General information:
Submission of applications:
Submission of applications (for visual artists):

Press for the festival:  – Clare Jepson-Homer
Sponsors: Sadie Newman – +44 (0) 7813 774 157
International Partnerships: Miguel Oyarzun – +44 (0) 7806704413
Visual Arts / workshops: Isla Aguilar – +44 (0) 7985 153 647
Promoters / Best of BE: Porl Cooper – +44 (0) 7969068809
Learning & participation: Balisha Karra – +44 (0) 7968 625 803


BE FESTIVAL Board of Trustees – Joseph Seelig (Chair), James A. Cook, Jo Lee, Stuart Rogers, Sophia Tarr and Terri Halstead.

Isla Aguilar – co-director
+44 (0) 7985 153 647
Isla’s background is in curating and for more than 10 years she worked for exhibitions in Spain. She has also worked in publishing, as a project editor and coordinator of art books for Ediciones El Viso in Madrid.

She co-founded BE FESTIVAL with Miguel and Mike in 2010. In 2009 she co-founded Madrid based touring company Mirage Teatro, and has produced their three productions: LÁZARO (National tour, Teatro Español, Corral de Comedias de Alcalá); Quijotadas (Teatro Español, Corral de Comedias de Alcalá, Institut Française Madrid); and Quieto todo el mundo (Matadero Madrid / Escena Contemporánea Festival). From 2010-2011, she also worked as companies coordinator with CASA Latin American Theatre Festival in London.

Isla received an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths University of London in 2011. Previously, she graduated in History of Art at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Isla also completed research fellowships at the Academia de España in Rome and at Museo del Prado in Madrid, amongst others.

Miguel Oyarzun – co-director
+44 (0)780 670 4413
Miguel trained as an actor in Madrid. He then came to London where he studied physical theatre at LISPA. Stage credits in Spain include Miss Julie, The Shop Around the Corner and As You Like It. In England, he has performed for the CASA Latin-American Theatre Festival. Other stage credits include Up Side-Down, No Way Out, Pillow Talk and Babakas. He has also acted for film and TV in Spain, including Noviembre by Achero Mañas.

Miguel co-founded BE FESTIVAL in 2010 with Isla and Mike. he is artistic director of Mirage Teatro, founded in 2009 in Madrid. He co-wrote and performs in LÁZARO (National tour, Teatro Español, Corral de Comedias de Alcalá) and Quieto todo el mundo (Matadero Madrid / Escena Contemporánea Festival). In their last production Quijotadas, he wrote for and directed a group of African immigrants, drawing a parallel between their journeys to Europe and Don Quixote’s quest. Miguel combines his directing, playwright and acting career with leading theatre workshops internationally.

Mike Tweddle – co-founder

Mike was born in Birmingham and returned to the city in 2010 to co-found BE FESTIVAL with Isla and Miguel. He was a co-director until December 2014, and he collaborated to secure the festival’s Arts Council National Portfolio funding for 2015-18.

Mike studied at Oxford University and the Jacques Lecoq Theatre School in Paris. He is joint artistic director of Birmingham-based touring company Temple Theatre, for whom he directed and co-wrote the award-winning productions Out of Chaos, UNMYTHABLE and Norsesome. He is also a founding member of international theatre group Babakas, performing in their debut show Our Fathers. As a freelance director and dramaturg, Mike has worked with Shakespeare’s Globe, Theatre Ad Infinitum, Foster & Déchery and High Tide.

Sadie Newman – General Manager
+44 (0)7813 774 157
As the BE Festival General Manager Sadie is responsible for the development, implementation and management of the financial and operational structures and systems for BE FESTIVAL which support the directors, artistic programme and education work. 

Sadie has over 10 years’ experience of working in administration and operations in the arts and cultural sector in the West Midlands, most recently working in the education department at Warwick Arts Centre and supporting Fierce! Festival 2012 as their General Manager. Between 2007 – 2011 she was Operations Manager at Bright Space, the West Midlands delivery agency for the Creative Partnerships programme. Sadie has also worked in project management and operational roles at The Public in West Bromwich, Birmingham Arts Marketing and supported national Theatre in Education tours. 

Sadie is a born organiser and list mad and has a history of enabling the smooth running of cultural organisational offices across the region.

Atxarte López de Munain – Producer

Duncan Ballantyne – Producer
Originally from Scotland and now sharing his time between Birmingham, London and Glasgow, Duncan is a marketing specialist who spent his formative years working in the music industry at independent record labels and label services companies. He currently runs Ballantyne Communications, his own marketing and branding agency working with artists and organisations in the live arts and non profit sectors. He also runs a boutique UK based Peruvian record label and has worked with various festivals as a producer and in the PR and marketing function such as Edinburgh Fringe, The Big Chill, Funny in Falkirk, Reel Iraq & Reel Afghanistan (Highlight Arts), Rob Da Bank’s Bestival, Trad Fest and Back 2 Black Festival.

Ruth Harvey – Producer

Oli McCall – Assistant Producer
Following an MA in Art History at the University of Birmingham, Oli made his first foray into the arts working at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and the National Portrait Gallery, where he gained curatorial experience working on high-profile exhibitions.

Having wanted to work with festivals for some time Oli got the chance last year, when he joined Birmingham’s Flatpack Film Festival as Marketing Assistant. Following Flatpack, Oli joined the BE FESTIVAL team as Assistant Producer for Digital and Communities, working to develop BE’s digital presence by maintaining the organisation’s website and social media channels.

Oli is passionate about the arts community in Birmingham, and regularly attends exhibitions and arts happenings in the city. He writes for Birmingham-based arts and culture website Polaroids & Polar Bears, reviewing and promoting exhibitions in the city.

David Martin de Juan – Designer
David has gained experience working on branding and design, and has specialised in promoting festivals and cultural events. His design work in UK includes festivals such as Edinburgh FRINGE, Latin American Film Festival (LAFF); emerging theatre companies including Le Navet Bête and HICCUP; and Arts circuit Spinning Tongues by rotoreliefs. 

He has been awarded the Three Weeks’ Editors Awards 2008 for “La Sweet Cantina” and selected for D&AD Design Workshop 2009. As well as working as BE Festival’s designer he works as Inhouse designer for Unruly Media, Top Viral Video seeding agency based in London.

Jack Ratcliffe – Web Designer
Jack is a freelance consultant for web design and copywriting. He has worked in both the UK and the US, constructing websites and writing creative content for all ages. 

His portfolio includes development work on music website Beatcast.TV and, with copywriting appearing on both the internet and in printed form.

His portfolio website is available at

Porl Cooper – producer
Porl brings extensive experience to the team covering some 24 years in commercial theatre, subsidised repertory venues and large scale event work (primarily in stage & event management, producing and programming) and has worked on many technically complex and very demanding productions alongside highly respected creatives, professional and community companies. Having in-depth knowledge of current practice and contemporary companies, (new & emerging /mid- career) he lead the “Developed with The Lowry” initiative and co-founded the Routes North initiative with Annabel Turpin (ARC Stockton) and Iain Bloomfield (Theatre in the Mill Bradford) – which give emerging artists support, access to networks and facilitate new partnerships while demonstrating how smaller venues can work creatively and collaboratively.

Porl is also venue programmer for Slung Low’s HUB in Leeds, a venue which reflects and embraces many of BE FESTIVAL’s values.

Selina Losa – assistant producer

Catherine Butler – assistant producer