Meet our Board of Trustees - the 10 super clever and talented individuals who steer HMS Shaper/Caper.
Janet Robertson - Chair
Janet is a Freelance Creative Director, Project Manager and Teaching Artist based in Fife and Cambridge.
Her recent work includes:
Creative Evaluator for Youth Arts Collective North East (YACNE)
Creative and business management of Fife Youth Arts (FYA)
Artistic and business development of The Arts Hub and the Arts Hub by the Sea - audience development, creative learning and retailing partnerships.
Artistic and business development of YMTS - the youth music theatre company for Scotland originally created with macrobert at the University of Stirling.
Creative Director of Made in England, an Arts Council England and BBC large scale performance event with Hoipolloi Theatre Company.
founding and strategically managing SNAP! 4 Kids Ltd a creative learning and childcare business based in Cambridge.
Other work includes projects with Scottish Opera, Ambassador Theatre Group, National Youth Music Theatre, the Really Useful Group and the BBC.
Janet is also a Trustee of Action for Children’s Arts and a Director of SNAP! 4 Kids Ltd.
Who would Janet like to dance with?
I'd like to dance with Isadora Duncan, all that fabulous freedom of movement and I love a good skip - you can't beat it for cheering yourself up plus I'm definitely a fan of scarves. However, I would not accept a lift home from her...too risky!!!
Hayley Durward - Vice Chair
Hayley trained as a dancer at Laban, before lecturing at the Arts Educational School London becoming the Artistic Director of their touring company.
She currently works at Citymoves Dance Agency Aberdeen as a Dance Development Officer for Professional Pathways. She teaches freelance for Scottish based dance companies, guest lectures at Aberdeen University on MA arts courses and is on the advisory board for the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance.
Hayley also has experience in line management, leadership training, programming and a mentor for FST's Step Up programme.
Who would Hayley like to dance with?
I'd like to dance with Bob and Betty Barty. They were ballroom greats at the Star Ballroom in Dundee for 50yrs, inspiring 100s of Dundonians to take up Ballroom, including my Grandpa, who in turn inspired me.
Dr Aleksandra Webb
Throughout her childhood and youth, Ola was a performer – dancing, singing, acting and travelling a lot. This experience triggered more conceptual and theoretical interests in arts and science. In 2006, after a successful completion of master level studies in her homeland (Poland), and after moving to Scotland, she embarked on an academic journey of researching the Scottish arts scene. Aleksandra obtained a doctoral degree from the University of Stirling. Her research focused broadly on issues related to arts governance & policy, and arts organisation & management. In particular, the following areas remain the focal points of her academic research work: resilience of artistic organisations; careers of artists and arts practitioners working in cultural and creative industries; organisation of creative work; equalities and diversity in the arts sector; impact of strategic reforms in the sector (such as the funding reforms and impact assessments); arts leadership and creative entrepreneurship; education, training, skills development and succession planning; placemaking through use of creativity; the role of arts in social change.
For the last 6 years Aleksandra has lectured and taught on a variety of modules for undergraduate and postgraduate management and business students. She has a sound pedagogical and facilitative experience. She has also worked as a researcher in both academic and (social) applied contexts, and presented her work to a variety of audiences.
Aleksandra says 'I am passionate about human potential and its continuous development. I believe that creativity is a foundation for all positive transformations and therefore I advocate for all creative organisations/institutions and leaders to be brave leaders of social, cultural and environmental change!'
Who would Aleksandra like to dance with?
Aleksandra says 'Since watching the iconic Pulp Fiction, I’ve always wanted to have one shot of dancing with Travolta. This man can move! And he has such a charisma! Importantly, I love when performers/artists/public figures use their public presence to make a world a little bit better. Jett Travolta’s Foundation raises money for children with special medical, environmental, health or educational needs. That is yet another reason for wanting to shake, sway and shimmy with John!
Jenny is a producer with 2 decades' experience developing creative practice in the Northwest of England. Her career has included local government regeneration & creative industry roles as well as managing and producing a wide variety of arts programmes, including major festivals and events.
