The FLARE17 Team

FLARE17 is run in close collaboration with the staff of the venues involved, and  supported by a team of volunteers. The core team are as follows:


Neil Mackenzie : Artistic Director

Neil has ongoing responsibility for artistic selection, partnerships and the overall character and aims of the festival. He has been the Artistic Director of Flare since it was founded and of the MIST festival prior to that in 2007. Neil was also the Performance Programmer of Axis Arts Centre in Crewe, Artistic Director of Plane Performance and is joint Programme Leader of Drama and Contemporary Performance at Manchester School of Theatre.


 Laura Broome : General Director

Laura has overall responsibility for all production, logistical and personnel elements of the festival. She also currently works as Programme Manager for Quays Culture at the Salford Quays/MediaCityUK location, and as a freelance dance artist across the North West. Previously Laura has held management and production roles with Hofesh Shechter Company, Chorlton Arts Festival, The Walled City Tattoo and Derry/Londonderry City of Culture 2013.

Screen shot 2015-05-19 at 08.21.14Clare Simpson : Audience Director

Clare has overall responsibility for Marketing, Front of House and all aspects of the audience experience at the festival. Previously she was Marketing Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester and Development Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. She combines working for Flare with running her own marketing consultancy and running her business, Lemon Drizzle Tea & Cakes, baking and selling cakes.

Screen shot 2015-05-19 at 08.21.21

Chris Whitwood : Production Manager

Chris works with the Flare artists and venues, and co-ordinates the technical team, to realise all of the production and technical aspects of the festival. Outside of Flare, Chris works as a freelance production manager on a wide variety of theatre projects and productions.


Megan Iredale : Admin Assistant

Megan is a recent graduate of Contemporary Theatre and Performance from Manchester Metropolitan University and is now employed by the university as a graduate trainee for events. She is responsible for running the Flare office, and supports the work of the producers and directors of the festival.


Liam Gordon : Producer - Creative Learning and Participation

Liam is responsible for participation and creative learning for FLARE17. He is also a theatre in education practitioner and artist based in Leeds and the director of Limits Theatre Collective. Liam has an MA in Performance Works from Leeds Beckett University, and works as a freelance producer and project manager for youth performance and dance programmes.

Ryan O'Shea : Producer - Front of House

Ryan is an emerging theatre maker, performer and producer based in Bristol. He is currently touring as a technician with Reckless Sleepers theatre company and is performing in, and helped devise, Michael Pinchbeck’s latest theatre project Concerto. He has previously worked on IBT 17 theatre festival and FLARE15.

Louisa Claughton : Producer - Events and Catering

Louisa is the Catering and Events Producer for this year's Flare festival. She is also a theatre maker based in Leeds, and has worked at the National and International Student Drama Festival, as well as working on the Front of House at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Edwina McEachran : Producer - Marketing

Edwina is responsible for off and online marketing during FLARE17. She has worked in arts administration for over three years, focusing on the innovative and groundbreaking cultural scene in Manchester. She has previously worked with SICK! Festival, Manchester Animation Festival, The Met and Manchester Art Gallery, and currently works at Contact.

Lisa Buckby : Producer - Logistics

Lisa leads on all the accommodation, transport and logistical needs of the festival. She also currently works for Unity Theatre, Liverpool as Box Office Coordinator and Communications Officer, and is a freelance producer, working with festivals, venues and events including Port Eliot Festival, Dartington International Summer School and Kazimier Productions.

Catt Belcher : Producer - Artist Liaison

Catt is the artist liaison producer for FLARE17, and is a freelance theatre and events producer based in Manchester. Having graduated from the University of Manchester in 2016, Catt has developed work with local companies, artists and regional theatres, as well as with her own theatre company, JustTalk Theatre.
The Flare advisory board comprises of Kevin Egan (Flare co-founder, MMU and Reckless Sleepers), Annie Lloyd (Compass Live Art), Leanne Feeley (Company Chameleon) and Teresa Brayshaw (Leeds Beckett University and freelance). Teresa and Kevin also sit on the Flare selection panel, chaired by the artistic director.