Alison joined the company as a volunteer in 1997 and has never left! In 2019 she was thrilled to become Artistic Director having watched the organisation grow from just two classes per week to currently delivering 22 different programmes catering for all ages and abilities. She has been involved in all facets of the company’s activities working as a facilitator, choreographer, outreach workshop leader and heads the unique Oxleas NHS partnership. This programme was presented at the first National Arts in Health Conference & Showcase for health decision-makers at the Royal Festival Hall in London (2016) hosted by AESOP (Arts Enterprise with a Social Purpose), in association with the NHS Alliance and College of Medicine.
She currently leads both MAC sessions (Magpie Adult Choreographer) as a mentor to dancers wishing to create their own work for public performance. She has been an assessor for Magpie Dance’s IDPT (Inclusive Dance Practice Training) since its inception and has led CPD workshops at Trinity Laban, Greenwich Dance, Canterbury Christchurch University, Kent University, BalletBoyz and is currently working with Royal Opera House to improve accessibility for dancers with learning disabilities. Whilst with Magpie Dance, she has collaborated with numerous arts organisations including New Adventures, Complicité and StopGap and has seen Magpie dancers perform at Unlimited Festival and Ballroom Blitz (South Bank Centre), Liberty Festival (Trafalgar Square), Xposure Festival and =dance (Sadler’s Wells) Street Festivals (Brighton, Bromley and Wandsworth) Big Dance and Dance Umbrella festivals (across South East).
In addition to her work at Magpie Dance, Alison was a dancer for various projects and performances, most notably in the corps de ballet with the Bolshoi Ballet Company (‘Sleeping Beauty’, London Coliseum). She ran her own dance school (with around two hundred students) for ten years, producing shows with often two and sometimes three generations of the same family dancing alongside one another! She has taught a range of dance styles, drama and gymnastics in settings ranging from nursery and primary schools through to adult education and delivered multicultural dance and drum workshops for key stages 1 and 2 across London and the South East.
Alison has been shortlisted as a finalist for the upcoming awards: Visionary Director (Young Entertainers Academy Awards) and Inspirational Community Dance Practitioner (One Dance UK)
Laura trained in dance, from which, after working as a professional dancer, she moved into Arts marketing and PR which she found extremely rewarding. Previously, Laura worked as the Press Officer (dealing with talent management) at the New Wimbledon Theatre & Studio and at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, which is run by leading theatre producer, Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG). Laura has also worked as Trinity Laban’s Arts Marketing and Press Manager which encompassed marketing and press for Transitions Dance Company, marketing Laban Theatre and press for Trinity Laban generally and its award-winning building.
Deciding upon a new challenge and direction to enhance her career; Laura joined Magpie Dance team as General Manager. After 11 years of success in this role, she was delighted to step into a co-leadership role in 2019 as Executive Director; she finds Magpie Dance not only rewarding to work for, but is excited by the way it is evolving and is proud to be part of it.
Laura was delighted to be nominated and shortlisted to the final 3, in One Dance UK’s national prestigious awards (Nov 2018) for the ‘Dance Advocacy Award’ and in The National Diversity Awards (2020) for the Positive Role Model (Disability) Award'. She was most recently the winner of the YEAA (Young Entertainers Academy Awards) ‘Visionary Director’ Award November 2022.
Sally Atkinson joined Magpie Dance as Finance Manager in January 2011. She is ACCA qualified with a wealth of Financial experience having previously worked for 10 years at BDO Stoy Hayward and prior to that at a number of other smaller accountancy firms. Sally works part time and shares her time between the office and homeworking. In 2015, Sally was awarded a Financial Leadership Award by Sayer Vincent under the category, ‘Best Small Charity’.
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Karis joined Magpie Dance as Operations Coordinator in 2023. She trained at the London College of Music, graduating with a first-class degree in Musical Theatre in 2020. Shortly after, Karis worked as an SEN Learning Support Assistant in mainstream schools all over London. Most recently, she was the Assistant Venue Manager at Theatre Royal Stratford East and the co-chair of their Access committee (working in conjunction with Ramps On The Moon Theatre Group).
Having grown up studying various different styles of dance, she was a founding member of Hull Youth Dance Company, a contemporary dance company based in Hull, East Yorkshire. The group performed at UDance and Fresh Dance Competition at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Hull Truck Theatre. The group also created pieces that were performed at Wembley Stadium in partnership with the Rugby Challenge Cup. She was part of the 2015 Dance Whispers Project, funded by Arts Council England and in partnership with Wayne Sables Project, Yorkshire Dance and the National Youth Dance Company.
Sarah has been working in Arts Management for the last 20 years. She is currently working freelance managing a portfolio of clients the across the South West and London, specialising in fundraising, project and events management. Prior to developing her freelance work Sarah was the Regional Strategic Director for Dance South West.
Annie is a freelance dance artist with a passion for inclusivity. She has been dancing since childhood and practises contemporary and ballet with Trinity Laban and Pineapple Dance. She has completed courses in intuitive dance and believes the joy of movement should be accessible to all. Annie has worked as a caregiver and understands the importance of equal opportunities for those with disabilities. Since joining Magpie’s in 2021 she has learnt that when given the right environment, we are all capable of anything. Annie works full time as Magpie’s Youth Co-ordinator intern and continues to volunteer in our Saturday Youth sessions; she has completed our facilitator training (IDPT) and covers classes on an ad-hoc basis.
David is a freelance arts professional based in Leeds.
Following his graduation with a BA and Masters in English from the University of Cambridge, he returned to his native Yorkshire initially to join Opera North’s fundraising team. He has since held senior fundraising positions with the Royal Northern College of Music, Northern Ballet and the Leeds International Piano Competition.
David is the co-founder and current Artistic Director of Northern Opera Group, a Trustee of the Opera and Music Theatre Forum, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.
He is delighted to be working for Magpie Dance, having previously been closely involved with Northern Ballet’s learning disabled dance projects and knowing how important dance and the arts are to his four cousins, all of whom have Down’s Syndrome.
Laura-Ann has a lifelong passion for dance, she has a diploma in classical ballet and graduated from the University of Roehampton with a First Class honors degree in Dance Studies.
During her time at Roehampton, Laura-Ann was Artistic Director of This is Dance festival and Vice President of the Dance Society alongside her studies. Prior to this she worked as Operations Assistant with Star Events, the UK's leading staging and infrastructure company.
Laura-Ann first joined Magpie Dance in 2017 as Operations Coordinator, where she oversaw the day to day running of Magpie Dance programmes.
Laura-Ann left Magpie Dance in 2020 to travel New Zealand but never lost touch! She enjoyed being remotely involved with video editing for Magpie projects and is delighted to be working with Magpie Dance again as Project Coordinator during the Global Moves and Grooves artistic theme.
Laura-Ann also teaches dance and is currently studying to be a qualified dance teacher with British Theatre Dance Association. Laura-Ann loves working with both the staff and the dancers at Magpie Dance and is delighted to be part of the team.
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