Presenting 2018’s #starsofthearts!

Congratulations to them and many thanks to all their colleagues who got in touch with us to nominate them.

The most nominations went to the ArtCare team at Sailsbury NHS Foundation Trust


Penny Calvert, Lesley Self, Rebecca Seymour and Hazel Stock at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust were nominated by many of their colleagues. Sue Biddle, Capital Projects and Space Planning Manager at the Trust, wrote:

‘I would very much like to nominate our ArtCare team here at Salisbury NHS Trust for the all the truly amazing, excellent, fabulous work they do in making the environments in our hospital a wonderful inspiring place to be for both patients, visitors and staff!

ArtCare work with the clinical and non-clinical teams, organising patient involvement group sessions to determine how a department/ward should work and look, along with providing art classes and group therapy sessions with art and music for all those who are either in a hospital bed or for staff who need some inspiration. The team have also created a History project full of wonderful photos and information about the hospital and the people who have been treated here and worked here in the past and in the present.

‘They are an amazing team and we are very lucky to have them.’

The team were also nominated by colleagues Penny Baylis, Bob Dennes, Jane Temblett and Michelle Sadler.

A shining light behind the scenes at DanceEast


Jonny Coulson, the Technical Manager at DanceEast, was nominated by his colleague, Venue Co-ordinator Maggie Powell:

‘He unfailingly has time for all the myriad of voices calling his name as soon as he walks into the building - from sorting the heating or delivering a capital project to a ridiculous deadline, to liaising and helping artists with ambitious visions but modest budgets or working with community hirers with patience and good humour - and I have yet to see him leave without being stopped on the way out to retrieve an errant ballet shoe from the top of a cupboard or answer another ‘before you go’ question!

His is the ultimate behind-the-scenes job, but without him DanceEast would be much the poorer - he literally shines a light on what we do! But most of all, he is just a joy to have around!’

Bringing Magic to Care Homes

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The party came alive this month … there, was singing [of] Italian opera. One resident could speak Italian and seemed so happy at the songs about love.  She spoke about when she first met her boyfriend and how their eyes just clicked. It was music and Cocktails in Care Homes that had taken her there.” Volunteer at Elgin Close care home.

Magic Me is an arts charity that brings the generations together to build a stronger, safer community. Their projects often link unlikely partners. Young people aged 8+ and adults aged 60+ team up through shared, creative activity. Intergenerational groups meet on a weekly basis in schools, museums, older peoples clubs, care homes, community and cultural organisations.

One of Magic Me’s programmes is Cocktails in Care Homes where they host monthly cocktail parties. Every party is a fabulous social event that just happens to be held in a care home, which anyone, regardless of age, would like to attend. The parties are attended by residents, their relatives, volunteers and care staff. Each party is themed with a creative design allowing attendees to interact and socialise in new ways.

Colleagues wanted to nominate the Cocktails in Care Homes team Phoebe Grudzinskas, Sarah Watson, Imogen Duffin and the team of Party Managers and Volunteers. Phoebe, Sarah, Imogen and the volunteers have punched well above their weight over the past year delivering more parties to more people in more homes than ever before.

Their tireless enthusiasm and determination has reached 16 care homes across London, and 400 residents. In the past year they have hosted 167 creatively themed parties an increase of 69 from 2016/17. Furthermore Phoebe, Sarah, Imogen and their team of volunteers have taken Cocktails in Care Homes into the heart of London’s artistic institutions with parties at the Southbank Centre and the Wellcome Collection. They have increased arts provision and creativity within the homes forging new relationships with the Royal Academy of Music and the Central School of Speech and Drama. Their ambition to always strive for more and better has enabled care home residents to engage with the arts in a new way.

‘We are incredibly proud of everything Phoebe, Sarah, Imogen and the team have achieved over the past year and believe they are worthy winners of a Stars of the Arts Award.’

Nominated by: Susan Langford, Director; Kate Hodson, Programme Director and Mark Bixter, General Manager.

Shoreham’s Christmas Star!

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Sam Wilson got in touch to nominate David O'Connell from The Shoreham Allstars 

Here’s what she had to say:

‘The Allstars is a young musicians collective that has been running since 2008 and has established itself as a part of Shoreham, Lancing, Southwick and Worthing's music scene and history. Young musicians aged 7 to 18 play on the Allstars yearly gig programme, building their confidence, creativity and ability in music within a strong and supportive network.

Dave is the creator and driving force behind The Shoreham Allstars. He has tirelessly provided the most fantastic opportunities to hundreds of kids, from Shoreham by Sea and the surrounding area, to perform their music, in front of a wide variety of audiences from the local Donkey Derby on the Allstars very own mobile stage, monthly weekend gigs down the local pub The Duke of Wellington, to the almighty Wildlife Festival at Brighton City Airport.

