People

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Alison O’Connor

Co-Director

Soon after graduating in Drama and English from Bristol University and beginning to navigate the world of theatre making, Alison realised that her passion lay in theatre's transformative potential. She worked for several years with Geese Theatre Company, international leaders of arts in the criminal justice system, and here gained an insight into the therapeutic potential of theatre and its power as a tool for change. She became fascinated by what the telling and enactment of a story can do for performers, participants, institutions, staff members and audiences and went on to create theatre work in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, schools, care settings and with survivors of domestic abuse across the UK and in Romania, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria.

Alison received  a Creative Wales Award from The Arts Council of Wales (2013) to explore “Transformation in Arts and Health: Stories that Change” which enabled her to connect with international experts including  Teya Sepunick, Theatre of Witness and Michael Balfour, Griffith University, Australia.  Alison’s writing on life story theatre with veterans and families has been published in the international journal, Arts in Health (2015).

Alison is also a Cognitive Behavioural Counsellor (University of Wales) with particular expertise in counselling older adults.

Karin Diamond

Co-Director

Karin’s love of the arts has seen her work in theatre, film and television for over 20 years, gaining a wealth of experience in performing, writing, producing and directing original work.

Karin trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and returned years later to lay the foundations of their outreach drama department, using drama to support self-expression, confidence and interpersonal skills.

She has designed and facilitated numerous communication skills programmes for Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, Social Services and General Practice in Wales, always using theatre as a base for training and development.

She is a Winston Churchill Fellow 2010, researching ‘Creativity in dementia care’ with Dr Yukimi Uchide in Ofunato, Japan. This research continues to influence and inspire Re-Live’s creative and training work in the field of dementia today.

In 2016, Karin wrote Belonging/Perthyn, a bilingual play that explores the world of dementia, inspired by the stories from Re-Live's Memoria project (please see Memoria page). Belonging/Perthyn toured to theatres across Wales and connected health and social care professionals and theatre audiences with the experiences of people living with dementia. The play received an outstanding response from audiences and theatre critics, winning two Theatre in Wales Awards (2017).

BOARD OF Trustees

Val Hill

Val Hill has had a varied career in arts and entertainment.  Starting life as a library assistant she moved into the world of rock 'n roll providing back-stage catering to bands on tour, and working with her husband building stages and providing lighting while raising their two daughters in an isolated spot on Llanllwni Mountain.  In 1990 she settled into theatre with a move to Hijinx Theatre. She stayed with Hijinx for the next 23 years, eventually holding the grand title of Executive Director, until finally retiring in May 2013. Val is very excited to be joining the Board of Re-Live and hopes she can help them  grow and flourish.  Since retirement she has joined the Board of Taking Flight Theatre, is heavily involved with the Save the Coal Exchange Campaign and is a regular volunteer for Cardiff Food Bank.

Mark Jones

Mark is a Dementia Care Advisor with the newly launched Younger Onset Dementia Service at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. In 1997 he qualified as a Social Worker achieving a distinction level Masters degree from the University of York.  He also has a BA Hons Degree in Sociology/Politics from York.  Post qualification he worked for several years within the Neurosciences Service at the Leeds General Infirmary, then within mental health services in Wakefield, where he undertook duties as an Approved Mental Health Professional and gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychosocial Interventions. In 2006 he joined Mental Health Services for Older People in Cardiff. 

 Mark believes Re-live stands in the vanguard of developing creative responses to the needs of marginalised people and is delighted to have joined the Re-live board to progress the goals of this unique organisation.

Sarah Belson

Sarah has twenty years’ experience of working in international development, both in the UK and overseas, for Save the Children, CAFOD and Toybox.  She has managed partnerships with local organisations in a number of sectors including: children with additional needs; HIV and AIDS and conflict and peace building. She brings experience of institutional strengthening and capacity building to the Re-Live Board, focusing on financial management, accountability, programme management and monitoring and evaluation

Nick Andrews

Nick is currently working as a Research and Practice Development Officer within ‘Health and Care Research Wales’ which is part of the School for Social Care Research in Swansea. This project has been established to promote and develop research informed practice in social work and social care and increase the capacity for social care research in Wales.

