Jan Ryan - Director
Jan Ryan has been working in the arts for over thirty years, having been initially inspired to go into the business by seeing 7/84's production of John Arden's play, The Ballygombeen Bequest at the Edinburgh Festival in the seventies!
Prior to this, she spent a year as a trainee fashion buyer in Harrods, organised second mortgages for the Commercial Bank of Wales and taught English and Drama in further education.
Her first arts job was with The Tramshed in Woolwich, as publicity officer. From there she moved to Interaction where she ran Dogg's Troupe. At the same time, she did a postgraduate diploma in Arts Administration at City University -one of the very few arts administration courses in existence at that time.
She subsequently worked with the Half Moon Theatre, the Half Moon Young People's Theatre and Sphinx, Worcester Arts Workshop, the English String Orchestra and Arts Council England before being invited to set up the touring department at Birmingham Rep. During this time she instigated an exchange with Birmingham Rep in Alabama and took the company's work to venues of all scales throughout the UK as well as to France and Germany.
In 1992, she set up UK Arts International.
In addition to her work with UKAI, Jan has also been international consultant for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Danish Performing Arts Market. She has run workshops through the British Council and Visiting Arts for artists and producers in Zimbabwe and South Africa, has contributed to a publication on BME theatre, Staging New Britain, and given papers at arts conferences around the world.
She was also involved in organizing three of Arts Council England's decibel events and was on the advisory board of the African Odyssey Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
Michaela Waldram-Jones - Afrovibes Associate Producer
Michaela is a freelance theatre producer and UK Project Manager of the Afrovibes Festival.
Michaela considers herself very lucky to have always worked in theatre and is very grateful to the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds for giving her that coveted first job in the marketing department before becoming Head of Marketing at the Royal Theatre Northampton. She was involved in the early days of the Arts Marketing Association as Board Member and also served on the TMA marketing committee.
Deciding to widen her remit Michaela embarked on an MA in Arts Management at Cambridge Anglia and began working at the Arts Council initially as a Development Officer responsible for working with independent artists. As Theatre Officer in the East Midlands she was link officer regionally for Eclipse which aimed to address the absence of Black Theatre on the regional middle-scale touring network.
On leaving the Arts Council in 2006 she formed Big Creative Ideas with Steven Luckie and produced two national tours with Steven as director: the first Booty Call (2006) by Segun Lee French followed by At The Gates Of Gaza, by Juliet Gilkes-Romero (Winner of the award for Best Theatre Play 2009 - Writers Guild of Great Britain)
As a Freelance Producer Michaela continues to work with a wide range of diverse artists, and she particularly relishes work that shares cultures and explores different stories.