Creative team & Creative Partners

Laura Stevens

Laura Stevens

Marketing & Audience Development Manager
Laura@z-arts.org

I began my interest in all things creative arts after studying Contemporary Art at Lancaster University. Since graduating I have worked in both the private and public sector, organising exhibitions at Bentley Motors, as a researcher for SCAPE Biennial in New Zealand, digital marketing at Oxfam and recently at IT firm Certero. It’s great to be back working in the arts again and to join Z-arts at a particularly exciting time, developing the audience base for our year-round programme of brilliant children’s theatre in the North West as well as the range of creative arts events and activities happening here at Z-arts.

Gill Balfour

Gill Balfour

Creative Learning Officer
Gill@Z-arts.org

I studied History of Art in Glasgow and came to Manchester 5 years ago to find a career in the arts. I began at Z-arts as a volunteer, helping on various creative projects back in 2009 and now take on board my own as well as coordinating other children’s activities too. I love making, doing and dancing. You’ll know me, I'm the one in the bright coloured leggings.

Holly Sharp

Holly Sharp

Assistant Producer - Big Imaginations
holly@z-arts.org

After studying History and Religious Studies at Lancaster, I taught drama in Hong Kong. I returned to the UK to study an MA in text and performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Birbeck, University of London. I moved up to Manchester to join Z-arts in August 2014 and between then and now my tea intake has gone up dramatically.

Tsana Osbourne

Tsana Osbourne

Youth Music Co-ordinator
tsana@z-arts.org

I’ve been a singer/songwriter for over 15 years. I’ve opened stages for UK and international acts. Music is my passion but I have a love for the arts and empowering young people through the arts. After graduating in Performing arts from Salford Uni, I have worked with young people in educational, community and arts settings teaching, music dance and drama. I joined Z-arts in May and I feel like I have finally found my arts tribe!

Gemma Rooke

Gemma Rooke

Development Manager
gemma@z-arts.org

I did my Masters at Manchester University, just down the road from Z-arts, but now live right around the ring road, on the other side of Manchester – in the hills. I’m passionate about what the arts can achieve and what changes they can make to a community – and that’s why I do my job. I don’t think I could fundraise for an organisation if I didn’t believe in the positive changes they can make to someone’s life. My job is to find lots of opportunities for people to support our work and ensure that exciting things happen because of the support they give!

Natasha Stott

Natasha Stott

Resident performance Artist & Facilitator
natasha@z-arts.org

I was born into a family of theatre makers and performers and have followed this path in my educational and professional career. With a degree in dance from Coventry University I went on to do my MA in performance art at Nottingham Trent University and I am now doing a practice-base PhD at Salford University. I have previously worked for Odd Theatre, TiPP, Creative Partnerships and Stage Centre, to name a few and have worked with pre-school, primary, secondary and university students and facilitated workshops in prisons, schools, Spas, Universities, Secure Units and theatres. I facilitate dance, drama and immersive theatre workshops at Z-arts and coordinate the young people programme. I also work freelance in and around Manchester.

Suzanne Smith

Suzanne Smith

Resident Visual Artist & Co-ordinator
suzanne@z-arts.org

I am a practising ideas-based fine artist often working with collage, text, photography, film and found material. I studied sculpture and painting at Manchester School of Art and went on to study my MA in cultural theory at Lancaster to better understand the social context of my own art practice. Prior to working at Z-arts I enjoyed a portfolio career in arts education, galleries and support work with roles including arts development, curating and teaching. I absolutely love working with children and young people, and am really passionate about making contemporary art practice accessible for all young artists and their families irrespective of background or financial circumstance. It's a real pleasure to now be part of the Z-arts team that believes so passionately in providing a creative space where young people and their families feel safe, energised and at home!

Ramsey Janini

Ramsey Janini

Finance and Administration Officer
Ramsey@z-arts.org

I was born in Jordan to a Mexican mother and Palestinian father many moons ago, but I now proudly call Manchester home. I first moved to Manchester in 2007, unassumingly, and without great expectations. I liked its crumbling factories and historic canals, but I fell in love with its multicultural spirit of togetherness, ambition and creativity. It's an honour and joy to work for Z-arts, an institution that expresses the charitable beauty of Manchester so completely. I work here as a finance and administration officer, but also as a musician, writer, parent and neighbour.

Yemi Bolatiwa

Yemi Bolatiwa

Festival Outreach Intern
yemi@z-arts.org

Originally from London, I have lived in Manchester for 9 years now. I studied international consumer marketing and worked in project management for various advertising agencies before leaving the sector to pursue an MA in Social Anthropology. I’ve worked with international festivals, local festivals such as Chorlton Arts and managed events and artist bookings for my grassroots arts organisation (M20 Collective). As a musician I have been part of Manchester’s creative scene for over 4 years now, and this has eventually led to my work as a freelance singer. I’m excited to focus my range of skills into Z-arts and have creativity, community engagement and diversity at the forefront of my work!