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
GARRY ROBSON – Artistic Director
Garry is one of the most respected directors and innovators in Disability Art, working both in the U.K. and internationally. He’s directed over 30 professional productions receiving Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards and a Herald Angel. He was Artistic Director of DaDaFest International 2008 and 2010, establishing DaDaFest as the key International Festival for Deaf and Disability Arts and performance worldwide. Garry 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.