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Claire Alizon Hills

Creative Entrepreneur

What I do:

I’m Claire, and as well as being the Artistic Director if Topsy Turvy Theatre, I’m also a freelance workshop facilitator and all round creative practitioner.

I deliver regular workshops in school settings which use drama, music and movement to explore the curriculum in a creative way. Added too this I also deliver in Mother & Baby Units in prisons. I’m currently Leven 3 Makaton trained, but am working towards becoming a tutor in the next few years.

What steps I took to get where I am now:

Since leaving university in 2003 I’ve worked really hard to carve a path for myself within the creative industry. It hasn’t been easy, as unfortunately there were always fewer opportunities in the North than in the South and in general I left university with little knowledge of how to go about being a creative practitioner.

However, I persevered and found freelance work locally with Faceless Arts, whom I performed street theatre with for about 15 years! I honed my workshop facilitation skills to complement my acting skills and over the last 20 years have become a skilled workshop facilitator and mentor for other facilitators for several national arts organisations.

I develop bespoke workshops and longer projects as well as deliver ‘off the shelf’ workshops for EYFS, primary and secondary aged children and young people.

Having started my own Children’s Theatre company (Topsy Turvy Theatre) in 2010, my work as a facilitator has supported the growth of my company and enabled me to pursue lots of creative opportunities which have all influenced my overall practice. During the pandemic I started taking the time to work ON the business rather than IN the business & this has led me to taking up the role as Trainee Board Member at Creative Wakefield as well as accessing mentoring and Creative Leadership development.

There is never a dull moment, and the work is never done. There is always something else to learn – & I’m always up for the challenge!

What creative opportunities I'm looking for:

I’d love to network more and share experiences and support other local creatives and business. I’m always interested in opportunities to get involved with developing and delivering workshops as well as exploring new ways of bringing creative experiences to children and families. One of my goals is to find out more about what is happening in the district – so, please tell me what you are up to!

An unexpected thing about me:

I’m currently training to be a kickboxing instructor!

My proudest moment:

Probably when I graduated in 2003. It meant so much to me and my Mum. Apparently I had a smile on my face all day and the sun even came out for us!

My dream creative collaboration:

Getting my uni friends back together to revisit some of the shows we did as undergraduates and having a laugh.

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