Panellists Announced For Genesis Conversation: Arts in a Time of Crisis at Bristol Old Vic

The event is on 15 November.

By: Nov. 09, 2022
Panellists Announced For Genesis Conversation: Arts in a Time of Crisis at Bristol Old Vic

The Genesis Foundation today announced the full list of panellists taking part in the second of their Genesis Conversations, in partnership with Bristol Old Vic at the theatre's historic venue on 15 November.

Panellists are Shami Chakrabarti (human rights lawyer and Chair of The Gate Theatre), Sado Jirde (Director of Black South West Network), Vanessa Kisuule (Writer and Performer), Alan Lane (Artistic Director of Slung Low) and Tom Morris (Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic from 2009-2022) will chair the event.

This conversation takes place in Bristol Old Vic's award-winning front of house 'Courtyard' space. It will explore the theme ARTS IN A TIME OF CRISIS looking at how we build a resilient future for the Arts. This is particularly relevant in the week following Arts Council England announcing their NPO funding for the next three years and the impact this will have on the culture sector in England.

The Genesis Conversations are free events, and those who aren't able to attend in person can either watch the live-stream or a playback on the Genesis Foundation channels. They are open to anyone working in the arts, audiences, or those who support the sector through business or public support.

The Panellists

Shami Chakrabarti (Baroness Chakrabarti CBE PC) is a human rights lawyer and campaigner, Labour Peer and was Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales from September 2016 to April 2020.

She was the Director of Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties), from 2003 to 2016 and its In House Counsel from 2001 to 2003. Prior to that she was at the bar and then a Home Office lawyer (1996-2001).

She was a panellist on the Leveson Inquiry into media culture, ethics and practice after the phone-hacking scandal in 2011/12 and one of an international group who carried the Olympic flag at the opening of the London games in 2012.

She was the Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and the University of Essex and has been an Honorary Professor at the Universities of Bristol and Manchester and the London School of Economics. She served on the Board of the British Film Institute (BFI) for many years and on the Members Council of the Tate. She is a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple. She has written and broadcast widely and is the author of two books, On Liberty (2014) and Of Women (2017). Both are published by Penguin, Allen Lane.

As Director of Black South West Network (BSWN) since 2013, Sado Jirde rebuilt the organisation's profile and repositioned its role from an infrastructure body to a racial justice incubator, where alternative solutions to systemic racial and socio-economic inequalities issues are developed in collaboration with the Black and Minoritised communities across the City of Bristol and the South West region.

Sado is active on several relevant boards and advisory structures including Bristol's One City Economy board and Bristol University Court. She is also the Vice-Chair of Bristol Old Vic Board - the oldest continuously Working Theatre in the English-speaking world.

She was awarded The African Achievers Award in 2015, as well as the Most Inspirational Role Model Award by the West Women of the Year Awards in 2019 and listed as a Women of Inspiration: 100 social enterprise leaders showing Covid who's boss in 2020. Sado is a fellow of Royal Society of Arts and is proud to have been made a Visiting Fellow to University of Bath Spa in 2020.

Vanessa Kisuule is a writer and performer based in Bristol. She has won over ten slam titles including The Roundhouse Slam 2014, Hammer and Tongue National Slam 2014 and the Nuoryican Poetry Slam.

She has been featured on BBC iPlayer, Radio 1, and Radio 4's Woman's Hour, Blue Peter, Don't Flop and TEDx in Vienna. She has appeared at an array of literary and music festivals and was Glastonbury Festival's Resident Poet in 2019.

Her poem on the historic toppling of Edward Colston's statue 'Hollow' gained over 600,000 views on Twitter in three days. She has two poetry collections published by Burning Eye Books and her work was Highly Commended in the Forward Poetry Prize Anthology 2019. She has written for publications including The Guardian, NME and Lonely Planet and has publication credits in pending anthologies with Canongate, Orion and Penguin Random House.

She has worked extensively in theatre with Bristol Old Vic, Kneehigh Theatre and Pentabus and her Arts Council supported show 'SEXY' toured nationally in 2017. She was the Bristol City Poet for 2018 - 2020 and will be co-tutor for Southbank Centre's first ever Poetry Collective alongside Will Harris. She is currently working on an essay collection and her debut novel.

Alan Lane is Artistic Director of Slung Low directing most of their work over the last decade including projects with the Barbican, the RSC, The Almeida, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman, Sheffield Theatres, Singapore Arts Festival and the Lowry. Slung Low make large scale people's theatre work on stages, trains, castles, swimming pools, fishing boats and town centres.

In 2017 Slung Low headlined Hull UK City of Culture 2017 with Flood by James Phillips: a 4 Part epic performed online, live and on the BBC. Over half a million people saw a part of Flood. It won a Royal Televisual Award Yorkshire for innovation in drama.

In 2018 Slung Low, with support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, will open a new Cultural Community College in Leeds offering a full range of cultural lessons in activities from South Indian Cooking to Blacksmything, star gazing to documentary film making and much in between.

In 2019 Slung Low took over management of the oldest working men's club in Britain, The Holbeck in South Leeds: they run this venue as a Pay What You Decide creative and community space.

During the Covid crisis of 2020 the company was the ward lead for the city council's coronavirus helpline with responsibility for 7500 homes. They run a non-means tested self-referral food bank.

Tom Morris was Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic from 2009 -2022 before stepping down this October and has been Associate Director of The National Theatre since 2004. He was the Artistic Director of BAC from 1995 to 2004 and has worked widely as a journalist, broadcaster and freelance writer, producer and director.

At Bristol Old Vic he has directed many shows including Touching the Void and The Grinning Man (both Bristol and West End); Swallows & Amazons (Bristol, West End and UK tour); Handel's Messiah, A Midsummer Night's Dream (with Handspring Puppet Company), and Dr Semmelweis.

Tom also adapted A Christmas Carol for Bristol Old Vic in 2018, co-wrote the lyrics for The Grinning Man, and adapted A Matter of Life and Death with Emma Rice for The National Theatre. For Kneehigh, he wrote Nights at the Circus and The Wooden Frock with Emma Rice. For BAC he wrote Ben Hur, Jason and the Argonauts and World Cup Final 1966, all with Carl Heap.

Other directing credits include: Breaking the Waves (Scottish Opera/ Opera Ventures with Edinburgh International Festival); The Death of Klinghoffer (ENO & Metropolitan Opera); Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (National Theatre); War Horse (as co-director for National Theatre; 2011 Tony Award for Best Director); he also produced Jerry Springer: The Opera (for BAC).

Tom was founding Chair of the JMK Trust, has served on the boards of Complicite & Punchdrunk, has honorary doctorates from UWE and Bristol University, and an OBE for services to Theatre.

To attend ARTS IN A TIME OF CRISIS live or online, book your free ticket here: or sign up to the Genesis Foundation Newsletter to receive updates about the live-stream.

Follow the Genesis Foundation channels or Bristol Old Vic's website for more information.


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