Arts Derbyshire


A warm welcome to LEVEL Centre’s new board members

Level Centre are delighted to welcome four new members to its board: Omar Khan, Ness Brooks, Rebecca Brown and Julie Usherwood.

LEVEL is a combined arts centre in Rowsley that aims to ‘Celebrate the Art that Difference Makes’. It works with learning disabled adults, disabled creatives and the wider community. With the introduction of new board members, the board is now representative of the varied communities that LEVEL serves.

The board oversees the strategic direction of the charity and plays a crucial role in making new connections and building a future where LEVEL will not just thrive, but become pioneers in its field. The board is working towards a more inclusive way of conducting meetings and disseminating information across the team. The new board members are:

Ness Brooks: Artistic Director and CEO of LGBT and disability-led theatre company Separate Doors, Ness has over 25 years of experience in theatre as a playwright, director, producer and strategic leader. She is the creator of the Silent Approach, a non-verbal rehearsal room method supporting the inclusion of learning disabled and neuro-divergent actors. The ‘little’ sister of a woman with Downs Syndrome, she is an advocate for equality of opportunity for actors and people with learning disabilities.

Omar Khan: As a director, facilitator and writer based in the Midlands, Omar’s process is centred around collaboration and experimentation. His work engages marginalised communities and enables conversations around topics including death, identity, and spirituality. An alumnus of Birmingham REP’s Foundry scheme and Tamasha’s Directors Programme, he is also an Associate Artist and tutor at both  Derby Theatre and Hubbub Theatre.

Rebecca Brown and Julie Usherwood are both learning disabled theatre participants with Meander Theatre. They are supported in their role as LEVEL board members by Laura Guthrie, Director of Meander Theatre. Meander is an East Midlands based company creating opportunities within theatre practice for people with learning disabilities.

Rebecca said: “I want to be part of the Level Board , it will be a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge of disability art groups. I will enjoy being part of Level, it’s so different to anything I have seen before & there are so many different artists that use this space. I also love how diverse the work is that Level produces,the work is by disabled people which shows everyone is capable and Level like to promote this.”

Julie said: “I feel complimented to have been asked, I appreciate  they asked me . I like the building , it reminds me of the British Library in its character. I enjoy the exhibitions at Level and how they provide arts opportunities for disabled adults and children from the local area. I think it’s most important that disabled people are included in arts groups.”

The new board members will join the existing Chair Stuart Allen who is the senior producer at Derby Theatre, along with Jessica Ashley, Lydia Leaf, Joseph Marshall and Dave Wheeler.

For more information about the work of LEVEL and its team, visit the LEVEL Centre website:

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