Heads Together was originally created as a physical theatre company back in 1986. It wasn’t until 1998 that it launched as a fully fledged community arts company, and as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee—Heads Together Productions Limited.
But the story is about a developing purpose and methods as well as a change in corporate structure—identified in a website we put together in 2011 to mark the 25th anniversary of Heads Together. The website charts three phases of the company:
1986 to 1992 The Early Years The Company was created as Heads Together Physical Theatre in October 1986. Originally founded by Gerry Turvey, Adrian Sinclair and Tamsin Spain–the first years saw the Company develop their own style of performance, alongside a strong belief in finding ways to share the ownership of the work they created.
1993 to 2002 The Street Years Having lost touring money, the big performance-based residencies became a thing of the past. But there was still a great demand for Heads Together’s participatory work. In this phase of the Company’s development, we really focused on our education work: both in a formal setting in schools and colleges, and in more informal community settings: On the Streets.
2003 – 2010 The Digital Years As digital possibilities increased, Heads Together was in the forefront of looking at the creative possibilities… in a community context. For us that meant finding appropriate uses for the new technologies, often linking the digital to the analogue eg using mobile broadband to broadcast a digital radio station from a 1980s Marauder caravan! If you follow the links you will find a lot more detail…
And if we carried on the theme then 2011-2019 would be the Chapel years—developing a beautiful arts centre from a derelict Methodist Chapel and looking at how best to support a thriving community resource.
It is so important that facilities, such as yours, are there to support local communities
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Labour Party
Last year 17,942 visitors came to Chapel FM (a massive 78% increase on the previous year).
Chapel FM Annual Report
It’s about time East Leeds had an arts venue of it’s own to be proud of. Chapel FM is it.
Chief Executive of Leeds City Council
68% of visitors to Chapel FM are local to East Leeds living in the LS14 & 15 postcode districts
Chapel FM Annual Report
Last year we had a total listenership of 48,121 online and on FM and our streamed videos had 280,000 views
As mentioned, the responsible organisation is Heads Together Productions Limited; a not-for-profit company which has recently been awarded charitable status. The company is run by a voluntary Board of Directors. If you want to contact the Board directly then please either write to the Chair of the Board at Chapel FM, York Road, Leeds LS14 6JB or email email@example.com The Board is responsible for the future direction of the organisation as well as overseeing policies and practices regarding the day-to-day operations of the Company and it’s staff and operations. The following documents might be of interest:
Current policies Below are a few of Heads Together’s key policies and procedures. Please contact us directly if you would like further information or details of other policies.
When we moved into Chapel FM we worked with consultant Liz Firth to develop a plan of what we were trying to achieve—a Theory of Change. We are currently involved in two research projects that are testing whether aspects of this theory are indeed changing anything!
Sian Ashby – Music Community Arts Worker
Working mostly with young people, providing music sessions and activities ranging from song writing, improvisation and performance skills to music industry advice and opportunities, Sian supports young people to move forwards with their musical careers, find their voice and grow in confidence.
She is a multi-instrumentalist with her primary instrument being clarinet. She currently plays with the Brigadistas, a music collective playing protest music from around the world. She is also an artist in her spare time, working with clay portrait and animal sculptures and lino prints.
Jamie Carnie – Broadcast Worker and Interim Centre Manager
A Broadcast Journalism graduate from the University of Salford who loves all things radio, Jamie has experience presenting and producing student radio and has produced music as a hobby for 10 years.
He loves the diversity of arts and culture that Leeds has to offer and is an avid music fan. You’re most likely to find him in the ELFM studios helping our broadcasters produce a show or make a podcast, or if he’s at home, hunched over a host of musical gear working on one audio project or another.
Katy Hayley – Participation Manager
Katy would have liked to be a vet—but she can’t stand the sight of blood! So she trained in graphic design and has been working creatively within education for over twenty years. She enjoys working collaboratively and is particularly focused on encouraging young people to achieve; and for them to recognise and feel proud of their achievements.
