Tuesday, December 12, 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 a keen interest in exploring the use of theatre as a tool for collective advocacy, particularly in mental health services. She has a passion for object theatre, puppetry and animation. She has experience delivering drama and other creative and wellbeing workshops to people aged 8 to 80+. She graduated from Dartington College of Arts in Visual Performance, in 2004 and in 2007 completed an MSc in Community Education at Edinburgh University.
Karen Toscani
Karen is a Leither, community activist and ball of energy. 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. Karen first became involved with Active Inquiry through coming to see a Forum Theatre performance in 2010.
Liz Strange
Liz is an actor with a particular interest in new writing, devising, ensemble and physical theatre. Her recent theatre credits include The End of Things (Company of Wolves) and Couldn't Care Less (Plutot la Vie). She has trained in Theatre of the Oppressed with Gavin Crichton, Julian Boal and Barbara Santos. Liz is a Clown Doctor and Elderflower practitioner with Hearts and Minds. She works regularly with the Village Pub Theatre, and is an ensemble member with both Company of Wolves and Choral Jam. She is also working with Al Seed and Judith Milligan on an adaptation of Paradise Lost and with Florencia García Chafuén on an adaptation of Antigone.
Pinar Aksu
Pinar has a BA in Community Development. 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 involved with World Spirit Theatre group in Glasgow using Forum Theatre to explore issues around the asylum and immigration process. Lately she has completed her MSc in Human Rights and International Politics.
Suzanne Dance
Suzanne is an actor, and has a Master of Drama from the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. She also has a B.A. Hons in Sociology, University of Lancaster and a Post Grad in Primary Teaching from Moray House. Suzanne has 40 years of experience as a Community Worker, in the areas of Mental Health, Carers, Homelessness, Young People, and Sexual and Domestic Abuse. Suzanne founded the Pathway Project for young women homeless because of sexual abuse. Suzanne co created, with Jo Clifford, 'Leave to Remain,' an innovative and original exploration of grief and death.

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.