Meet The Team

  • Marg Hardcastle - Festival Director

    Marg has been involved in delivering arts and music festivals in Stoke-on-Trent for the past six years as the creator of the London Road Festival, forerunner of Festival Stoke.  During that time she's enjoyed working with lots of creative people in Stoke-on-Trent from a range of disciplines, who together have made great things happen.  Marg believes passionately that arts can transform places and peoples’ lives for the better, and has seen the positive impact that presenting quality, free-to-access, arts events can have.   Marg loves the phrase ‘just get on and do stuff’ and has been involved in a number of community, charity and creative projects - as a consequence has written and supported lots of grant-fund applications!  Marg lives in the town of Stoke and enjoys the live music scene, and can sometimes be found playing her fiddle at acoustic sessions in the pubs - when not in the city she can be spotted doing something ‘outdoorsy’ up a hill or out at sea.
  • Anne Kinnaird - Arts Advocate

    As artist and partner at ‘Letting in the Light’ Anne has a wealth of experience in participatory, community, and visual arts. Anne has a gift of drawing out the best in people, be they participants or creative colleagues and naturally builds bridges between people and arts; hence the huge success of the 2014-16 collaboration with national artist Wolfgang Buttress through which hundreds of residents from Tunstall participated in arts workshops to contribute to the stunning Golden sculpture. Anne enjoys combining her love of art, of creative-making and of words, and finds collaborative working especially fulfilling and rewarding. Anne has years’ of experience creating beautiful, dynamic and high-impact artworks, many of which have been installed in public places. Her enthusiasm is reflected in her creativity and consequently her artworks are vibrant and dynamic. Anne’s zest for life extends beyond her creative work and she is an enthusiastic distance cyclist, coffee drinker and foodie.
  • Sarah Bonam - Programme Director

    If you know Sarah, then you know that she likes to get things done! Sarah brings a wealth of experience as arts producer and events organiser into the Festival Stoke team. She contributed to the success of previous Festivals through the co-ordinaton of Art Stop with a varied programme of participatory arts activities, from a range of practitioners. As a partner in Letting in the Light Sarah has worked across visual, digital and performing art forms, often in a collaborative context requiring good networking and brokering skills. This was demonstrated in the recent collaboration on the Wolfgang Buttress’s ‘Golden’ project involving local and national creative practitioners along with contributions from local residents. Her background in project management combined with a creative flair brings a keen eye and timely delivery to projects. Sarah has recently gained an MA in Community and Participatory Arts - and when not working or studying Sarah has a penchant for cakes, coffee, cats and caravanning - possibly all at the same time!
  • Adam Pryce - Festival Artist & Creative Advisor

    My name is Adam Pryce and I am the lead Festival Artist for Festival Stoke. My role involves creating and maintaining the creative tone of the festival and producing bold and eye-catching promotional material. As a freelance artist I've illustrated several children's books and cards, produced commissions for the public spaces of Royal Stoke University Hospital and run art workshops at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. I was lead artist at the London Road Festivals from 2013 - 2014 and created the large public artworks displayed along the road. I'm delighted that the present visual style and branding of the new Festival Stoke has developed from my work during those years. Being a part of the Festival Stoke team is a great way to give something back to a community that gave me so much support at the beginning of my artistic career.
  • Holly Morgan-Wynne - Festival Team Support Worker

    I am a graduate from Middlesex University with a degree in Fine Art. I have an interest in participatory arts and arts in health and wellbeing. Since graduating I have been supporting North Staffordshire based arts company, Letting in the Light, in a number of projects and workshops in the community and at local schools. During the London Road Festival in 2015, I supported local artists with workshops in the Art Stop in Stoke. I also managed the space for people to use for creative activities for some time after. I am really excited to be part of the Festival Stoke team and I am looking forward to engaging with the community and seeing the wonderful art that is created during the festival.
  • Iona Jones - Diversity Advisor

