The Company

Frances Castle – Chief Executive

I was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire and moved to Newcastle to study for a BSc (Hons) Degree in Sociology and Social Research at Northumbria University. A variety of jobs followed, including a brief spell as Research Assistant for Northumbria Probation Service, before I ‘accidentally’ became involved in the arts, joining Theatre Station Blyth in 1992 as Co-Ordinator for the award winning Releasing Potential project. A Co-founder of Headway in January 1995, I became Director (and more recently Chief Executive) later that year. My strong belief that everyone is different and everyone is equal is the driving force behind Headway.

Alison Walton-Robson – Creative Director

A Headway Co-founder in 1995, presently responsible for the artistic direction of Headway, I understand the power of art to open up new worlds and aspire to make artistic excellence accessible to all people. Born in Blyth, Northumberland, I love my northern heritage. I Studied Fine Art Foundation & Textiles at Cumbria Institute of the Arts and later Creative & Performing Arts BA(Hons) at University of Northumbria. During 27 years solid professional practice I have worked nationally & internationally as a freelance performer, visual artist, educator, designer, projects manager, drama facilitator and theatre director. Having chosen to base my art within a community context I thrive on creating projects with and inspired by eclectic groups.

Past commissions/collaborations have included: Theatre Station Blyth, Jack Drum Arts, Live Theatre, Welfare State International, Boris Howarth, London Shape, Equal Arts, Laing Gallery, Northgate Arts Project, MidNag, DC Productions, Scope and Edinburgh International Children’s Festival.

Paul Denton – Development Coordinator

I began my creative journey developing a community film cooperative which led to working for an independent film production company which led to taking a degree in Media Production at the University of Newcastle where I mostly studied script-writing. I was then lured into community arts, raising funding and getting new projects off the ground which led to a chance encounter with Headway Arts (then Headway Theatre) who I have had a relationship with in a development role since 1997. I am now employed as Development Coordinator.

Kerri Brown – Administrator


We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of all our funders which currently includes:

  • Arts Council England
  • Blyth Town Council
  • Community Foundation
  • Edward Gostling Foundation – RW Mann Trust – Shears Foundation
  • Erasmus+
  • Great Northumberland
  • Hadrian Trust – High Sheriff of Northumberland – Rothley Trust
  • Heritage Fund
  • National Lottery Community Fund
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Postcode Community Trust
  • Sir James Knott Trust
  • The 1989 Willan Trust – Wellesley Trust
  • the Coalfields Regeneration Trust