Nick is a graduate of Durham University and completed his PGCE in Liverpool University. He has since worked in a range of education and community based services within Local Authorities and the Third Sector organisations, with a focus on both children and older people. In 2002 he completed his MSc (Econ) in Applied Social Studies at Swansea University, when he also qualified as a Social Worker. His particular areas of interest include participative approaches to research and learning and outcome focused, relationship centred practice in social work and social care service provision. He has a passion for challenging excessive bureaucracy and the call to put humanity first!

Ruba Sivagnanam

Over many years, Ruba developed skills and passions in such diverse environments as the Old Bailey where she defended the accused as a criminal barrister; in thehalls of Westminster where she lobbied on behalf of the excluded, and now in the constituency Office of Stephen Doughty MP where she works for the people of the Cardiff. She believes strongly in justice and equality and these have been the bedrock on which she has built and developed her work.

Because of these beliefs she relishes the opportunity to be a board member of Re-Livewhich she sees as a pioneer in empowering the disempowered to tell their own stories in their own way. 

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Garry Bartlett

Associate Designer

Garry is a designer illustrator who works on a variety of projects from Illustration and graphic design for print or animation and VFX for film and TV, to set and costume design for theatre. Along with his own design practice Garry also works at the University of Wales Trinity St David as a senior research associate in the faculty of Art and Design.  
 

Mike Blackwood Barnes

Associate Film maker

Mike  is an independent film and video maker. After fifteen years in the industry he has an eclectic output, having produced dramatic features, dramatic shorts, commercials, documentaries and music videos for broadcast.

Mike has produced work for a wide range of clients including Universal TV, MTV, BBC, Channel4, ITV, SKY, NMETV, Sony Europe, Venice Biennale, The Welsh National Opera, International Baccalaureate, Hugh James Solicitors, Swansea Metropolitan University, NCH Children’s Charity and  Royal Institute of Architects.

Julie Towson

Associate Production Manager

Julie graduated from The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2002 with a Degree in Stage Management. Since then Julie has worked at The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, The Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, RWCMD, The Crucible and Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, The Liverpool Playhouse, The Torch Theatre Milford Haven and The Tobacco Factory, Bristol. Julie spent 6 years living and working in New Zealand, working in Theatre and Events including working at The EDGE, in Auckland. 

James Clark

Associate Musician

James Clark plays music from all over the world, from Cuba through Brazil with his band ‘Mañana Collective' with Flautist Jose Zalba-Smith to South Africa and the bottom of his heart with his Bombastic Big Band ‘James Clark’s Lonely Hearts Rugby Clwb'. He is frequently found playing at England and Wales' live music venues from Dempseys in Cardiff to Brecon Jazz festival. He composes and arranges like some kind of forward-thinking-magpie with nest-fulls of bold, inspired musical creations.

Chelsey Gillard

Associate Artist

Since her recent graduation from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Chelsey has been working as a director and arts writer in Cardiff and London. She specialises in devised and collaborative theatre with an emphasis on movement and dance theatre. As a writer she regularly reviews and publicises work for the Young Critics Scheme, Buzz magazine and What’s On Stage.  
 

Advisory Panel

Dorothy James, Arts Advisor

Dorothy James is a Cardiff-based Consultant with over thirty five years experience of working in the Arts. Her professional career has ranged from youth theatre leadership through administration for small/middle scale touring theatre companies to senior management in a conservatoire.  She now works freelance as a Consultant, Project Manager and Trainer, specialising in strategic planning, governance and recruitment.  Previous clients include Arts Council England, National Skills Academy, National Theatre Wales, Sherman Cymru, Pentabus, National Association of Youth Theatres, Making Music Changing Lives and Taking Flight. She is a licensed Mind-Mapping instructor and trained mediator.

Dr Julie Alexander, Consultant Psychiatrist