opening new doors to the arts

The fabulous, dedicated, skilled team we have at Blaize are what makes us such a (Blaizing!) success. We run out of adjectives to describe the sheer amount of hard work that the team puts in to make each and every Blaize project a very special event.


General Manager – Ellen Thorpe

Artistic Director – Mike Bettison

Associate Artistic Director – Jim Woodland

Associate Artist – Paula Horton

Paula J Horton - Associate Artist

Paula is a trained actor and has been involved with various television programmes like the TV hit drama 'Band of Gold', comedy 'Fat Friends' and crime drama 'This is Personal - The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper'. She has also appeared in both 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale' and has travelled all over the country with various theatre companies. She has been Youth Theatre Director at professional learning disabled company Full Body and The Voice, and a panel teacher of dance and drama for Education Bradford. A Leading Artist on many projects, Paula has also choreographed and dance captained productions and she has worked on many summer schools as well as youth and community projects. Her down-to-earth and friendly approach means that people can’t help but join in the fun. Paula recently completed the Clore Leadership Short Course Programme and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.  She works closely with Ellen to help deliver all the magical projects Blaize has to offer. More info >

Ellen Thorpe - Director and General Manager

Ellen Thorpe - director and general manager

It's Ellen's job to make sure everything comes together smoothly here at Blaize. Ellen has many years' experience with responsibility for programming all Blaize work including the ArtERY rural touring scheme in East Yorkshire which she founded at the invitation of the Arts Council of England, Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. She also programmes Cine North 'local' and is a trustee of Ilkley Literature Festival. She is a very busy woman, organising, seeking funding, commissioning work, and making lots of coffee and tea for everyone. More info >

Jim Woodland - Associate Artistic Director

Jim Woodland - Associate Artistic Director

Jim is the Associate Artistic Director here at Blaize, specialising in Video, Audio, Music and Drama, Workshops and Performance. As a film, media and communication studies graduate he worked for both the BBC and the Inner London Education Authority and now leads on all recorded projects working at the forefront of community video work. Jim is also a fully qualified Relate Councillor and Supervisor and a successful playwright and singer/songwriter and has quite a following for his musical work. Both Mike and Jim worked as street artists for many years. More info >

Mike Bettison - Artistic Director

Mike Bettison - Artistic Director

Mike is the Artistic Director of the company. As a founder member he has been working in community arts; performing, directing and producing, since the 1970’s. Mike has an in depth musical knowledge. He has worked as musical director with a number of companies, including: North Country Theatre, Major Road Theatre, Pocket Theatre plus Blaize/Charivari events. He is a professional musician and musical teacher and was a member of the band ‘Flowers & Frolics’. Mike also ran the Sidmouth arena concert programming. More info >

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