Hearts & Minds is delighted to announce that Suzie Ferguson has been appointed as Artistic Director. Suzie is currently a Senior Practitioner with Hearts & Minds, which she joined in 2010 after training at clown school in Barcelona. She is a respected practitioner, performer and a highly skilled hospital clown. She will take over as Artistic Director in January 2018 as Hearts & Minds enters its 21st anniversary and she will lead the creative and artistic development of the Clowndoctor and Elderflower Programmes founded by previous Artistic Director Magdalena Schamberger.
Michelle Armstrong, CEO of Hearts & Minds said of Suzie’s appointment:
The caliber of candidates for the Artistic Director was exceptionally high and attracted applicants from all around the U.K. We would like to thank everyone that took the time to apply for the position.
Suzie brings a great deal of passion, knowledge, commitment and experience to her new role. She is not only an exceptionally talented artist in her own right but she has also shown that she is a remarkable artistic leader.
I am very much looking forward to working in partnership with Suzie and I am excited about the future opportunities for Hearts and Minds.
Suzie Ferguson said:
It is a total privilege and honour to take the artistic lead of Hearts & Minds, an organisation that I care so deeply about, and a team of such highly skilled and wonderful clowns. I feel exhilarated and so excited for the future of the organisation; it is amazing how far saying ‘yes’ and following your passion can get you! From my first day at clown school in Barcelona in 2006, I knew that clowning would be my life. I immediately understood it to be a unique art form in its ability to make positive and meaningful connections with people from all walks of life. I didn’t dare dream that 11 years later I would be taking the artistic reigns from our founder and Artistic Director of nearly 21 years, Magdalena Schamberger, but I am delighted, and can’t wait to get started in January.
Zoe van Zwanenberg, Chair of the Board of Trustees said:
“The Board of Hearts and Minds are delighted to be able to announce the appointment of Suzie Ferguson as the new Artistic Director of Hearts and Minds. Suzie is a truly worthy successor to Magdalena, our founding Artistic Director, having herself been one of our brilliant practitioners for the past seven years. Suzie brings this wealth of experience of the work to the role but in addition to that she brings her own creative talents as a multi skilled artist and her great knowledge of the whole world of therapeutic clowning which she has been exploring through her travels and study as a Winston Churchill Fellow and her work as a senior practitioner within the company. Suzie will ensure that the company and the clowns grow and develop whilst holding the core values of the company at the centre of all we do.”
Suzie graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in Hispanic Studies in 2004. In 2006 she moved to Barcelona to pursue a secret desire to train as a clown. After an introductory course she spent the next 2 years street performing on The Ramblas developing a successful clown/magic act.
In 2008 she returned to Scotland and joined Modo, a theatre company specialising in large scale community engagement projects and social circus as a Workshop Leader and Project Co-ordinator.
Her love of clowning and in particular her sense that clown can be the perfect medium for honest communication and connection, as well as humour, continued to grow. After more training, she co-devised and performed SICK, a solo clown show exploring the experiences of being sick and in hospital through the eyes of a clown, with Martin Danziger and was nominated for a CATS award for best female performance in 2010.
In the same year she joined the Hearts & Minds team and trained first as a Clowndoctor and then as Elderflower. She became a Senior Practitioner, and works in Children’s Hospitals, Hospices, Respite Centres and Dementia Units across Scotland as her alter egos, Dr Maybee and Bonnie Elderflower. Suzie was also part of the creative team for Curious Shoes, the bespoke performance devised and created by Magdalena Schamberger for people living with dementia.
With Tenterhooks, she has co-devised and performed in Call of Nature, Werewomen and The Weird Sisters.
In 2016 she was awarded a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship to research Best Practices in the Integration of Hospital Clowns into Healthcare Environments.
Image: Eoin Carey