Thursday, August 17, 2017
Who are we?

The Company

Gavin Crichton
Gavin is the current Artistic Director and has been in post since the start of the Company in 2008. Before setting up Active Inquiry, Gavin worked as a freelance drama worker and as Research Assistant at the Centre for Community Arts Research and Practice at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. One of the major parts of this post was helping to set-up and run the community programme at the Gateway Theatre. Gavin has over 12 years' experience of running both small and large-scale community arts projects. As well as a project manager he is also an established workshop leader and theatre director. Gavin is passionate about the work of Active Inquiry and keen to see the Company grow and develop.
Emily Steedman
Emily has been a member of the Active Inquiry since Aug 2012. She is Senior Mental Health and Arts Development Worker with Health In Mind in partnership with NHS Lothian. In this role she is exploring the use of theatre and other creative media as tools for collective advocacy in mental health services. She has really enjoyed linking this work and the work of Active Inquiry with some exciting and fruitful collaborations. She has been on the Lothian's Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF) planning group since 2009. She graduated from Dartington College of Arts with a BA(Hons) in Visual Performance in 2004 and in 2007 completed a MSc in Community Education at Edinburgh University.
Karen Toscani
Karen is a Leither, community activist and ball of energy. She first became involved with Active Inquiry through coming to see a Forum Theatre performance. After that she came to a workshop and was hooked. Over the past few years she has been one of the central organisers of the Leith Festival and the Leith Gala day, volunteering to help keep the organisation going through a difficult funding period. She is currently on placement with the Cyrenians.
Liz Strange
Liz is an actor with a strong interest in devising and physical theatre, particularly clown. She has trained in Theatre of the Oppressed techniques with Gavin Crichton, Julian Boal and Barbara Santos and has been a member of the "TOgether" European collective of Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners. Liz trained as an actor at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and The Desmond Jones School of Mime and Physical Theatre both in London, and the City Varsity Film and TV School in Cape Town. She also has a degree in Community Education from the University of Edinburgh. In 2010 Liz founded Edinburgh based theatre company Strange Theatre with which she has produced and co-created new productions including Mother, á la carte, Goddess and Couldn't Care Less. As well as her work with Active Inquiry and Strange Theatre, she regularly works with Forum Interactive using Forum Theatre plays to change attitudes and behaviours in the work place. She is an Elderflower practitioner with Hearts and Minds, and is a co-creator and performer in "The Traffic Awardens", a subversive comedy walk about troupe, and she works regularly with Leith based new writing collective Village Pub Theatre.
Pinar Aksu
Pinar has recently graduated with a BA in Community Development from the University of Glasgow was on placement with Active Inquiry throughout her final year. She has been working specifically on developing more links between the Company and the BME community in Leith including working with Sikh Sanjog and Shakti Women's Aid. She is also a part of World Spirit Theatre group in Glasgow using Forum Theatre to explore issues around the asylum and immigration process. She started the Aslan Theatre group with the young Turkish community and is currently undertaking an internship with Xchange Scotland working on a project to challenge sectarianism.
Suzanne Dance
Suzanne is an actor who trained at RSAMD, and a Community Worker presently working with Carers and in Mental Health. Suzanne is also a Mindfulness and Well Being Facilitator. She set up the Pathway Project for young women homeless because of sexual abuse and co-created, with Jo Clifford, Leave to Remain, an innovative exploration of grief and death. Suzanne regularly works in Bavaria, recently presenting a dance/text/ workshop about Mary Magdalene. She is also a peace activist and was involved at Greenham Common. She enjoys walking, dancing and meditation.

The Board

Alice Musamba
Alice works at Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) as a support and advice worker. She is also one of the organisers of Black History Month and a member of the World Kitchen in Leith.
Fay Young
Fay Young is a writer and editor with a special interest in environmental and social issues. As a director of the former Edinburgh City Centre Management Company, she researched and wrote about the importance of public space and arts-led regeneration of city centre life. From 2007-8 she co-ordinated and documented two multi-media site specific projects for iMAP (Intercultural Music and Arts Project). She is a founder member of the Poetry Garden in St Andrew Square. Voluntary commitments also include co-ordinating Leith Open Space, a voluntary group which organises multicultural discussion events.
Laura Thompson
Laura studied Drama and Theatre Arts at Queen Margaret University, specialising in Community Theatre, before going on to Edinburgh University to gain her PGCE in Drama Secondary Teaching. She has since worked as a Teacher of Drama and Principal Teacher of Drama, and is now Curriculum Leader of Performing Arts at Craigmount High School in Edinburgh. Although professionally Laura has gone down the formal education route, she still takes a keen interest in drama in the community sector. Laura supports the use of the arts for personal and social change.
Lynne Clark
Lynne Clark is a freelance educator and theatre practitioner. She started her career as a performer in London and the South-East of England and rapidly became involved in the emerging theatre-in-education (TIE) movement of the early 1970s. Since then she has worked in a number of capacities - singer, actor, director, facilitator, teacher, and lecturer. Lynne has taught courses in Higher Education institutions in England, Scotland, Poland, Finland and the U.S. She has contributed to continuing professional development for actors, directors, community practitioners and facilitators within the theatre profession and for community educators, teachers and health professionals, both in this country and overseas.
Nick Gardner
Nick has been a welfare rights worker, a youth and children's worker, a mental health worker and campaigner, and a self-employed web site developer. He is presently a Scottish Labour Councillor representing the urban ward of Leith Walk. This gives him the chance to support various exciting and innovative community projects, including Active Inquiry.
Stephanie Knight
Stephanie Knight is an independent artist-researcher and an adjunct Staff Member at the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow. She is an internationally published researcher, practitioner and writer in applied theatre and applied arts, specialising in social justice and human rights, international collaboration and reconciliation. She is a collaborative researcher in applied theatre and organisational development, leadership and management. Stephanie has extensive experience in lecturing and education and in developing pedagogical and research methodologies with applied theatre and arts practitioners, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Stephanie has been the Director of an international research centre and an arts organisation, as well as the Director of a number of large-scale arts & education projects. She is one of the judges for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for outstanding theatre with a strong human rights message, which is awarded each year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She is the Principal Editor of the international Journal of Arts & Communities.