Hope Compassion Dignity Unity
Welcome to Yvonne’s Blog
I grew up in the North East of England and the Midlands and I am the youngest of six children of Irish parents. My maternal Grandparents left their home with what they could carry in suitcases to start life again in Britain and give those of their ten children still living at home, and their future grandchildren, a better chance in life. I attended a state comprehensive led by a visionary Head Teacher and as a direct result went on to read Drama at Manchester University, train as an actor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and then as a teacher of English and Drama at UCL in London.
After studying at University (1988-91) on a full grant and gaining a 2:1 BA Hons Degree I went to my local library and looked up charitable foundations and hand wrote eighty letters to get the funding to go to Drama School.
I have been told since the age of about seventeen to ‘go into politics’.
When applying for universities, my political arguments led most professors who interviewed me to ask why I wasn’t studying or pursuing a career in politics. The answer was simple. No role models. No pathways. No Mentors. No clue of how to get in or how I could access those structures and processes. People from my background simply didn’t become politicians. So I made theatre instead. Political theatre which could change things, help people to see, think and behave differently. To make a fairer and more equal society which included taking the first ever piece of theatre to the House of Commons back in 1992. I have been a member of Equity, my trade union, since I began work in 1992. I joined GMB in addition in 2017. All of my theatre work is centred round social justice, equality & positive social change. Because everything is political.
I have now been a freelance Director/Producer and Consultant working across Wales, the UK and internationally for almost three decades. I have nurtured a diverse portfolio career across the cultural sector ranging from commissions with the BBC Archives Development Project to consultancy with the Butetown Carnival producing company and have extensive Directing and producing credits in Theatre and Creative Learning.
In 2005 I returned to Wales from London with my husband to live in Penarth and raise our three children.
In 2008 I founded Omidaze (Oh My Days!)Productions www.omidaze.co.uk with the express purpose of using theatre to empower, inform & entertain new audiences, shake stuff up & inspire positive social change. As Artistic Director and Executive Producer I have created, directed and produced many projects including four sell out and critically acclaimed full productions, three as co-productions with the Wales Millennium Centre.
I am also an Associate Artist of Wales Millennium Centre, Theatr Iolo and Artis Community and a Clore Fellow and an experienced board member having been a former Trustee of Chapter Arts Centre and Cardiff, AWEN Bridgend Cultural Trust. I was also a member of the former Welsh Deputy Minister for Culture Arts Policy Forum.
In 2013 my life was transformed when I was selected to be the Arts Council of Wales Clore Fellow 2013/14 and embarked on the highly prestigious year long intensive leadership programme for the cultural sector www.cloreleadership.org where I was mentored by Jude Kelly OBE.
In 2016 I was named one of Wales’ most influential women in theatre and in 2017 was Nominated for the Welsh Diversity Campaigner of the Year Award http://www.welshdiversityawards.co.uk/ and Shortlisted for the Chwarae Teg’s Creative Industries Woman of the Year 2017 https://www.cteg.org.uk/womenspire-17/womenspire-2017-finalists/ .
Eventually the noise of people telling me to ‘go into politics’ grew so deafening that I had to listen. I pledged to become a member of the party I had always supported and became an active member of the Labour Party in 2014. I campaigned for both the 2015 and 2017 General Elections and in between stood and was elected as a Labour Councillor for Penarth Town Council in 2017. In 2018 I was selected for the Labour Future Candidates Programme and on Sept 8 2019 I was delighted to be selected as the Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Monmouth. I will lead a campaign of Hope, Compassion, Dignity and Unity where all voices are heard. Get Involved. Get in Touch. It’s #Time4Change
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