Hi Chris, what can you tell us about your role?
I’ve joined FutureEverything as a Producer, where I’ll be working with the team to develop and deliver our artistic work, creative output and engagement. I’m looking forward to leading on the development of commissioned work and collaborating on projects and ideas.
Do you have a favourite FutureEverything project?
As I am new to the FutureEverything team, I don’t yet have a favourite project that I have worked on. However, when I was working for MIF in 2019, I attended Atmospheric Memory at the Science and Industry Museum which proved to be a decisive factor in my interest in working with FutureEverything. As a genuinely immersive event, I found the installations to be moving, meditative, and transcendent. I was particularly compelled by Cloud Display that used ultrasonic atomizers to convert spoken word into pure water vapour that would appear, exist briefly, and disintegrate into the cathedral-like atmosphere in the room. It was magical and cathartic and prompted me to find out more about FutureEverything’s work – and, now, here I am!
What did you do before joining FutureEverything?
I have worked in the arts for over twenty-five years working across a broad range of organisations, specialising in developing and producing new theatre commissions, site-specific, installations, festivals, and events. Going all the way back (!), I founded The Honeymoon Killers Theatre Company in 1993 and directed and produced all their work which toured nationally and in Europe. In 1997 I worked as a community drama director in Botswana and, upon returning to the UK in 1998, taught for three years before becoming a freelance theatre director in 2001. I directed at venues across the North West and was an Associate Director for Oldham Coliseum, The Lowry, and National Youth Theatre. I specialised in new theatre writing and in 2003 founded LeKoa, producing and directing new plays.
In 2007, I took over Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough as Artistic Director and directed several productions for theatre companies across Lincolnshire. In 2009, I joined the Royal Exchange Theatre as Producer and worked there for 9 years producing over 40 projects including the award-winning NOTHING, WE WERE TOLD THERE WAS DANCING (nominated for Best Production in Manchester in 2017, M.E.N.) and the Exchange’s Young Company (The Stage’s School of the Year 2017). I left the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2018 and have recently worked with Absolutely Cultured and MIF.
What do you get up to when you are not at FutureEverything?
When I’m not working, I try to keep myself as busy as possible. I have quite a large family, with four children (aged from 17 to 27) and a grand-daughter who pretty much keeps me sane and brings the best out of me. I have always been active with fitness and sport, and football has played a significant role in my life. Over the last 25 years, I have played football for several teams (including a stint when I lived in Africa), managed a football team from Under 5’s to Under 18’s, and last year took the decision to train as an FA referee. I enjoy new challenges and this has proved to be a fantastic learning curve for me as I officiate at local adult leagues during the weekend.
Last, but not least – what are you watching at the moment?
My background is in theatre which I try to see as much of as possible. I do think that it is important to maintain a broad canvas of work that you are exposed to so I also have a diverse diet of what I watch and read. With the current Covid-19 situation preventing me from going to the cinema (one of the essentials in my cultural diet) I have been catching up on lots of stuff on TV. I’m currently watching Putin: A Russian Spy Story on C4 which gives a fascinating insight into the Russian premier’s understated rise to the top and gives further evidence that populism is a powerful tool when a nation, low on self-esteem, seeks an iconic figure to lead it. Very pertinent at the moment! I’m also watching Mark Kermode’s latest Secrets of Cinema series which reveals that no matter how inventive mainstream cinema aspires to be, there are a set number of conventions and stories that they adhere to. Whilst originally a cinematic release, I rewatched Asif Kapadi’s documentary Diego Maradona that focuses on his eventful time as a player in Naples. If you like football, you should watch this film; if you have no interest in football, you should watch this film.
You can find out more about Chris on his bio page, or follow him on Twitter @LeKoa.