"I have a small print on my desk at home from the artist Veronica Dearly that is simple - Do what makes you happy. Otherwise WTF is the point of it all?"
What do you do?
Oh gosh! I am a Producer for Big Difference Company (BDC) working on a range of events/projects for the Leicester Comedy Festival (LCF) and The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival (TUKKCF).
I’ve also just started a new role as a Project Manager for 2Funky another wonderful arts company and I pick up some shifts at The Salmon (a beaut little
hidden gem of a pub).
I’m a keen advocate for inclusion so most of the projects/events I work on have this in mind. These currently include collaborations with local libraries, care homes and schools as well as other charities and organisations like Focus and ArtReach.
In my spare time you’ll find me roaming charity shops for second hand goodies (and raving about them on socials), shouting about small businesses, running around in circles, watching my beloved Liverpool FC on TV, at Welford Road supporting Leicester Tigers or discussing my latest adventures.
How did you get to where you are?
I grew up on the south coast and wanted to study fashion. After I’d got places at fashion school, I decided against it and was at a bit of a loss. Time was running out to escape the deepest depths of Dorset so after I typed ‘Festivals’ into the UCAS search bar, Arts and Festival Management at DMU appeared and 3 months later I moved to Leicester!
At uni I spent a lot of time networking, volunteering and working multiple jobs to fulfil my love of socialising, domestic travel and not writing my essays, but I did come out with a 2:1 degree and I’d fallen in love with the city, it’s people and cultural scene. I graduated almost five years ago and have worked in many roles both in and out of the field including Marketing Assistant, Student Experience Coordinator, Production Manager and picked up several temp/hospitality roles to fill the gaps in between fixed term contracts and being made redundant. I’ve been with BDC for a couple of years in my current role and have just started with 2Funky so excited to see where this path will take me…
Why do you love what you do?
I have a small print on my desk at home from the artist Veronica Dearly that is simple ‘Do what makes you happy. Otherwise WTF is the point of it all?’. Working in the arts makes me happy, I love people and I believe my job(s) make others happy too. I love being able to support people/organisations reach their potential through the arts whether that’s emerging comedians in a project for LCF or young people in a project for 2Funky. I’m also (not so) deep down a bossy boots who likes to be in control and I now can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s in my blood.
Leicester is very different from where I grew up (very little cultural diversity and
surrounded by the sea), but I quickly learnt it was an underrated, forgotten gem that I love. I was proud to welcome my home friends and family (my 70 something year old grandparents came and stayed with me in halls!) to the city and introduce them to the amazing people and opportunities it had bestowed upon me.
Leicester is diverse, artistic, full of creative people and has such a lovely independent community and now, because of the football, it’s recognised around the world too. I’ve learnt so much living here, I’ve met some incredibly special people and wherever I end up, Leicester will always hold a special place in my heart.
Right now, it’s all systems go for LCF and TUKKCF which are taking place remotely from 3-21 st February 2021, check out the socials below, browse the brochure online and join the mailing list to be kept up to date!
Most of my 2Funky projects are on hold, but they will resume when it’s possible, so keep an eye out on social for those too!
Personally, I’m launching an ethical loungewear brand this year called LeiLo & sleep, the idea has been a while in the making so I’m excited to really get my teeth into it! Also as soon as I can safely get on a train and plane, I will be off exploring again!
I’m always keen to make new connections and collaborations in work and personal settings so if any of this interests you come find me in my corner of the internet.
I learnt how to run by following Couch to 5K a few years ago and I can’t put into words how much it has helped me and my mental health in this past year. If you’ve been thinking about it or you’ve downloaded it but haven’t got round to starting yet, I wholeheartedly recommend it!
Also, I’ve fallen back in love with reading (I’m dyslexic so find it quite hard and it takes me a long time, but its worth it!). Current recommendations are: Jog On by Bella Mackie, Pause by Danielle North, The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Francis-White and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. I pick books by mainly following recommendations from people I trust or on topics I find interesting, next on my list is Attached by Dr Amir Levine and Rachel S.F Heller.
If you’re local and you’re not following Cool as Leicester, then I recommend you do that right away. On a similar note, support our local independent businesses, they’re not just for Christmas/summer/when we can sit inside! If you can afford it grab a coffee on your daily outing, order some beer, get a takeaway or
a gift for a loved one. If you can’t afford it give them a like on socials, share the posts with people who can and encourage friends and family to do the same!
My current faves:
Coffee/cake takeaway - Bitsy’s Emporium, Leicester Coffee House Company, Coffee Obsessive and the Tiny Bakery
Beer delivery - The Salmon
Food takeaway – Crafty Burger, Huns Vegan and Maurizio’s Pizza
Gifting – Faulty Stone, The Bloom Project, Lesser Than Three and Leicester Merch Aid
Instagram: @fernbeard | @Leicscomedyfest | @2funkyempire
Facebook: @fernbeard | @Leicscomedyfest | @2funkyempire
Twitter: @fernbeard | @Leicscomedyfest | @Kidscomedyfest | @2funkyempire