The Team

picture of woman looking a bit embarrassed

Sandra Hall | Co-Director and Lead Artist

Born in Kenya, Sandra’s early career was grounded in performing in theatre, TV and film before coming to Birmingham in 1990 for a two-year stint with Geese Theatre, performing in 120 prisons across the UK and Ireland. Sandra has trained with the likes of Philippe Gaulier, Augusto Boal, Prapto Suryodarmo, Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Jonathan Kay and is an accomplished actor, director and deviser of performance in all its many forms. Alongside Lee she initiates, devises and develops Friction’s projects, as well as fundraising, managing projects and people and ensuring everything’s on track. Sandra grew up ligging her way around the original punk and new wave scene in late 70s/early 80s London and has a treasure trove of stories from that time

Lee Griffiths | Co-director and Lead Artist

‘Proper Brummie’ Lee’s early career was nothing if not eclectic. Including running his own tropical fish shop business at age 17, spending several years as a commercial scuba diver, becoming a qualified nursery nurse, a farm labourer and finally an audio-visual engineer – his wide experience has stood him in good stead to work in the responsive environment that Friction’s work creates. Lee, like Sandra, is responsible for the decision-making and development side of Friction’s output and in addition is an all-round maker, handyman and techie, and Friction’s one man IT Crowd.

Simon Walker

Simon has worked with Friction as an artist, performer, graphic artist, video artist for nearly 20 years. He has worked with us regularly on our international arts projects and is one of our closest collaborators. As a creative catalyst, Simon has worked across, through, with, along and inside most of our projects – he’s part of and contributes to our DNA.

Marcus Belben | Projects Manager

Marcus Belben came to Birmimgham in 1996.  He specialises in archives & heritage, creative learning, stories, wild art and green willow sculpture. He founded and has been the School Archivist at Paganel Archives, the first and only ARCHON registered repository archive in a State Primary School,since it started in 2012.  He is co-founder of People’s Heritage Co-operative, and initiated Playing Out in Birmingham 2013 – opening Streets for Play, with longtime collaborator, John Hill-Daniel as Spacemakers.He also ikes to do things with Woodcraft FolkShades of Black and other people in community gardens and green spaces in Birmingham.    07511 482528

Manon Evans portrait

Manon Evans | Company Administrator

Having moved from Wales to Birmingham to study History at University, Manon has spent her time supporting a variety of arts and heritage organisations with her administration and organisational skills.

While in Birmingham, she has worked at Moseley Road Baths as the administration and reception Co-ordinator and the Lapworth Museum, as a front of house receptionist. She’s also supported a number of community archive projects and libraries in South Wales.

Ebrahim Nazier | Technical and Design Manager

Ebrahim Nazier is an architectural designer, musician, filmmaker and seamster who emigrated to England from South Africa in 2011. A life-long interest in design, and experience of building whilst growing up in the Cape Flats near Cape Town, started him on the path to studying Architectural Technology. Graduating with an award in design, Ebrahim spent a decade working in commercial, industrial and residential architecture in Cape Town, London and Birmingham.

Ebrahim works across disciplines including theatre and installation work.  He has been Head of Technical Design and Workshops at Birmingham Repository Theatre, and also worked with Cloud Cuckoo,Land, Hazel Sealeaf,.and as a musician Ebrahim plays guitar in Into Zoetrope and performed as bassist with Soundboard and Inclement Quartet.

Becky Woodcock | MMM Project Manager

Becky is a freelance Arts Producer based in Birmingham. Her practice focuses on producing a portfolio of talent development & engagement programmes alongside one-off projects and festivals. She seeks to forge long-lasting personable and authentic relationships with artists, communities and partners, which enable the nurturing & empowerment of artists at all stages of their creative life, break down barriers and offer the support to reach their full potential.

Alongside her work for Friction Arts, other roles include managing the Furthering Talent programme for Severn Arts, producing the Jerwood Jazz Encounters artist development programme for Cheltenham Jazz Festival and producing the year-round programme for Surge Forward Music and Arts CIC. Previous roles have included work with Town Hall Symphony Hall, EFG London Jazz Festival, Fierce Festival and Birmingham Weekender.

Karla Hunter | Finance Officer

Karla has been with Friction since 2011. Coming from a corporate finance background she ensures Friction’s finances are on track and that our artists are always paid on time. When not at work, she indulges in cage fighting and hand to hand combat (not really, just trying to make sure Friction gets paid on time, too).

Natalie Mason | MMM Creative Director

Natalie is a classically-trained musician and ethnomusicologist, currently undertaking a PhD at Birmingham Uni, using the MMM programme as a focus. When she’s not changing the way music is taught in schools she also plays in a number of musical outfits including Kamera Obscura (with Atsuko Kamura), Into the Zoetrope and regularly guesting across whole range of Birmingham’s music scene.

Other people

Friction Arts also works regularly with over 20 freelance artists, technicians and other experts. Together, we produce high-quality, risk-taking work, whatever the context. There’s far too many to list here, but thanks to all of you.

The Board

As well as Lee and Sandra, we have a diverse board including:

 Tyrone Huggins – Tyrone is an actor, director and writer, regularly appearing across the country and on your television screen. He’s been a campaigner for diversity in the arts for the past 30 years or so, and continues to influence the sector at all levels.

Chair Janet Hetherington – Janet is a teacher and academic who has specialised in the arts in the education and health sectors. Janet supports Friction, particularly around keeping us up to date with current safeguarding practices.

Gemma Dhami – Gemma is Museums Learning Manager for Worcester Museums and is a great source of information on arts and heritage practice.

Mark Webster – Formerly leading the community arts course at Staffs Uni, Mark is a veteran community artist, currently based in Walsall who organises many projects and events for Caldmore Community Gardens.

Michael Mihoc – Michael is an actor, writer and director who also co-founded Coventry’s ‘Fridays’ Club – an initiative by young people to help other young people at risk of being involved in knife crime through making art and performance projects together. Michael is the youngest member of the board at 21.