On this – the final day of January 2018 – we’re announcing that Garry Robson is leaving BOP after five years as one of our Artistic Directors. His work for the company has had an incredible impact on theatre in Scotland – most recently as director of The Tin Soldier, our show for young people in December 2017. Alongside Robert Softley Gale, Garry turned BOP in to the first disability-led arts company in Scotland and having just delivered extensive workshops to the theatre sector in Mexico, we can see what benefit this work has had, both at home and overseas.

Read More

This isn’t goodbye – Garry will remain a close ally of BOP and we wish him every best wish for the future. He has just started rehearsals for Our Country’s Good, touring England spring/summer.
During his time as Artistic Director Garry has written, performed and directed a number of productions including; The Irish Giant as writer and director, The Man Who Lived Twice as writer, Crazy Jane, Urod! The Last Show, Miranda & Caliban, Role Shift and The Tin Soldier as director, Mother Courage and Her Children and Blanche & Butch as performer.
Garry Robson says “I’ve loved my time at Birds of Paradise. It’s been great working alongside Robert and the rest of an exceptional staff team and Board – full of energy, commitment and imagination. During these years I’m proud to have been part of a process that has seen BOP carve out a respected place for itself within the Scottish theatre infrastructure, creating several ground-breaking shows that have received critical and audience acclaim, working closely with the sector to support and develop the next generation of D/deaf and disabled artists and performers and becoming flag bearers in developing Creative Access in Scotland whilst successfully delivering Disability Equality Training to a whole host of theatres, arts centres, community projects and community businesses. Set alongside our work with D/deaf and disabled young people – breakthrough projects such as L4T that led to the Barriers report and its ongoing impact on youth arts provision – and our work on the international stage it’s been a pretty amazing few years, something recognised well beyond Scotland’s Borders. I decided to move on well before Creative Scotland dropped its most recent bombshell, because I felt the company were in a strong and secure place with an excellent workforce and exciting future plans and I wished to continue to develop my career as a performer and writer. Till the next time. Garry xx”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ROBERT SOFTLEY GALE – Artistic Director

Robert is an established figure in the Scottish arts scene, with over ten years of experience in diverse roles including disability rights activist, actor and performer, writer, artistic director and advocate of equality of access to the arts for disabled people.  Robert has appeared in many productions and has developed his own artistic practice – including instigating, co-writing and performing in ‘Girl X’ for the National Theatre of Scotland, directed by Pol Heyvaert of Belgium’s Campo. His award-winning writing debut and solo performance – ‘If These Spasms Could Speak’ – was a hit of the 2013 Made in Scotland programme and has subsequently toured internationally to countries including Brazil and India. Robert joined Birds of Paradise as Artistic Director in November 2013

MAIRI TAYLOR – Executive Producer / Head of Sector Development

Mairi began her arts and equalities career in arts and mental health through the Arts Advocacy Project in Dundee and Stepps Mental Health Charity, Edinburgh.  From 2003 – 2008 she worked at Artlink Edinburgh and the Lothians where she grew the audience development role within the Arts Access Service.  Mairi left Artlink to take on the project management of the Federation of Scottish Theatre’s national Access Project 2008-2010.

In 2010 Mairi established flip – Disability Equality in the Arts with Robert Gale. Over 7 years flip worked with organisations across Scotland, UK and Europe supporting the development of better equalities practices. Mairi has experience of working with theatres, galleries and museums and with a range of audiences. In 2010 – 2012 Mairi was the Project Coordinator for engage Scotland’s access project – Everyone – and worked with galleries across Scotland to embed disability into their strategic plans. During the last 5 years working with Robert as flip, Mairi has lead on some of flip’s research and development projects including VI Scotland’s AHRC Knowledge Exchange research and the National Theatre of Scotland’s NESTA project.  Mairi also works as a producer, producing If These Spasms Could Speak (a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a Scottish Tour and International touring), with the young company Creative Electric in Edinburgh and with disabled artists Aidan Moesby and Pum Dunbar on their Unlimited R&D commission Fragmenting the Codex. Mairi believes that building relationships – whether with audiences, partners or collaborators – brings about real change through increased confidence and understanding. Mairi has a BFA MA Hons Oxon from the Ruskin (1999) and an MFA from Duncan of Jordanstone (2003).

CALLUM MADGE – Projects Officer / Administrator

Callum Madge began working in Scottish arts as the Managing Editor for TVBomb. Since then he has had held staff positions with Lung Ha Theatre Company and flip, Disability Equality in the Arts. Callum has also undertaken freelance work for Lyceum Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Usher Hall, Filmhouse, National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, National Autistic Society, The Walking Theatre Company.

Callum is also part of Upfront Performance Network, a network of people working to increase the involvement within performance for audiences and artists with neurodiversity.

MICHELLE ROLFE – Assistant Producer

Michelle career has focused on creating accessible theatre for audience members and arts professionals alike. She has worked with several national organisations within technical, administrative and managerial roles. These have included Traverse Theatre, Falkirk Council, Dundee Rep, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Shape Arts and Graeae. Michelle holds a BA (Hons) from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.

Alongside her work with BOP Michelle undertakes freelance projects and programming for the Edinburgh Fringe.