Louise Blackwell


I am a freelance, independent producer with over 25 years’ experience of working in the arts. I have passion and skills for creating accessible and inspiring environments where creative workers, participants and audiences can encounter and create extraordinary arts experiences.

To me, being a producer means I get excited by new and unusual creative ideas that have the potential to make the world a better place and then try and make them happen. These ideas are usually ones that creative professionals have.

I’m interested in how creativity can have a positive impact on different people and places and in supporting creative workers to make their best work possible.

I love working with artists but also scientists, technicians, production managers, researchers, architects, councils, business leaders, teachers – anyone who is willing to collaborate and make an initial idea better by working together. I’m passionate about ensuring creative opportunities are available to people from all sorts of backgrounds. I am as happy working outdoors on a shopping parade in Crawley to large scale venues like Sadler’s Wells in London or other arts spaces like UCLAN in Preston and across cities and towns in locations like art galleries, museums, helicopters, parks, schools and on boats. Whatever’s the best way for the ideas to meet an audience and I’m interested in creative acts that combine forms.

My three main jobs at the moment are with LOOKOUT Brighton, Creative Crawley and Crawley’s Creative Playground.

LOOKOUT Brighton helps young people unleash their potential, increase self-esteem, and build resilience through high quality creative experiences otherwise unavailable to them. We are working towards future generations of happier, motivated people inspired by a sense of possibility. in 2018 I co-founded the company with Charlotte Vivian and James Barton and since then we have worked in partnership with six primary schools in Brighton & Hove and Crawley, BHASVIC Sixth Form College, GB MET, Brighton Festival and Dome, local charities and internationally renowned artists to achieve our vision. Find out more here.

Following a public consultation by Crawley Borough Council in 2019 that I led, I mobilised a group of local arts, community and business leaders and raised money to build new partnerships, present and produce festivals, performances, public art, workshops and other arts events in the town. I founded Creative Crawley CIO in 2021. Find out more here.

I’m also Project Co-Director with Crawley’s Creative Playground , Crawley’s Creative, People and Places programme funded by Arts Council England where local people decide on what arts and culture they want to make and see in their town.

I have a long-standing Associate Producer role with Clod Ensemble and since 2018 I have been a board member for the South East Area Council with Arts Council England and remain so until 2024.

From 2020 – 2022 I co-founded the Brighton & Hove ABCD Cultural Recovery Programme (ABCD) which evolved through a common ambition to counteract the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the cultural sector in Brighton & Hove. It was also fuelled by a need to act to address longer-term inequalities in the sector and society. As one of the leaders of the initiative I oversaw 25 new commissions, 24 events and 48 workshops that reached 435 participants and over 12k audiences. This created paid work for over 300 local freelance creatives and we raised over £500k for the programme and has created a new model for a collective voice for the sector in the City. More info here

From 2017 – 2022 I was a Director and then Trustee of Marlborough Productions, the leading queer-led, intersectional arts organisation in Brighton & Hove, who in 2022 were awarded National Portfolio status by Arts Council England. From 2017 to 2022 I was Co-Chair of What Next for Culture in Brighton & Hove. From 2019 – 2021 I was Interim Chair and Trustee of The Old Market Charitable Trust in Hove, guiding them through the process of starting their charitable activity.

Other freelance roles have included: Associate Producer with Fevered Sleep (following ten years of working with them at Fuel) ● Executive Producer for Brighton People’s Theatre ● Producer for Melanie Wilson and Andy Smith (following 10 years of working with them at Fuel).

Training and mentoring includes: Producing Mentor Jaz Woodcock-Stewart/Civilisation ● Workshops for Derby Theatre and In Good Company’s Big House project, The Place, London and HOME, Manchester ● presentations for Chichester University ● mentoring for Marlborough Productions and Darkfield.

in 2004, I co-founded producing company Fuel, with Sarah Golding and Kate McGrath and led it from a small start-up in a cupboard at Battersea Arts Centre, London that employed two people, to an established UK producing organisation and charity with an average £1 million turnover, a full time staff team of 11 and regular, long term funding from Arts Council England, The Wellcome Trust and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Over 13 years I co-led the organisation to produce over 120 projects in over 70 places around the UK and beyond for over 380,000 people. In that time Fuel supported the artistic development of 79 artists or companies, produced five festivals, four films, 36 podcasts, an app, nine play texts and three books. I was Co-Director until July 2017 when I became an independent producer.

From 2001 – 2004 I was Senior Producer at Battersea Arts Centre, London and before that I was Producer for touring company Brighton Theatre Events.

Image credit: James Pike Photography