Joanie is a freelance Creative Producer who founded Hartlepool Folk Festival in 2015. She's worked in the cultural sector for over 20 years, including roles as Education Manager at De Montfort Hall, Special Projects Coordinator for Leicester Comedy Festival, Programme and Marketing Manager at Loughborough Town Hall and several years as a lecturer in Arts and Festivals Management at both De Montfort University and the Northern School of Art.
From 2008 - 2011 she was Artistic and Marketing Director at Sidmouth, the country's longest-running folk festival. There she developed partnerships including a co-production with SouthBank Centre of Peter Bellamy's The Transports, directed by Jude Kelly OBE. Also at Sidmouth, she pioneered the first folk festival silent disco and a world first: the Silent Ceilidh. She produced the celebration concert In Search of Nic Jones in 2010, which featured Nic performing for the first time in the 30 years since his career-ending accident. She was later asked by Stewart Lee to reprise this event as part of his Austerity Binge festival at SouthBank, which led to the relaunch of Nic's career in 2012.
For the Britten Centenary in 2013, she worked with Aldeburgh Music to co-produce Jon Boden's The Ballad of Little Musgrave as a church parable in Peterborough Cathedral.
She worked on the funding for Hannah James's JigDoll, and Rowan Rheingans' Dispatches on the Red Dress. She has managed events including 2019's Topic Records 80th Anniversary concert at the Roundhouse, and Eliza and Martin Carthy's show East for Brighton Festival 2021, which featured Miranda Richardson and Wilko Johnson.
In 2019 Joanie became an Artistic & Quality Assessor for Arts Council England. She was commissioned to create a community dance project for Hartlepool's Tall Ships Festival 2023, and in recent years has also been commissioned to develop and produce new work for Hartlepool Waterfront Festival. This included The Spirits, a piece of promenade theatre whose dynamic, interactive approach to storytelling was borne of the limitations of lockdown.
At Hartlepool Folk Festival, Joanie has pioneered annual commissioned shows that explore familiar folk stories from new perspectives. This has included staging Rudyard Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads with a Bollywood brass band, and re-examining the story of folk hero Babbacombe Lee through the eyes of victim Emma Keyes, using projection, subversive narrative, and an immersive 'fakelore' museum exhibition.
Joanie is interested in new ways of understanding, interrogating and defining folk culture, and increasing its relevance and accessibility to a range of communities. She participates in podcasts and conference panels advocating for drag as a folk art. Hartlepool Folk Festival is the culmination of her passion for folk music, cultural engagement and bringing high-quality arts experiences to the broadest possible audiences.