Welcome The Team – Say Hello to Daisy & Kevin

We’re very glad to be welcoming two new members to the Ideas Test team – Daisy Orton and Kevin Grist.

Daisy is our Assistant Producer who’ll be working alongside Creative Producer Jane Pitt to create and develop exciting things within the walls of No.34.

One of Daisy’s first tasks was helping Jane create the mountainous sculptural piece from Ted Hannaford’s World Record French Knitting.

Ideas Test’s Assistant Producer – Daisy Orton

Hi Daisy, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Yorkshire born and bred, but I have lived in Kent since I came down to go to university (a while ago now!). Then I fell in love with a Kentish chap and we settled in Faversham a few years ago.

I’ve been a theatre-maker, performer, producer, director, and workshop-leader for over 10 years. I run a theatre company called Accidental Collective. For the last six years I’ve been teaching at The University of Kent on its Drama and Theatre Studies degree. So, it’s been a beautifully wonky and unconventional career! I’ve also been a bookseller, a life model… I’ve dressed up as a turtle, a gorilla, and a Christmas elf! I’ve performed on high streets, beaches, in shop windows, and even – occasionally – in actual theatres!

How did you first hear about Ideas Test?

I first heard about Ideas Test when it was originally being set up. There was a lot of excited gossip in Faversham about it! I knew that Ideas Test would be a brilliant thing for Swale and Medway. It was also really nice to see the move to No 34.

What made you want to work at Ideas Test

I have been working for myself for a long time now, and I really wanted to an opportunity to work with a wider team of people. And the Ideas Test team is just brilliant! Also the organisation has a wide and diverse programme, so I knew I would get to work on a range of different projects – which keeps things varied and exciting!

As someone who lives in Swale what are your thoughts about the area?

One of the things I am looking forward to in my new role is getting to know Swale and Medway better. Despite living in Faversham, I’ve mainly worked in Canterbury up until now. So I am really excited about exploring the area and getting to know the people here too!

What have been your Swale & Medway arts & culture highlights?

That’s a great question! I adored Fuse Festival in Medway; it’s much missed. I also loved SOUP Festival that popped up in Faversham a few years ago, which was a fantastic day of street theatre that really enlivened the town (actually that happened through Ideas Test). I’m looking forward to the Swale Fusion Festival in Sittingbourne in October, organised by Cohesion+. I am also really fascinated by the history of Medway’s theatres and music halls – there were so many of them back in the day! I’m reading a really great book about it by Brian Joyce, called Dumbshow and Noise: Theatre, Music Hall and Cinema in the Medway Towns.

Many of the Ideas Test team are creatives, or artists themselves. What are your creative pursuits?

I am always collecting ideas for projects of one kind or another! I am really into listening to podcasts at the moment – they are always sparking creative ideas in my head. I really recommend The Guilty Feminist, Song Exploder, Mystery Show, S-Town… and so many more! I love reading too. And whenever I can I go to the theatre and exhibitions – in Kent and London. The Wellcome Collection in Euston is my favourite place to head to if I get the chance.

What do you hope to bring to the Ideas Test team?

Ooh… well, I hope that I am going to match – and add to – the energy, enthusiasm and creativity that’s already here. But so far, I seem to have mainly brought a lot of biscuits to the Ideas Test team!


Ideas Test’s Creative Producer (Music) – Kevin Grist

Kevin Grist, who some of you may already know from our Disquiet project with Musical Futures is our new Creative Producer for Music.

As well Disquiet Kevin has been working with Tania [rest of name] to bring Opera House Next Door workshops to No.34, as well as other music & performance open mic and taster session scheduled over the next few months and into 2018.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m originally from Brighton but now live in Rochester. I have a background working at Arts Council England as a Music Relationship Manager and I run my own producing company SPARKEDECHO. I teach at the British & Irish Modern Music Institute in London. I’ve worked on lots of community music projects including those with Glyndebourne Opera, AudioActive and Rhythmix. I’m also a musician!

How did you find out about Ideas Test?
I found out about Ideas Test whilst working at Arts Council England. I already knew our Director Steph and once I moved into the area I decided to come along to some of the arts events and eventually got more and more involved!

What made you want to work at Ideas Test?
I think Swale and Medway have a rich musical heritage and are particularly known for their DIY scene. I think Ideas Test, with local partners can encourage much more DIY music, more experimental programming and get people seeing music that they wouldn’t normally see. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that? We have good coffee too.

As someone who lives in Medway what are your thoughts about the area?
It’s an area on the up. I particularly love the riverside walks. Coming from Brighton where you literally fall out your front door into cultural activity, it can feel less obvious where you would go to see arts stuff here. But that is what gives us huge opportunity for thinking outside the box. There is a lot of great redevelopment going on such as in Strood Town Centre, which will make for great spaces to put on music or public art. The fast train line to London is also awesome – something Brighton can’t compare with!

What have been your Swale & Medway arts & culture highlights?
I have a thing for old buildings, namely churches and cathedrals. I love the acoustics and lighting. Rochester Cathedral is stunning and they put on great choral and orchestral music. I’d love to work on a project in there. University of Kent also has some amazing studio and acoustic spaces at the Dockyard Campus. When the Medway FUSE festival was one a couple of years back, there were some stunning street dance performances and circus, which really made me think differently about what’s possible in the area.

Many of the Ideas Test team are creatives, or artists themselves. What are your creative pursuits?
I’m a musician who plays keys, sings, composes and dables in digital production and I am also a graphic designer. I’m a big fan of Interpol, Laura Marling, Empire of The Sun and Fleetwood Mac and see as much live music as possible. As a side project, I am currently writing and recording an album. You will currently find me watching Stranger Things on Netflix.

What do you hope to bring to the Ideas Test team?
Coffee. Expertise in running community music projects, arts fundraising and building links to the music scene in Brighton, London and Canterbury. Did I mention coffee?