‘Regardless of age or ability, Dave see the potential in every child, and the importance of getting out there, and experiencing the world of live music and performance, and building confidence in every child involved.

Dave rocks!’

Unsung Heroes


We were pleased to hear from Jonathon Poyner, Director of Operations and Buildings at Barbican and at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, who wanted to shine a light on the Buildings and Operations team:

The ‘Alliance’ that we are building between the Barbican and Guildhall School is, we believe, really quite unique in the world. The Buildings and Operations team, lead by Sheree and Cornell have worked hard over the past two years to bring the Buildings and Operations functions together in order to ‘create an environment that enables and inspires others to achieve their best’.

The people in our Buildings and Ops teams, like their colleagues in other venues and Arts organisations, have chosen to work in the Arts sector. They have done so, in part, because they know that without their input, our colleagues who are Arts and Education practitioners would not be able to deliver the wonderful things that they do. Buildings and Operations team members thrive in knowing that in some way, they essentially provide ‘the stage’ upon which our Arts and Education colleagues perform. So let’s please hear it for the Buildings and Operations teams who ensure, whatever is thrown at them, that ‘the show must go on!’

Celebrating Dundee’s Local Hero

Yoldanda Aguilar nominated Shaper/Caper’s Artistic Director Tommy Small.

Tommy is ‘an enthusiastic dance practitioner in his home town of Dundee and internationally … Tommy is a prolific and relentless choreographer and arts educator that believes in the transformative power of the arts’. 

Tommy choreographed the opening of the V&A Dundee dance back in September with more than 500 young local dancers. He celebrates the arts and makes them accessible to all, sharing a vision of collective affirmation with people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

‘His style of work is joyous, generous, collaborative, empowering and humorous, highlighting kindness as a way to relate to others, an approach that in these times seems rather transgressive.’

Dippy is not the only Star of the Natural History Museum

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In January 2018, Dippy – the Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus cast – started his natural history adventure around the UK. The two year tour takes Dippy to eight venues across all four UK nations. With support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the tour aims to spark the imagination of a new generation of scientists and connect the nation with nature. Each partner will use Dippy’s visit to showcase their local nature and natural history collections, drawing attention to the rich array of past and present UK biodiversity.

Dippy is one of the stars of the Natural History Museum, but his tour is the result of an amazing team of scientists and staff at the Museum without whom it would not be possible. Amazing press coverage, record visitor numbers and quantifiable economic and social impact across local communities in Dorset, Birmingham and Belfast have been an excellent start to Dippy’s nationwide tour.

This has truly been a cross-Museum project relying on the expertise, professionalism and enthusiasm of the behind the scenes stars. Each team member’s dedication and determination is the driving force behind Dippy’s success!

Congratulations to Rebecca Ball, Katrina Nilsson, Becky Ettinger, Paul Barrett, Lorraine Cornish, Sarah Long, Jan English, Kate Fielding, Sherri-Louise Rowe, Cassie Emanuel, Gioia Rosina, Craig Manley, Marion Bentley, Sandra Chapman, Duncan Gregory, Jordan Risebury-Crisp, Joanna Mayers, Tracy Heath, James McNish, Lisa Hendry, Adam Richardson, Lizzie Tilley, Andy Wahl, Taz Lovejoy, Tristan Menner, Paul Brunt, Martin Fussell, Cheryl Lynn & Stuart Woolff.


A Monster Win

The Ministry of Stories is a local writing and mentoring centre in east London, where anyone aged eight to 18 can come and discover their own gift for writing. The charity lives behind the secret door hidden at the back of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.

Emily Murdock joined the Ministry of Stories team in 2014 as their temporary shopkeeper…. she is now one of the longest serving members of staff. This year, Emily led the creation - from itch through to scratch, and final launch - of the new postal services for mini humans on All Hallow’s Eve.

For the first time, humans can now correspond with lonely monsters - a vampire, werewolf, mummy, yeti, dragon and an in-the-cupboard gremlin. There are six letters displayed on the ‘Correspondents Wanted’ board in the shop seeking human replies. Once written, stamped and posted into our magical postbox, each letter writer - young or young at heart - will receive an individually written response from the monster.

Under Emily’s leadership, our postal services now have a unique brand and their own postal delivery service (Post Mortem). We have a new post office counter that magically appeared overnight in the shop and a team of trained and talented ghostwriter volunteers who write the unique and magical responses. So far we have received more than 50 letters from children.

This project has been essential in connecting the magic of the shop with the world of writing behind it. We wanted to create a strong link between the two and use the letter writing as a way of encouraging our local community to explore their talent for writing. It is only through Emily’s vision, energy and tireless championing of the importance of creating a community writing opportunity in our shop that we have been able to develop this project.

Image: Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Congratulations to all our nominees and many thanks to all who nominated them!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash