival in 2014 as Productions & Events Manager. A long-standing member of the festival team, he heads up lighting design, development of technical aspects, cost savings and best use of spaces each year. He also oversees sound design & operations and manages the front of house team & backstage crew at main events. His knowledge and calm, supportive nature take the stress out of opening night! He’s also a talented photographer and often provides images for the festival brochure and programmes.
Mark is as a freelance Technical Manager with extensive experience in entertainment sector. Find out more about Mark’s freelance work here.
LAURA DE OLIVEIRA
Marketing & Project Coordinator
Laura joined the Hostry Festival in 2018 after meeting Stash while out walking her dog, Lulu. She holds the role of Marketing & Project Coordinator and is closely involved in all aspects of the festival, from editing and designing marketing material to coordinating interviews, filming and digital projects. She works closely with Stash and also helps deliver the annual Norfolk Arts Awards.
Passionate about inclusivity, she works closely with Rebecca Chapman’s Total Ensemble Theatre Company, helping with marketing, outreach workshops and backstage management. You may even catch her performing for the company on a stage near you soon! In her daily life, Laura is a freelance French to English translator, content writer & project manager. Find out more about her work here.
Social Media & Marketing
Katie joined the Hostry Festival team in 2022, taking on the management of our digital marketing. She heads up the social media coverage of the festival, including covering events and engaging with our brilliant sponsors across all our social media platforms. Katie first became involved with the Festival through our partnership with Norwich School, where she works in Marketing and Development.
Web & Email Hosting
Ashley at Nine2 is our website & email guru. Responsible for hosting the festival websites and managing our email systems too. He is an invaluable addition to the festival – Oh, and he’s an experienced sound & lighting engineer too. A very versatile team member! He is involved in the festival throughout the year, providing tech support as and when he can.
Ashley is the owner of Norwich-based digital agency, Nine2 and works with many arts-based organisations across the county.
Head of Graphic Design
Richard has been head of graphic design since 2016. He oversees the festival brochure design each year, as well as programmes and signage. He is a member of the festival committee, serving as festival committee Secretary. He is head of marketing at Norwich High School For Girls, who sponsor the festival brochure in partnership as Cover Page supporters.
Assistant Graphic Designer
Kate has recently come on board with the festival to assist Richard with the graphical design of posters, signage and programmes too. She assists in ensuring that the festival is well branded and promoted, and creates artworks for various spaces across Norwich. Having been involved in the festival in a previous graphic designer role, Kate met with Stash for a coffee this year to discuss how her new design business can assist with the growing visual media needs of the festival.
Kate is owner of Disco Flamingo, a creative design agency based in Norwich.
Front of House Manager & Volunteers Coordinator
Scott is one of our longest-serving volunteers. His indispensable dependability and calm nature provides us with the perfect person at the helm of our Front of House team. Scott works closely on the festival volunteer offer, updating our Volunteer Welcome Pack each year, working alongside our Volunteer coordinators. He buys stock, delivers it, stores it, and prepares front of house for each event throughout the festival.
He also provides a calming presence (and plenty of snacks!) at auditions and table reads and liaises with our stage management team. A fountain of hands-on experience, Scott is much-loved and appreciated by the entire Hostry Festival family. Scott’s partner LUCY MEACOCK also helps with costume and backstage support.
SHARON & RON UPTON
Volunteer Team Leaders
Sharon & Ron have been with the festival since 2011 and are wonderful examples of volunteers, engaging wherever the creative process of programming takes them each year.
They perform with us and also provide precious help at get ins and get outs, with backstage support and pastoral care. In 2020, our husband & wife super-duo took on the role of Heads of Volunteers. This role includes liaising with volunteers in the run up to and during the festival, as well as working with Scott Meacock on the Volunteer Welcome Pack.
They also help in the run up to, and during all gala events, including our Festival Launch Night. Two long-serving supporters of the festival, MARYCE & MARTIN SHEPHERD, will be joining them in Volunteer Coordination and Front of House roles for our 10th Anniversary in 2021.
Norfolk Arts Awards Coordinator
Caz joined the Hostry Festival team as Norfolk Arts Awards Coordinator in 2019. A freelance arts marketer and administrator by trade, Caz is an unflappable asset to the team. She keeps a cool head during the busiest of moments, overseeing the production team and volunteers who work closely with her from August to November.
She is responsible for producing all Arts Awards content, from programmes to press releases. Find out more about her freelance services here.
CHRIS & DIANE JACOB
Chris works closely with Stash on festival development and tone, as well as heading up the 10th Anniversary Steering Group. Chris & Diane are Festival Ambassadors, acting as a link between key individuals in the community and the festival, introducing them to the Hostry Festival and our Signature Projects. In turn, they offer support financially and in-kind through volunteering.