Since 2014 Jenny’s work has primarily focused on place based socially engaged arts, most recently working with two Arts Council England Creative People and Places programmes, LeftCoast in Blackpool and Super Slow Way in Pennine Lancashire. For LeftCoast she was involved in the development of Art B&B, the seaside resorts newest hotel & social enterprise, entirely designed & made by artists, and delivered LeftCoast’s programme of professional practice, designed to develop the skills creatives need to build sustainable careers working in the regions.
For Super Slow Way, Jenny is developing the British Textile Biennial which invites artists, designers and makers to explore the politics of cloth in performances, artworks and events across Pennine Lancashire against the backdrop of the impressive infrastructure that supported the cotton industry.
Jenny is passionate about using art as a tool to build aspiration and agency, drive social change and help shape a positive future for the marginalised people & places she works with.
Who would Jenny like to dance with?
Dr Tracey Connelly
Aka Vivika Widow - Award winning author of ‘Red Snow’ and the highly anticipated ‘Conflict of The Throne’ series.
Being a sufferer of Turner’s Syndrome meant that when she was born her parents were told she would have severe learning difficulties and wouldn’t be able to attend mainstream school. But Vivika overcame the odds and went on to be a star pupil throughout school. At secondary school she encountered another hurdle when she was involved in an almost fatal car accident. Doctors said it was a miracle she survived, but from there she returned to school, excelled in her exams and then moved on to medical studies at University. Throughout her life Vivika has always written, from children’s stories to poems to novels. After university Vivika decided to focus on her writing career full-time and has gone on to become a successful published author.
Three years ago she decided to utilise her personal experience and medical knowledge, and formed the charity Ragdolls UK. Ragdolls aims to support children and young adults suffering from Cystic Fibrosis, Down’s Syndrome, Turner's Syndrome and other genetic disorders. They help to fund pioneering research at Queen's Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh in the field of Paediatric Endocrinology and genetics as well as providing up-to-date information and support for sufferers and their families.
Vivika has pledged that proceeds from all of her novels and works will be donated to Ragdolls UK to help this vital cause which is very close to her heart.
While Drew has had a passion for the arts since his childhood, he decided to “leave it to the professionals” in order to follow his love of law instead. After completing his LLB at Glasgow, he received a Masters in International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, leading to an internship with UNHCR in Nairobi. Drew returned to Edinburgh to qualify as solicitor and is currently completing his legal traineeship at a litigation firm in Glasgow.
Drew is the founder of The Glass Network, Scotland’s first network for LGBT legal professionals, and is an advocate for corporate social responsibility in the legal profession.
Drew has followed the works of Smallpetitklein since 2012, assisting backstage and getting to know the Board and creative teams. In his eyes, the worlds of law, war and art complement one another: “in a world of conflict, what else shows the world that we have lived besides from the freedom of art and the order of law?”
Who would Drew like to dance with?
Jennifer Lopez, so I can learn her moves and shout “Classic j-Lo!” in her beautiful damn face.
Allan began his training as a Dancer at The Space, Dundee, before transferring to complete his studies at Laban, London. Upon graduating, Allan began working with Shaper/Caper Artistic Director, Thomas Small, initially as a Dancer and Tutor before becoming Learning and Development Manager of Smallpetitklein Dance Company. Allan has worked across Scotland and the UK with the likes of Urdang Academy, Bodywork Dance Studios, Dundee and Angus College, Visible Fictions, Scottish Ballet and YDance both as Dance Worker and Dance Development Officer, before returning once again to Smallpetitklein Dance Company as Creative Producer.
In 2014, Allan joined Fife Cultural Trust as Dance Development Coordinator developing partnerships across Public and Private sectors, opportunities for participation and leading the development of a Dance Strategy for Fife.
Most recently, Allan took up the role of Youth Arts Development Coordinator with Aberdeen Performing Arts, managing, coordinating and monitoring activity and relationships which form Youth Arts Collective North East (YACNE). Supported by Scottish Government through Creative Scotland’s Time To Shine fund, YACNE seeks to empower young people to flourish and achieve in and through the arts and creativity.
Who would Allan like to dance with?
The cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – my latest TV addiction! OR Joanna Lumley – we’re sure to have a hoot and the gossip would be priceless! OR RuPaul and Michelle Visage – now that would be a party!!!
Caroline is a counsellor who loves to dance and move. Caroline thinks that dance and movement can create personal and social change and believes that we need more opportunities to move differently, be playful and re-connect with our spontaneity.
