Lead Artists Co-Creative Directors
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.
Richard Bromhall | Operations Coordinator and Producer
Richard is an arts producer born and raised in Longbridge. He joined us in 2020 after spending ten years working with young people in schools and colleges in Nottingham. In parallel to that work, he was a project manager for several arts projects, including Journey to Justice: Nottingham, a city-wide campaign to raise the profile of the city’s social justice struggles, Movements, and the Big City Reads project with Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, where he developed his passion for making arts work with and about working-class people in the Midlands.
In his current role, he supports Lead Artists to deliver projects, fundraises, and contributes to the smooth running of Friction Arts.
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).
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.
Heather Wilson | Art Club Lead Artist
Heather Wilson has worked with Friction Arts since 2013 and started her current role as Art Club’s Lead Artist in 2020. She has developed her creative practice by working on our programmes, and a major part of her theoretical approach was influenced by feminist artists who draw on their own experience to inform their art work, such as Nan Goldin, and ecotheological theorists, such as Sallie McFague. These thinkers inform her approach to her own artwork and how she leads the Art Club programme.
Heather is also busy working on other projects at Friction Arts and across Birmingham. She leads and delivers Arts Award for us, was selected by Arts Connect as a Lead Teacher for the British Art Show 9 in 2020, and she is also a Visual Arts Educator with Mercurial Dance.
Sarah Kaur | Culture Club Lead Artist
Sarah is a trailblazing artist and has a wide-ranging background in art, including fashion, textiles, performance and making exhibitions. Sarah has had no problem working creatively while also celebrating her extensive cultural influences, which informs her creative approach.
Sarah has worked with Friction Arts on several of its signature projects, including Multicultural Music Making, Walking Over Coals, and most recently, Quiet Carnival. She is currently working in collaboration with Friction Arts on delivering her latest project: Culture Club.
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.
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.
Mia Walters | Placement Student
Mia Walters is an Applied Theatre (community and education) student at Birmingham City University and is currently doing a 5-week placement with Friction. She has. background in dance and amateur dramatics. Mia grew up in a small village in the Black Country where she often felt like an outsider and after joining her amateur dramatic groups and taking part in school musicals, she realised that her passion lief in acting and creating theatre. Her parents are foster parents who combined with her love of theatre led to Mia wanting to create radical change using the arts.
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.
As well as Lee and Sandra, we have a diverse board including:
Chair 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.
Treasure 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 19.