News RSS

News: About the School

Creative Entrepreneurs

24 October 2013

Guildhall School supports first Creative Entrepreneurs

Announcing the first nine entrepreneurs who will be supported to set up their own business or social enterprise and develop their entrepreneurship skills through the School's new Creative Entrepreneurs scheme.


The successful group, made up of alumni and staff members, will take part in an intensive 12-month pilot programme of training and individual support led by fundraising and development enterprise Cause4. 

Training will be provided in business planning, marketing, sales and funding, and individual support will include the provision of mentoring, coaching and business plan development. The growing ventures will inhabit a dedicated space within the Cause4 offices in Liverpool Street, which can be used both creatively and as office space. The aim of the scheme is to enable these entrepreneurs to develop sustainable businesses and secure vital seed funding at the end of the year.

Applications were open to alumni and staff of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and were assessed on the basis of strength of the business concept, its readiness for development, the artistic quality of the venture and the anticipated contribution to the Guildhall School and community. 

The nine Creative Entrepreneurs chosen with discipline and graduation dates are:

•    Jenny Beer (Guildhall-Barbican Creative Learning Division current staff member)
•    John-Paul Bowman (Composition 2013)
•    Ed Hughes (Acting 1999)
•    Alex McCartney (Lute 2013)
•    Evi Nakou (Leadership 2013)
•    Nikesh Patel (Acting 2010) with his business partner Emily Plumtree
•    Gavin Roberts (Piano 2011)
•    Sophie Roberts (Acting 2005) and Sam Redford (Acting 2001)
•    Fernando Pinho (Stage Management & Technical Theatre 2010)

The nine entrepreneurs come to the Creative Entrepreneurs scheme from around the UK and Europe including London, York, Ipswich, Epsom, Swindon, Porto in Portugal and Thessaloniki in Greece. The business ideas include work in education, artist management development, community theatre and dance. 

The programme has been devised by Professor Helena Gaunt, Assistant Principal (Research and Academic Development) of the Guildhall School, in partnership with the development and fundraising organisation Cause4. Michelle Wright, the CEO of Cause4, is an alumna and Fellow of the Guildhall School (Violin 1995-1999) and founded Cause4 in 2009.  Since being founded Cause4 has grown rapidly and represents an experienced partner in the development of entrepreneurial ideas and associated business models.   

Professor Helena Gaunt said “These alumni will pioneer a step-change in supporting entrepreneurship in the performing arts. They are outstanding artists whose work has potential to create value in multiple ways. I am delighted that at the Guildhall School we now have this opportunity to catalyse new businesses and entrepreneurship within the sector.”

Michelle Wright, CEO of Cause4 says “This new initiative from the Guildhall School offering nine alumni the chance to develop their own businesses is a golden opportunity to invest in a new generation of creative entrepreneurs. I believe that the training that musicians, actors and technical theatre staff experience at conservatoires makes them well placed to run successful businesses. The skills learned at college including creativity, resilience and hard work are just the ingredients for successful entrepreneurship. This is a brilliant innovation from the Guildhall School to support graduates in a more challenging economy for the arts and culture.” 

Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs 2013:

Jenny Beer
Business idea: Jenny is currently developing the Guildhall-Barbican Creative Learning division’s Drum Works programme, a secondary school project that reaches over 250 young East Londoners every week and is aiming to reach over 500 young people by 2015. Participants take part in weekly drumming sessions with experienced artist leaders, creating original beats inspired by music they listen to and working towards performances on the Barbican’s main stages and at festivals and events around London. Jenny’s project aims to enable Drum Works to become a spin-out enterprise from the Barbican Centre and Guildhall School which would allow the project to pursue income-generating ideas, enabling it to expand its reach.

John-Paul Bowman
Business idea: John-Paul’s enterprise idea is to expand the brand of Convivium Records - a recording and distribution company - into Artist Management, creating a new, ethical agency model. The aim of the company is to provide opportunities, advice and support to musicians and ensembles transitioning into professional careers. 

Ed Hughes
Business idea: Ed is the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Salida Productions - - an East London Theatre and Film Company which has been awarded a Stage One New Producers Bursary and UNESCO High Achievement for Romeo and Juliet (Mercury Theatre) with Astillero Tango Orchestra from Argentina which Ed directed and co-produced. Salida's Projects include Mayakovsky: The Slanting Rain (RSC), Formby (Currently on a UK Tour and touring in 2014), Gutter Junky (Edinburgh Festival) and a film Farmer and the Shepherd. 

Alex McCartney
Business idea: Alex’s business is Poeticall Musicke - - an early music band founded in 2011. Their exhilarating sound, engaging programmes and energetic schedule have attracted a growing audience, and notably the support of Dame Emma Kirkby DBE and Suzi Digby OBE as honorary patrons. 

Evi Nakou
Business idea: Evi is the co-founder, together with Liza Barley, of ontoSonics, a collaborative duo that explores human experience as the stimulus for creative process that culminates in living performance and installation. As a flutist she has concentrated on the performance of new music, has recorded music for theatre and cinema and performed in the Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall and Thessaloniki Concert Hall among others.

Nikesh Patel and Emily Plumtree
Business idea: Nikesh’s enterprise with Emily Plumtree, called No Quills, provides Shakespeare workshops to primary and secondary schools across London. Workshops are led by professional actors with experience at some of the leading theatre companies in the country, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre.

Fernando Pinho
Business idea: Fernando’s project aims long-term to open a new community theatre in East London comprised of two performance spaces, a café, rehearsal and office space. A first-stage pop-up theatre model will link closely to the Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s East London programme.

Gavin Roberts
Business idea: Gavin’s enterprise Song in the City (a registered charity) programmes concerts around imaginative themes, bringing talented performers to the heart of the Square Mile, in the inspiring setting of the Hall at St Botolph without Bishopsgate. 

Sophie Roberts and Sam Redford
Business idea: Sophie’s enterprise, co-founded with Sam Redford, is entitled the SR2 Ensemble and involves plans to build a theatre company that provides graduates of Guildhall the opportunity to work together as like-minded people who have experienced the same training and therefore share an artistic vocabulary.