Frances Clarke Trustee/Director and Chair
Frances Clarke is the Chair of Rosie Kay Dance Company and Dean of the Faculty of Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Previously she was Senior Lecturer and the Course Leader for three undergraduate Dance courses at the University of Wolverhampton,. Her previous experience as a professional dancer, and Artistic Director of Springs Dance Company, one of the UK’s longest-running contemporary dance companies, influences her research work and interests. Her performance career spanned over three decades and in addition, she choreographed multi-media works for film and international arts events for Springs Dance Company, founded their Summer School, commissioned new works, established new company policies, and gained experience in change management.
Currently serving as a Board Member of DanceHE, the organisation which represents dance in higher education, Frances has been an external education advisor for a number of UK universities, the BBC, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rosie Kay Dance Company, and the Centre for Advanced Training. She founded and led a number of dance departments in the UK (secondary and FE) before her first appointment in HE. Frances is the External Advisor for the Eating Disorders and Dance Project, Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, and the External Advisor for the Visiting Scholarship in Dance, Robinson College, University of Cambridge.
Her research and practice in the field of dance science, which aims to enhance dancers’ performance and health and well-being, informs her studio practice, teaching and research, and external advisory work. Her current PhD research is examining balance and performance within dance populations. Other research interests include performance enhancement, the use of performance profiling, imagery and self- talk in dance training and performance, and mentoring for professional teachers and artists. Frances regularly publishes academic papers, and presents her research at international conferences; awards have included the IADMS President’s Prize for Poster Research and the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship. She is Chair of the Publications Committee for the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science.
Sima Gonsai Trustee/Director
Sima Gonsai is an independent filmmaker with a passion for visual storytelling. Since 2006, Sima has directed and produced drama, documentary and digital installation working with regional and international communities.
Originally starting out as an amateur dancer, Sima practiced in ‘Bharata Natyam’, Indian classical dance and went on to study a Masters in Visual Communication specializing in dance for the camera. She became established in 2006 with the launch of “Cycle Dialogues” where she solely circumnavigated 8000km across Europe and South East Asia on her bicycle and documented multi-cultural stories through a series of short films and published writings. This work led onto an artist residency at New Art Gallery Walsall where she developed her practise in artistic storytelling and later gained her directorial debut with short film “The Offering” funded by Creative England and BFI Network. Sima is on the board of directors for The Producers Forum Birmingham with a focus in events co-ordination.
She is now an established Screen Dance director and has received international acclaim for her trilogy of work profiling dance and disability with Freefall Dance Company in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet. This work has premiered at screen dance festivals globally in particular across America and Europe. Sima is now launching a new company specialising in creating, curating and collaborating in screen dance bringing together film, dance and music and is currently working on a new production exploring the physics of Indian Folk Dance and culture
Stella Hall Trustee/Director
Stella Hall, FRSA, is a freelance festival producer with a passion for connecting people and place through culture. She co-founded the Green Room, Manchester’s first arts centre and has worked in a number of high profile roles since, including Director, Warwick Arts Centre and Head of Culture, Queen’s University/ Festival Director, Belfast Festival at Queen’s. She was Deputy Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, running the Culture10 programme of events across the region until it ended in 2010. She then became Festival Director of the year-long Preston Guild 2012 celebrations for which she received an Honorary Fellowship from University of Central Lancashire.
Now freelance, she is founding Festival Director of the Festival of Thrift which began in Darlington and is now in Redcar. It has twice won Best Event Teesside, Tourism England’s Best Event NE in 2016 and the Observer Ethical Award for Arts and Culture.
In 2014/15 she was an inaugural “Canny Creative” advising the British Council on arts programme development and UK connections in Turkey, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Alongside regular consultancy on Festivals and events she passes on her knowledge by mentoring young professionals across the UK.
Stella is a Director of D6:Culture in Transition, Newcastle and Artsadmin, London. She is a Council Member of Queen Mary University, London.
Simon Hill Trustee/Director
Simon Hill is Managing Consultant of Hill Coates Associates a UK- based independent executive search and leadership consultancy. This operates as part of the IMD International Search Group network which covers 22 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Simon is involved not only in executive search but also in succession planning, management assessment and executive coaching and works with FTSE, AIM and private equity-backed companies. He places board, executive committee, and management team members as well as heads of function, country managers, non-execs and operating partners. For relaxation Simon sings with the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church Oxford, sails yachts as often as he can and enjoys country sports. Simon is an occasional skier and does a little white-collar boxing to keep fit! He is married to Sally, and they have a 29 year-old son Tim Clifford Hill who is a professional Countertenor based in the choir of Guildford Cathedral, teaching and performing around the UK and on national media. Tim is married to the lovely soprano Alexandra Stevenson. Having been an Army Reservist for over 30 years, Simon is Chairman of The Rifles Officers London Club in Mayfair and in addition to the Rosie Kaye Dance Trust, is also a Trustee of the Emmaus Leadership Programme. Simon and Sally live with their three dogs in a Georgian farmhouse in Oxfordshire.
Monique Mehra Trustee/Director
Monique is a Care Quality Commission ‘Expert by Experience’ and also a Changing Our Lives Associate, recently researching postural care. She became involved with Rosie Kay at the 10 SOLDIERS world premiere and was one of 120 SOLDIERS in Rosie’s pop up foyer performance. Following this, she has been mentored to produce a solo piece with Kay’s permission called ‘I am soldier’ led by Rural Media BBC New Creatives.
She is an actress and dancer by hobby. Monique is a beginner martial artist, and regularly works out on her adaptive rower. In the sporting world she has played table cricket and wheelchair football. For an art project she was an underwater model and is an aspiring makeup artist. Adding to this Monique is a school governor and visits the local residential hostel. She travels on trains and flies abroad booking and organising flight assistance. Her stress release is to do meditation and seated yoga, and she is in the process of writing a book about her traumas and triumphs in her life so far.
Shivaji Shiva Trustee/Director
Shivaji is a charity lawyer – he advises on the creation of charities, their dissolution, and most of the issues they encounter in between. From offices in Brindleyplace, a short cycle ride from RKDC’s base at the Birmingham Hippodrome, Shivaji works with a wide variety of charities across England and Wales and occasionally further afield. Married to a bharata natyam dancer, he has a longstanding interest in the particular governance challenges faced by dance companies and other arts organisations. Independent sources describe him as “very knowledgeable; he provides expert advice and guidance” and “very enthusiastic”.
Away from his desk, Shivaji is a serial charity trustee and an occasional transport campaigner, currently promoting ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ to provide people-friendly streets and safer routes to school in Birmingham.
Sarah Waldron Trustee/Director
Sarah is a freelance consultant and bid writer, specialising in arts, heritage and community projects. She works with clients including visual artists, theatre makers, screenwriters, galleries and festivals, helping many gain funding for the first time. Sarah is Director of the Hub at St Mary’s in Lichfield and acts as an advisor for High Vis Street Art Festival, Reimagining Industrial Migrant Stories CIC, and Warley Woods Community Trust. She also leads and facilitates money workshops for Work Show Grow.
Having previously worked for Arts Council England and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Sarah has extensive experience of working with a variety of organisations, giving advice and guidance on funded projects, grant management and strategic objectives.
Outside of work Sarah spends most of her time visiting art galleries and museums, reading, watching horror films, gardening and attempting to wrangle her toddler and cat. She is a keen jeweller and printmaker, and is starting to dip her toe into screenwriting and acting.