Since becoming an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) earlier this year we’ve been able to grow our Arts Engagement & Outreach team.
The team will be developing and delivering programmes and activities that benefit health and wellbeing, enrich learning and education in and outside school, inspire and celebrate talent. Creating work that will support local artists and tell “local stories”. In everything we do and programme we will seek to improve inclusion and remove barriers, whatever they may be, so that everyone is able to enjoy and benefit from the creative arts.
Our Arts Engagement & Outreach team will be looking to provide more opportunities for our communities to watch, take part and benefit from arts and cultural activities.
Let’s meet the team…
Katherine Hoskins - Arts Engagement & Outreach Manager
Katherine has been a part of The Octagon and Westlands team since 2017, and has worked within the creative arts sector from a range of perspectives including fundraising and philanthropy, project management, artist development, community engagement, commissioning and programming - of the auditorium, outdoor spaces and participation programme. Katherine led our bid to become an Arts Council NPO and now leads the team to deliver the Arts Engagement & Outreach programme with activities across Somerset – and is always on the lookout for new opportunities to benefit our communities and Somerset residents. Katherine’s ambition is to improve access to the creative arts for all, by providing more opportunities for local residents and communities to take part where they live, that excites, inspires, nurtures and is inclusive of all demographics.
“Having worked as part of the team at the Octagon & Westlands for over 6 years, the opportunity to now lead the organisation to grow its regional reputation, develop our valuable work with the community and raise the cultural profile of Somerset, excites me.”
Nick White - Arts Engagement & Outreach Officer
Nick’s relationship with The Octagon and Westlands goes all the way back to 1996 when he played Peter Quince in a much-feted Radiohead-inspired Yeovil College production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Octagon. Since those heady days, he’s worked as a producer, director, writer, performer, fundraiser, marketeer, business manager and participation specialist for the likes of Theatre Royal Bath, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Bristol Old Vic, Travelling Light, Diverse City, Somerset Youth Theatre and Wassail Theatre, as well as Resuscitation Theatre and Kids Theatre Works in the UAE. Nick loves Somerset, and he believes that everyone can be an artist. His ambition is to help people living across the county access culture in a way that’s important for them.
“From Porlock to Penselwood to Priddy – and all of the communities in between and round about – Somerset is the best place to live and work – so let’s celebrate that!”
Nick will be taking the lead on our Talent Development & Artist Support programmes supporting young people and creatives across Somerset.
Kate McGregor - Arts Engagement & Outreach Officer
Kate has worked as a director, writer, dramaturg, and producer for theatre productions across the UK and internationally for the last 16 years. She is Artistic Director of award-winning touring company, Theatre6, and has a huge passion for arts engagement and outreach. She was previously Arts Development Officer for New Wimbledon Theatre in London and has worked in a similar capacity for venues such as Shakespeare’s Globe, Matthew Bourne’s ‘New Adventures’ and Salisbury Playhouse where was a recipient of the Trainee Director Award. Kate grew up in Dorset and loves rural life and the sea! She firmly believes that theatre and the arts can transform lives and that creativity is essential to wellbeing. Kate is a regular staff director at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and promotes professional training opportunities for young people and adults of all backgrounds and experiences.
“Everyone should have the opportunity be creative, tell stories and connect with others - whether that’s in a traditional theatre space, outdoors or in schools and communities. I’m looking forward to spending my time at the Octagon breaking down barriers to engagement and offering world-class opportunities for young people and adults alike.”
Kate will be leading on our Participation programme with delivery across Somerset.
Carrie Madgwick - Arts Engagement & Outreach Officer
Carrie is an experienced Dance and Art Practitioner and Co-ordinator and has worked within creative arts for the past 17 years. She has vast experience of leading and delivering, as well as managing and co-ordinating, dance and arts projects and activities both in a freelance capacity and through being employed by Arts Organisations. She is a specialist trained Parkinson's Dance Teacher, Dance for Multiple Sclerosis Teacher, and Dance for Cancer Care Teacher, and also leads Arts & Craft Workshops as part of her Arts & Crafts small business where she makes handmade and bespoke gifts and home decor. Carrie believes, and has experienced first-hand, that dance and the arts can have a transformative effect on people's lives and wellbeing. She is passionate about creating inspirational and accessible opportunities for children, young people and adults to experience and participate in dance and the arts.
"Taking part in joyful, interactive, artistic and creative practice, whatever the art form, can contribute positively to many aspects of a person's overall health and wellbeing, and I can't wait to bring more of these exciting and enriching opportunities to communities across Somerset."
Carrie will be leading our Arts for Health & Wellbeing programmes across Somerset.
Andrea MacLauchlan - Arts Engagement & Outreach Officer
Andrea’s earliest memories of The Octagon are that of performing as a juvenile dancer in their early professional pantomimes and being in the chorus for many amateur productions. After gaining an HND in Arts and Event Administration in Bournemouth, she later went on to run The David Hall in South Petherton for 14 years. More recently, you may have seen Andrea running around after children as she helps run the Castaway Theatre Group, based at Westlands. Now that her own children are grown-up, she is looking forward to the challenge of supporting the Arts Engagement team during this exciting period.
“Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to see the direct impact that the arts can have on people - from any age or ability, it offers us so many opportunities. I feel lucky to be part of the new team and look forward to seeing some of the great work that happens across the county.”
Andrea will be leading on the Octagon Academy and our Community Productions at the Octagon & Westlands.
Katy Tilley - Arts Engagement & Outreach Officer
The Octagon Theatre holds a special connection to Katy’s late Nan, who always brought her to the Christmas pantomime and annual Gang Show as a child. She has worked professionally in the arts and events for 22 years starting her career touring with Stopwatch Theatre Company in a national schools’ tour. In 2001 she ran away to Giffords Circus and worked in and out of the ring as a performer and Company Manager. She was Assistant Cruise Director at P&O Cruises for 6 years and performed whilst leading creative teams across the globe. Katy has worked for Take Art over the past ten years as a Project Coordinator delivering projects for the community in dance, theatre, early years, local food and social prescribing. She has freelanced for other arts organisation in Somerset and has worked as a one-to-one teacher support, and dance and theatre facilitator in schools
“The power of the arts and creativity should be part of all children’s educational journey from Early Years and beyond. I can’t wait to give children and young people opportunities to work with world class artists and companies to create memorable opportunities that could impact their aspirations and life choices.”
Katy will be leading on the Octagon Theatre’s Creative Learning & Education programme.