    Iona Jones is principal consultant with Imagine Associates, an equality and diversity consultancy. Iona provides consultancy, training and mentoring on a range of diversity matters. She has a PhD in Ethnic Relations. From 2001 – 2006 Iona was employed as diversity manager for BBC English Regions.   Imagine Associates’ clients have included The Royal Shakespeare Company, Screen Yorkshire, the Cultural Diversity Network and Skillset. She has recently worked with Staffordshire University’s Creative Communities Unit on a social value forecast for Stoke on Trent’s City of Culture 2021 bid and is a member of the City of Culture social and community working group.   Iona is currently a trustee at the New Vic Theatre, a director of All the Small Things CIC and a governor of Northern Baptist College. She is a member of Cobridge Community Group and Urban Expression Cobridge. She has a level 2 certificate in British Sign Language.
  • Alan Barrett - Festival ‘Big Weekend’ Co-ordinator

    Storyteller, writer, poet, actor, community activist and volunteer. Heavily involved in many local and city wide events, bringing participatory art and culture to as wide an audience as possible for many years. Also Treasurer of Yeaman Street Park Friends and Secretary of Stoke Events Group. I was invited to be involved with Festival Stoke from the start, and with its forerunner, the London Road Project, since Marg and Liz dreamt it up several years ago. I also get to perform, which is an additional bonus! Not sure if that's my bonus or yours. Additional information: life long Stoke City fan, dad and grandad, husband to the long suffering Lyn, nature lover, anti-fashion, very amateur photographer, wannabe landscape artist, and lover of everything about the town and the city.
  • The Cultural Sisters - Festival Artists

    The Cultural Sisters are a participatory arts organisation; working creatively with people in community, education and health settings. Established in 1995 and based at Art Stop Stoke in Stoke-on-Trent, we have a core group of experienced professional artists who design, deliver and manage creative workshops, consultations, Arts in Health projects, outdoor performance, events and commissions. Creative directors Deborah Rogers and Fiona Waddle are thrilled to be working with Festival Stoke again whilst Percy, Michael and Bill the company lurchers will be keen to lie down and sleep throughout the proceedings!
  • Gemma Thomas - Festival Advisor

    I’m the Creative Producer for Appetite and Producer for the New Vic Theatre. Appetite is a Creative People and Places programme funded by Arts Council England in Stoke-on-Trent. I was asked by the Festival Stoke team to be Artistic Adviser. My involvement with the Festival in its previous iterations started following the Open Air Gallery supporting the team with fundraising via Arts Council England, and developing the commissions. This was then developed further through our work at Appetite & Second Look Stoke where we connected Dan Thompson to two annual London Road Festivals through yearlong residency in the area with the culmination of the project and artwork “It’s all about the Road”. I’m thrilled to be able to bring my experience from Appetite, other professional work, love of Stoke-on-Trent and knowledge of the town of Stoke together to support this new model of working.
  • Tony Jones - Cultural Advisor

    Photographer, musician, letterpress printer and community artist based at ArtStop on Church St in Stoke. I have worked in the community/voluntary sector for 35 years and as an artist for the last 10 years. I have a wealth of unlikely experience, lots of obscure skills, a curious mind and a more-or-less hidden disability. I've more experience serving on committees and boards than is entirely healthy in one person, but I know a lot about how to make good things happen. I helped set up an arts centre in 1973 and have been involved in similar initiatives ever since. I know that public, accessible art is important and I'm committed to making sure there is plenty of it in and around the town of Stoke-upon-Trent.
  • Sue Redshaw - Festival Cafe Venue Co-ordinator

    I've been involved in the local community for many years in a voluntary capacity as a Rainbow Guider. I'm looking forward to working on Festival Stoke as previously I worked on the London Road Festival had team, specifically planning, decorating and coordinating the Festival Cafe. For the last two years I have been the editor of the Boothen Local Times which also involved organising community workshops ranging from photography and poetry to ceramics and graffiti.The results of the grafitt workshop can still been seen in Summer Street on the side of the Stoke Baptist Centre building. I love music and Art and crafts and currently I in a choir and am also part of a local Belly Dance group called Zarafet.
  • Val Simpson - Social Media Advisor & Mainstage Co-ordinator

    I am an avid music lover, Sci Fi geek and an amateur genealogist, I have researched my family tree back to 1731. I am a proud BBC Pointless quiz show winner alongside one of my twin daughters. What a team we made. Having been widowed in my 40s I had to rethink life and start afresh, which is how I got into entertainment, social media and promotion. I believe that you have to keep up with what life brings and go with it! Got to be in it to win it! Stoke is full of talent and I love to help show off what we have here. I try to approach everything and everyday with a smile. Have to have a cuppa first though...