Brighton Fringe can announce that, on 17 December 2018, Heather James stepped down as Chair of Trustees of Brighton Fringe and resigned from the board.
Heather was a founding trustee of Brighton Fringe and joined the board in 2006 but has been involved with the organisation since 2005 when plans were being drafted for Brighton Fringe to become an independent charity. She took over as Chair in 2008, more than 10 years ago.
Brighton Fringe has always sought a skills-based Board of Trustees and Heather became involved as a result of her work as a City Councillor, in particular the work she was doing in community development initiating and leading many successful community campaigns across the City. This work combined with her previous experience in sales and marketing with national and international companies proved invaluable on the Board, given the reach and breadth of Brighton Fringe.
Heather in fact stepped down as Chair in April 2011 to take over as Acting MD when the previous post-holder left and remained in this position until October 2011 when Julian Caddy, present CEO of Brighton Fringe, was appointed. During this time Heather negotiated and established several long-lasting partnerships, including Citroen and the Pebble Trust, presently Brighton Fringe’s principal funder.
During this time Heather also initiated and established several projects that Brighton Fringe now consider core to meeting their charitable objectives, such as a bursary scheme, the Professional Development Programme (now called Fringe Academy), and awards including the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence. She also built valuable relationships with other fringe festivals and under her stewardship Brighton Fringe became a founding partner of the World Fringe Alliance.
Discussing her time with Brighton Fringe Heather said:
“I’m most proud of the enormous growth of Brighton Fringe. I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity to meet and work with so many talented people to help Brighton Fringe become what it is today, an amazing festival that sets our City alight and abuzz with artistic creativity and allows everyone to participate and engage in the arts. The Fringe Team is truly special and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us on our journey over the past 12 years, including our stakeholders, sponsors and audiences.
I will always support and advocate for Brighton Fringe but after more than 10 years as Chair I feel now is a good time to step down. Brighton Fringe has never been stronger; despite challenges 2018 was our best festival ever, attracting more people than ever before and contributing significantly to the wellbeing and economy of our City.”
Regarding her future post-Fringe, Heather is looking forward to getting more involved with a number of projects she already supports, including Road to Peace an organisation facilitating specialist paediatric care for children in war zones, which she founded with Sally Becker. Heather is also looking forward to attending Brighton Fringe 2019 as an audience member.
Julian Caddy, CEO of Brighton Fringe, said:
“Heather James has been instrumental in helping to lead Brighton Fringe all the way from its independence some twelve years ago into the flourishing, world-leading festival that it is today. She has been a fearless and steadfast champion of all that Brighton Fringe stands for and the fruits of her vision will remain as testament to that work. We would like to thank her for her great contribution and wish her all the very best in her future endeavours."
Brighton Fringe would like to place on record their immense gratitude for Heather’s incredible service to Brighton Fringe and wish her all the best for the future.