Caroline has been practising for over 15 years in the UK, Europe and America and offers counselling in and out of the chair. This has enabled her to develop extensive experience supporting individuals and groups from different cultures, all with unique life stories.
Caroline says: 'I know the importance of having a safe space to be yourself and was drawn to counselling because I wanted to be someone who could help people experience their own sense of safety in the world. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I also believe that our bodies hold the key to our healing and that movement is not only a beautiful form of expressing our stories, it is a language that we can all learn and understand'.
Caroline's journey is ongoing and she has begun a Master of Arts in Dance and Somatic Well-Being; and she aims to introduce Somatic Movement Practice to Dundee.
Who would Caroline like to dance with?
Besides dancing with my dearest friends, I would love to dance with Kate Bush. To me, she is embodied in everything she does and she is the only musician who can give me goosebumps! To float around on the dance floor with her, purely in the moment, feeling our energy and vibrating connection would be heavenly.
Thomas is Artistic Director of Shaper/Caper. He graduated from London Contemporary Dance School with a BA (Hons) degree. He has won many awards and commissions for his work including the prestigious Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award and the Robin Howard Foundation Commission.
In 2015, he was appointed as the first ever BBC Radio 2 Artist in Residence in association with The Space. He has also been short-listed for the Peter Darrell award in 2003 and The Place Prize in both 2006 & 2008. Thomas was Choreographer in Residence at The Space, Dundee throughout 2008 and Artist in Residence at The Byre Theatre, St Andrews. In 2013, he was awarded the Creative Scotland fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme. During his fellowship he undertook a secondment at The Roundhouse, London and V&A Dundee and was mentored by Farooq Chaudhry, Producer at Akram Khan Company and English National Ballet.
He took part in the Royal Opera House’s DanceLines 2009 project where he was mentored by The Royal Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and he presented the work he created during DanceLines at The Royal Opera House FIRSTS Programme in November 2010. He was invited to present his work ‘Falling Man’ at the Cunningham Studios in New York City in 2011 and Berlin in 2012. His work received five star reviews in the 2011 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was featured on the BBC Culture Show. He was a Creative Partner with National Theatre of Scotland for their 2012 Exchange Festival. His work, ‘Within This Dust’ was selected for the 2012 Made In Scotland Showcase and went on to enjoy a sell out run at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The work tours to New York City, Brazil and Bangladesh in 2013. In 2014, he was commissioned to choreograph La Banda’s Struileag: Children of the Smoke for Festival 2014, directed by Dan Ayling and featuring music by Artistic Director, Jim Sutherland.
Thomas is a Trustee at Woodend Barn and is Chair of the Advisory Board for Performing Arts at Scottish School of Contemporary Dance at Dundee & Angus College. He was a Trustee of the Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST) from 2013 to 2016. He was the founder and Artistic Director of the acclaimed Smallpetitklein from 2000 to 2015.
He is a faculty member at Scottish School of Contemporary Dance and previously at the Urdang Academy, London. Thomas has also taught extensively for Royal Academy of Dance, The Place, and Greenwich Dance Agency. Thomas was joint Artistic Director of Combination Dance Company from 2001 to 2007.
To follow Tommy's work as Artist in Residence at BBC Radio 2, check out the BBC website here.
As part of his residency, Tommy created Lost But Found, inspired by stories he heard on Radio 2 about Children in Need. To watch the film click here.
Who would Thomas like to dance with?
Trained initially as an actor in Madrid, moved to London to experience Contemporary Dance and Physical Theatre. Performed with Adam Benjamin (co-founder of Candoco Dance Company) and Green Candle Dance before moving to Scotland, where the career focus became Education and Community Dance.
Yolanda had a pivotal role introducing, planning, and coordinating a unique collaboration with La Fura dels Baus and macrobert's Mpower youth company. Present interest is to flow between the creative spaces in and amongst Dance, Theatre, and other artistic disciplines, as well as living at the farm!
Yolanda was Creative Learning Manager at Smallpetitklein from 2010 to 2015. She’s currently undertaking a MA in Arts, Festivals, and Cultural Management at Queen Margaret University. Yolanda established Shaper/Caper with Thomas as Assistant Director before becoming Director of Operations in 2016.