Which is great for Chapel FM Arts Centre, because she is currently working as Participation Manager, responsible for all the participation and education activities that we run, including the Arts Award programme—accrediting all the work that our young participants have done.
Tony Macaluso – Co-Director
Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Chapel FM Arts Centre, Tony came to Leeds from Chicago where he previously worked as director of the WFMT Radio Network, producing arts radio programmes and documentaries for radio stations around the world and served as director of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive a collection of 5,000+ radio programmes made by the legendary oral historian and radio DJ from Chicago. A podcast overview of that project can be found here. He has worked as a performer, director, writer and staff member with a number of experimental theatre companies in Chicago such as Redmoon Theatre, The Neo-Futurists, Theatre Oobleck and Prop Thtr, served as president of the board of Opera-Matic and worked for the Grant Park Music Festival / Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, a free outdoor summer-long music festival running since the 1930s.
He studied Journalism, Chinese and Theatre at university. He is a board member of the Charles Parker Archive and involved in many oral history/radio archive projects. One of his passions is getting to know places through exploring books, films, music by local artists and tramping around neighbourhoods, trying to understand their histories and what makes them unique. He learned a great deal about storytelling and local history (and met his partner) working as a tour guide on the Chicago River.
Tony hosts the ELFM radio show Curiosity Did Not Kill These Cats!
Elliott Moon – Centre, Tech and Live Events Coordinator
Elliott oversees most technical aspects of running Chapel FM and is focusing in on most of our live event output for 2020 and beyond. He works with the community on offering them support in learning how to use radio equipment as part of our volunteer tech group training sessions. He is also working with people in our live events groups sessions to make sure we put on as many performances and events that are geared towards the community.
Elliott hosts the ELFM radio show Welly’s Nerdy News.
Adrian Sinclair – Co-Director
After an early start in rugby and engineering, Adrian trained in theatre and dance and performed throughout this country and in Europe. He was one of the founders of Heads Together Productions in 1986 and is currently Co-Director.
Adrian is responsible for the creative direction of Heads Together’s special projects work including UNION: The Northern School for Creativity and Activism, an initiative that seeks to develop, support and train the next generation of social artists. He is also leading on the development of our new expanded venue—Phase 2 of Chapel FM; and he maintains financial oversight for the whole organisation .
Peter Spafford – Director of Words
Peter has been writing professionally for over twenty years. He divides his writing activity into two categories: Writing In Here and Writing Out There which he says are of equal importance.
Writing In Here is work he produces in a room by himself: poetry, for instance, or plays for Radio 4. When he’s Writing Out There, a good chunk of that work includes the vast range of community and educational work he does with East Leeds FM, including the annual broadcast literature festival Writing on Air.
Peter has an incredible skill in getting people–of all ages and from all walks of life–enjoying the beauty of words and the possibilities of writing. He’s a wordo!
Heads Together believes in:
- the transformative power of involvement in significant creative processes
- the power of creativity in effecting positive changes in social and community settings
- providing opportunities to develop everyone’s creative potential
- active creative collaboration between artists and other professionals
- achieving the highest quality
- productive partnerships with other professionals/agencies to effect long-term results
- the continued development of our own skills and art form practice
Heads Together respects:
- the equal importance of artistic and social aspirations
- the particular contribution people in communities make to the process, in partnership with Heads Together
- the need to understand the importance of the political, social, cultural and economic context within which we work
Heads Together will:
- develop imaginative, inspiring and meaningful creative work with people
- set up inclusive frameworks for involvement in creative work
- value individual identity
- maintain, along with project participants, a clear understanding of the purpose and aspirations for any programme of work
- exercise a duty of care regarding the impact a project may have on participants, communities and partners
- support the potential for individual and group progression
With acknowledgement to Jennie Hayes – January 2004 Full copy of the Manifesto available to download
Photos by Lizzie Coombes, Tamsin Spain and Mike Davidson