About The Trustees - Upswing

Akua Obeng-Frimpong (Chair)

Akua Profile image

Akua is a Producer. She established, Kind Productions in 2012 and has recently completed ‘Rachel’ (written & directed by Karen Anstee) though her biggest success to date is, ‘Roxanne’ (2015), Written & Directed by Paul Frankl), enabled by Absolut Vodka and screened at festivals including: East End Film Festival, Rhode Island Film Festival, Queens World Film Festival and Palm Springs International ShortsFest.

Akua was previously Head of Business Development for Zealous, connecting with companies in the creative and commercial industries, identifying opportunities for delivering services, as well as developing new projects to grow the company’s network. She produced Zealous X (2013), a 3 day event at Bargehouse Oxo Tower Wharf and she has helped several creative organisations access talent online including: Edge of Arabia, FloatArt, InShort Film Festival, Upswing and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Trained in Performing Arts, Akua developed her appreciation for having a ‘birds eye view’ on creative process through studying Arts Administration and a career which evolved via Project Co-ordinator to General Manager, through several arts organisations (C Venues, BAC, IWF, Central School of Speech & Drama, Watermans), eventually becoming Administrative Director of Kazzum, producing touring theatre for children and young people.

Akua enjoys the challenges of developing a new business and is passionate about fostering new and diverse opportunities and projects.


Kate Barraball


Head of Finance at the National Theatre, Kate joined Upswing in June 2015 as Treasurer. She previously worked as Production Accountant for Act Productions and as Management Accountant for Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.






Claire Hodgson (MBE)


Claire Hodgson is a theatre/dance director and academic .Claire is founder and CEO/artistic director of Diverse City which specialises in creating exceptional performances that profile the abilities of diverse groups. In 2011 Diverse City received an Unlimited commission to deliver Breathe – an international project between Brazil and Dorset that brought together young disabled people to perform at the opening celebrations of the Olympic sailing events to an audience of 11,000. Since Nov 2012 Claire has been co artistic director with Billy Alwen (Cirque Bijou) of Extraordinary Bodies – the UK’s only integrated circus company.  Claire created ‘Come Dance with Me’ for Big House Festival Dublin 2013 -a ballroom spectacular where all performers had learning disabilities.

Claire was a Clore Fellow in 2012 and writes for Guardian culture professionals
She is former head of Performing Arts at London Metropolitan University and lives in Dorset with her daughter and partner.


Angus MacKechnie


Executive Director at ISAN. Prior to that Angus worked at the National Theatre in London for over thirty years, serving under five different Directorships and running a wide variety of projects, largely related to audience engagement. He became Producer and Programmer of two National Theatre departments: the Watch This Space Festival of Outdoor Arts and entertainment and the Platform programme of talks, debates, playreadings and interviews. He produced the NT2000 project, which charted 100 years of English-speaking theatre; the NT50 series, marking the theatre’s fiftieth anniversary and wrote and co-directed the gala for Laurence Olivier’s centenary. As an interviewer he charied events with, amongst many others, Judi Dench, Alan Bennett, Fiona Shaw, Nicholas Hytner, Frances de la Tour and Marianne Elliott. In 2004 he received the Rayne Award for his services to the company. He undertook the Performing Arts Consortium Fellowship on the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme in 2014, undertaking a secondment with People United with mentoring by David Lan and Genista McIntosh. He is a Life Coach, having qualified with Relational Dynamics in 2015.


Lisa Marie Trump

Lisa Marie Trump b&wLisa has worked in the arts for 19 years including many years as a costume designer, as Director of a theatre company, and currently as Chief Executive of the UK Centre for Carnival Arts.  In more recent years, across the creative industries and arts education sector, Lisa has been responsible for project development, strategic planning, business development and creative partnerships. Lisa’s work in the performing arts has included design, project management and producing across a wide range of disciplines such as dance, circus, theatre, young people’s shows, film and television; and has included work on the Cultural Olympiad’s Unlimited Festival; and work at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Laban, and the disability-led arts organisation: Shape

Sharna Jackson

Fiona Greenhill

Head of Technical and Production at the Roundhouse, London. Fiona is an experienced senior theatre manager with a strategic mindset. She has 15 years of company management and stage management experience in the UK and Europe followed by over 5 years in a senior role managing technical, front of house and buildings teams.
Fiona has in depth experience of working with access, sustainability and customer care within the arts.



Deborah Sawyerr


Deborah is currently Executive Director at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. Previously Deborah was General Manager at the Bush Theatre and Executive Director at Talawa Theatre Company. Prior to Talawa, Deborah was the Production Manager at Nottingham Playhouse and Palace Theatre Watford. Predating this, Deborah has worked as Stage Manager and Deputy Stage Manager with Theatre Royal Stratford East and a range of touring theatre companies including Graeae Theatre Company. Deborah has also taught as Senior Stage Management Tutor on the Stage Management and Technical Theatre Diploma at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Deborah also has a range of experience in Event Management on corporate and public events. She has a diploma in Life Coaching and is a certified Prince2 practitioner. She is currently a board member at Upswing and the Mercury Theatre, Colchester.