Chris’s company Matthew & Sons sponsors Total Ensemble Theatre Company and one other event each year.
This is what happened when I said I could help during the Hostry 2019 production of The Graduate…
“Can you just: hand out flyers, help with lines, oh – prompt? Find a 1960s style back pack , move the set…” and so it went on. I am not from a theatrical background and I didn’t have a clue, but my love of order provided an ideal platform for what was required behind the scenes. Be aware: if you offer your services to the Hostry Festival you never quite know where it will lead, however it will give you a great sense of camaraderie, achievement and it is great fun.
Suzanne is a talented costume designer who joined the Hostry Festival in 2019, heading up costume design on our Central Production, The Graduate, perfectly encapsulating that classic 1960’s iconic style. She returns four our 10th Anniversary 2021 Central Production, providing a wonderful opportunity for the county to see more of what she does so well.
Mark worked with us in 2016, composing, designing the soundscape & sound operating on our Central Production. He returns as sound engineer, designer & soundscape creator for 2021. His remit is to supply underscore and introduce sound for the scenes as rehearsals head towards production. Mark works closely with Mark Ivan Benfield & Chris Ellis.
As a Production Assistant, there is never a dull moment, you are mostly behind-the- scenes with always something to do for someone. Tasks vary from day to day but generally you are all things to everyone, from running errands for Directors and Producers, relaying messages between other members, to building props for the Stage Manager and finally, helping front of house, ensuring everything runs smoothly from start to finish. And I only said I would help out one afternoon……
Artist in Residence
Chris is an exceptional songwriter, composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist. He is also artistic director of his own arts festival and brings with him a wealth of experience delivering ambitious projects such as ours.
He performed with us in our first year, going on to compose the score for our ground-breaking world premiere of Hamlet The Undiscovered Country and Total Ensemble’s masterpiece of movement theatre, Prologue, in 2012. He also played the role of Horatio in the production. He continues to perform and compose with us, and in 2021 he will be performing in a specially-commissioned piano concert for our 10th Anniversary.
Chris will also be overseeing sound design throughout the festival, as well as composing the score for the 10th Anniversary documentary. We feel incredibly lucky to have such a talented, gentle soul on our team. Find out more about Chris’ work here.
Press & Marketing Support
With many years’ experience in media, Judy has worked as a news journalist at national level for The Press Association and regionally for newspaper groups Archant and Johnston Press, as well as in PR & marketing and running her own business for 20 years. She turned her life-long love of the arts in to work when she joined the Norwich Theatre Royal press office from 2014-2020 working with, amongst others, the RSC, the National Theatre, Glyndebourne, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and Northern Ballet, and also helped provide press coverage for Houghton Hall’s annual landmark exhibitions. Now working as a freelance public and media relations specialist, she is thrilled to be part of the fantastic team at the Hostry Festival.
As one of our key festival photographers, Simon has captured a stunning array of images of our Central Productions and Signature Project events over the years. Look out for examples of his work across the website and Archive!
Filmmaker Contributing to 10th Anniversary Documentary
Becky became involved in the festival in 2018 when she made our Festival Launch Promo Film for us, screened on launch night and shared across social media. She has also filmed interviews and content for our 10th Anniversary Documentary Film, celebrating the first decade of the festival.
Becky also works closely with Rebecca Chapman & Total Ensemble Theatre Company, filming their 2019 production, Embrace commissioned by the Bishop of Norwich. She also occasionally performs with the company. Becky is a freelance facilitator for creative organisations and art projects. Find out more about her many talents here.
10th Anniversary Documentary Filmmaker
Richard has filmed all our Central Productions from the very beginning in 2010, to present day. He also films the Norfolk Arts Awards each year and interviews performers and audiences on our Press Gala nights. He is making our 10th Anniversary Documentary Film with support from Becky Demmen. In his daily life, Richard is a Video Producer at Insight Media Productions, a visual media company based in Norwich.
Martin joined the festival in 2010 and has filmed and edited numerous promotional films for the festival and Norfolk Arts Awards over the years. In his professional life, Martin is a Video Producer at Norwich-based video production company, Brief Media.
Norfolk Arts Awards Videoographer
Matthew is a talented videographer who began working with the festival in 2016. He films interviews with Norfolk Arts Awards nominees each year and produces the footage for screening on awards night. He works closely with Laura De Oliveira, who coordinates and interviews nominees.
Find out more about Matt’s freelance work here.
Sheila has been a part of the Hostry Festival right from the beginning. She provides administration support and keeps all our paperwork in check! Sheila now lives in Norwich and is originally from Salmon Arm, Canada.