Following a highly competitive application process, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Jennifer Smith as RicNic's first Executive Director.
Jennifer commenced her role at the beginning of January and brings a huge amount of experience, passion and talent to RicNic. Previously, Jennifer spent 10 years working for the Lichfield Festival in Staffordshire (initially as Learning & Participation Manager before moving on to become Executive Director). During her time at the Lichfield Festival, she set up the highly successful ASPIRE Learning programme, bringing multi-arts participation projects to thousands of children, young people and adults. She was also instrumental in the development of the overall Festival programme and positioning within the sector. Working as part of a small team, she produced two annual Festivals featuring the best international performers and emerging artists from across the arts. Jennifer has a wide experience of working with both traditional and alternative venues, producing concerts, plays, community parades and special events. She also brings with her skills in graphic design, marketing and fundraising.
The power of the arts to engage and inspire has always been at the heart of Jennifer’s career. Prior to joining the Lichfield Festival, Jennifer worked as a freelance drama and musical theatre facilitator in schools, colleges and community organisations across the West Midlands; working with participants aged from three years old up to adult with a diverse range of backgrounds, abilities and experiences. She also fundraised for and established her own local Theatre Academy offering drama training to young people and adults without the means to afford larger stage school fees.
Jennifer has a 2.1 BA in French from Oxford University and performed herself at the Old Fire Station (our RicNic Oxford venue) as a student.
Commenting on her appointment, Jennifer said: 'I am thrilled to be joining RicNic at such an exciting time in its development. The passion and enthusiasm from all involved across the current branches is infectious and I feel very honoured to be welcomed into the RicNic family. I am looking forward to sharing ideas with current participants and alumni, to developing new partnerships and establishing new branches which will extend the RicNic offer to a wider audience.'
Jennifer will be supported by our part-time Projects and Production Manager, Alex Finlay - and we couldn't be more excited about where the next few years might take us. RicNic's core message remains the same - we are, and always will be, a genuine youth theatre company and unique social enterprise where young people really do get to run the show - but our new team will help the charity to continue to expand and improve, pushing us in new and exciting directions, and giving more participants the chance to have their own RicNic experience.