Celebrating our Women

Edinburgh's Festivals are incredible celebrations of creativity, with vision, impact and international recognition that put them among the best cultural events on the globe. The festivals’ success is down to the people that make it all happen, including their hard work, vision and leadership. On International Women's Day 2020 we take a look at some of the inspirational leaders who work across Edinburgh’s 11 major Festivals.

August Fests 2018 roundup v2 975x400

Pamela Walker (Producer at Edinburgh International Children’s Festival)
Pamela is responsible for producing and managing Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, Theatre in Schools Scotland and other projects throughout the year. She studied a BA hons in Drama and Theatre Arts at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. After university she co-founded a producing and project management business which included producing new work, running a festival venue, schools touring and various arts administration. Pamela moved from National Theatre of Scotland where she worked for ten years as assistant producer, learn project manager and most recently producer. She has worked extensively with theatre and young people and has a strong interest in producing work for children.

Kirsty Tough (Head of Marketing at Edinburgh International Film Festival)
Kirsty graduated from the University of Stirling in 2005 with a degree in Sociology and Social Policy, where her final-year dissertation explored the use of the arts to educate. She has worked in arts marketing for the last 14 years, working for a number of leading organisations including Fringe and National Museums Scotland. She started working for the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) in November 2014. At CMI she is responsible for delivering effective marketing and communications activity across the organisation, raising the profile of CMI and its businesses, programmes, projects and events. She conceives, plans and delivers marketing campaigns across all CMI brands including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Filmhouse (Edinburgh), Belmont Filmhouse (Aberdeen), Filmhouse Café Bar, major programmes, education & learning activity and industry & talent development projects and events.

Hannah Schlesinger Brodie (Director of Development at Edinburgh Science Festival)
Hannah is Director of Development at Edinburgh Science Festival, an annual celebration of Science and Technology that takes place for two weeks in April. She has over 20 years of partnership experience across Higher Education, Publishing and Conferences, Cultural and Third sectors. Hannah is responsible for relationship building, advancement and fundraising across all Edinburgh Science projects.

Agnese Daverio (Head of Programme & Production Manager at Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival)
After obtaining a master’s degree in Festival and Event Management from Edinburgh Napier University in 2012, Agnese started her journey in jazz/blues promotion in Scotland. Since then, she has been producing over 30 jazz and blues festivals across Scotland– alongside veteran jazz promoters Fiona Alexander and Roger Spence. Agnese is passionate about the festival scene in Scotland, over the years she has also collaborated with a number of Scottish Festivals, including: Kelburn Garden Party, Hidden Door Festival (making EJBF the first Festival to collaborate with Hidden Door in 2017), and The Edinburgh Festival of Sound and Wee Dub Festival – to name a few. 

Helen Chomczuk (Head of Development at Edinburgh International Book Festival)
Helen is Head of Development at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where she oversees the book festival’s fundraising activities across corporate sponsorship, individual giving and trusts and foundations. It is the world’s largest public celebration of the written word and a major showcase for the best Scottish and international writing for adults and children. From an early age, Helen has been an avid reader and is continually inspired by the hundreds of events, workshops, debates and masterclasses that make up the Book Festival programme. She has over 11 years’ experience working in a range of cultural and voluntary organisations and leads a team of five and is a member of the Institute of Fundraising.

Shona McCarthy (Chief Executive at Edinburgh Fringe Society)
Shona McCarthy joined the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society as Chief Executive in March 2016. From 2011–2014 she was Chief Executive of the Culture Company, leading on Derry-Londonderry’s transformational year as UK City of Culture. Prior to that she was Director of the British Council Northern Ireland. She also spent many years as Chief Executive of Cinemagic Film Festival for young people, Belfast; the Foyle Film Festival, Derry; and was Head of Exhibition at the Northern Ireland Film Council. Shona has 25 years’ experience of working in senior leadership positions and was awarded a prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship for Innovation in 2014 and a NESTA cultural leadership award which took her to live and work in India.

Fringe Button

Lynsey Fusco (Head of Marketing and Communications at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo)
Lynsey has nearly 20 years’ experience working in the marketing industry and joined the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2017. A direct marketing specialist, Lynsey cut her teeth with agency roles at Tangible, and then in-house at VisitScotland. She has gained industry recognition and worked her way up the career ladder, heading up the workplace marketing team at AEGON, and taking on non-executive as Director at Little and Large Properties and Chair of DMA Scotland. Lynsey Is responsible for marketing the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to an international audience at home and abroad. 

Sorcha Carey (Director at Edinburgh Art Festival)
Sorcha Carey is Director of Edinburgh Art Festival, the annual celebration of visual art as part of Edinburgh’s summer festivals. Founded in 2004, each year the festival works in partnership with museums, galleries and pop up venues around the city to present over 40 exhibitions, alongside a month long programme of special events, and a series of public art commissions by leading and emerging Scottish and international artists. