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Area Creative Coordinators

Area Creative Coordinators work across the Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s programme areas to connect, activate, develop and sustain dance and cultural activity with communities of people living with Parkinson’s. Area Creative Coordinators, alongside their steering group, also champion and advocate for the project in their location.

Meet our Area Creative Coordinators by clicking on their names below:

Andrea Barzey, Area Creative Coordinator in Birmingham & West Midlands

Andrea is a dance educator, artist, leader and project manager with a wealth of experience of working across the dance sector, particularly within Higher Education. Previously Andrea has held leadership roles at Coventry University as Associate Head of Performing Arts for Student Experience and Recruitment, as Course Director for MA Collaborative Theatre Making, and as Course Director for BA (hons) Dance.  She has more recently held the role of Programme Leader for MA/BA Dance at Dance City in Newcastle.   

Other roles include Project Director for Coventry Dance CIC, a strategic dance organisation with and for the dance communities of Coventry, and is currently a board member.   

In 2022, Andrea was appointed as Head of Widening Participation and Recruitment at London Contemporary Dance School.

For further information about the Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s programme in Birmingham & West Midlands, please contact Andrea Barzey – Area Creative Coordinator:

Andrea Barzey. Image credit: Selfie
Lissie Connor, Area Creative Coordinator in Newcastle upon Tyne and the North East of England

Lissie is a dance producer and cultural events coordinator dedicated to supporting artists and independent events to deliver diverse, high-quality projects to communities across the UK. Based across the North East, Lissie produces cultural projects focusing on developing wider community participation.

Originally trained as a dance artist at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Lissie has over 13 years of experience in performance, teaching and community development specialising in mature bodies, participatory development, and inclusive dance practice.

“As Area Creative Coordinator for the North East, I am delighted to be working with People Dancing for Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s. In recent months there has been a lot going on our area!

Our first Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s event took place at Dance City in Newcastle in January as part of the INSPIRE Festival. Participants were invited to a taster dance session and discussion workshop for people living with Parkinson’s and their companions as part of Dance City’s Festival celebrating dance and ageing.

In April, we are thrilled to bring together a newly assembled group of community dancers living with Parkinson’s who will be working with a North East-based choreographer. Together, participants and choreographer will create a new work, which will be performed as part of Hadrian’s Wall 1900 Festival in July and which will also be captured on film.

Alongside this, there will be a wider mass participation opportunity as part of the Hadrian’s Wall event. Groups wishing to take part in the North East area will have access to a digital dance tutorial followed by an invite to perform at a soon to be confirmed location along the wall. Look out for more information about this event and the performance at Hadrian’s Wall soon!”

For further information about the Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s programme in the North East, please contact Lissie Connor – Area Creative Coordinator:

Image credit: Lissie Connor. Photo: Selfie.

Josie Hepplewhite, Area Creative Coordinator in Manchester/Greater Manchester

Josie is a participatory dance artist, living in Manchester and working across the Northwest in community, theatre, education and health contexts. She is currently working part time at Cheshire Dance as their Dance Development Artist, as well as freelance with organisations across the region. Examples of current projects include The Art Of Resilience, exploring with small groups of KS2 children how creativity can impact wellbeing at Manchester Art Gallery, Movement Matters, a research project at University of Central Lancashire with young families as well as being a member The Arts and Trauma Network, a Greater Manchester community of practice exploring arts and trauma.

With a background in contemporary dance, she more recently studied for an MA in Dance and Somatic Wellbeing at the University of Central Lancashire where her research enquiry focused on how dance can foster a sense of self-authority. Improvisation and creativity are central to her practice which is informed by Authentic Movement, experiential anatomy and working collaboratively across art forms.

Josie says of her new role within Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s...

"I am so excited to be joining the Live Well team as Area Creative Coordinator for Greater Manchester! Having closely followed the development of the programme, and as part of the artists training cohort of 2021, I can’t wait to be a part of nurturing and developing the programme across the Greater Manchester area."

For further information about the Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s programme in Manchester/Greater Manchester, please contact Josie Hepplewhite – Area Creative Coordinator:

Image credit: Josie Hepplewhite. Photo: Selfie

Sarah Stone, Area Creative Coordinator in Bristol and surrounding areas

Sarah is a community dance artist based in Bristol and facilitates dance for a range of ages and abilities in Bristol, North Somerset, Gloucestershire and beyond. Sarah completed her degree in Contemporary Dance at Bath Spa University and has built a portfolio career as a performer and teacher. Sarah is passionate about the benefits of dance for overall health and for everyBODY. Sarah is an inclusive dance teacher at Flamingo Chicks, a multi-award-winning charity that gives disabled children and adults the opportunity to engage with dance and movement. Sarah has facilitated dance for people aged 1-90 across many settings including schools, youth companies, care homes, village halls and festivals to name a few!  

“I am so excited to be joining the Live Well and Dance with Parkinson's team! After completing my artist training in 2021 and leading weekly sessions in partnership with Stroud Council, I am delighted to become the Area Creative Coordinator for Bristol (& Surrounds) to support the programme to grow and develop!” 

For further information about the Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s programme in Bristol and the surrounding areas, please contact Sarah Stone – Area Creative Coordinator:

Image credit: Sarah Stone. Photo: Selfie
Susie Tate, Area Creative Coordinator in Cumbria (North Carlisle)

Susie is a dance artist working in health and wellbeing in North Cumbria. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dance, she has  worked with leading dance company education units including English National Ballet, The Place, The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Candoco as director of the pioneering Foundation Course for disabled dancers.  
From 2009 until 2011, when living In New Zealand, Susie set up the education unit for the country's leading inclusive dance company, Touch Compass. 
She now deliver projects with people living with physical and mental health conditions in community and acute settings and am particularly interested in how the arts can support people when living with or recovering from an illness. Her creative approach is to allow people to find their own way into moving to create new landscapes and new stories – dances that feel ‘just right’ for that given moment.  

For further information about the Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s programme in Cumbria (North Carlisle), please contact Susie Tate – Area Creative Coordinator:

Image credit: Susie Tate. Photo: Graeme Boxwell.

Sallie Varnam, Area Creative Coordinator in Leicester/Shire

Sallie is a freelance development consultant, producer, project manager and evaluator working in the field of arts and health. Sallie works with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Leicestershire NHS Partnership Trust to develop strategic programmes of arts and heritage-based work in collaboration with a range of partner organisations that return positive wellbeing outcomes for staff and patients...

"The programme has really taken off over the past few months due to connections being made with a range of organisations. The programme in Leicester/Shire is supported by a strong steering group, which includes representation from the University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Leicester City Council, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Parkinson’s UK and individuals living with Parkinson’s.

Our first pilot has been delivered in collaboration with the Hinckley branch of Parkinson’s UK, and has been a huge success, led by dance teaching artists Helen Stirland and Philly Rule. There is so much enthusiasm for the work Helen and Philly are doing with the group which combines dance with mim, story-telling and song based on music suggested by the group. There are many smiles, much laughter and a lot of progress…participants have said that the sessions are the highlight of their week…

Further pilots are planned in Loughborough, Belgrave and Highfields in partnership with Active Together Leicester/Shire and Rutland’s sports development network. I will be working across established arts and mental health networks with other locations to establish additional activity. The next phase of the programme will involve developing referral paths from hospital clinics, GP surgeries and forming links with local Parkinson’s UK groups in each of the pilot communities, before seeking additional funding to sustain the pilots and develop more groups across the locality."

For further information about the Live Well & Dance with Parkinson’s programme across Leicester/Shire please contact: Sallie Varnam – Area Creative Coordinator:

Image credit: Sallie Varnam. Photo: Selfie.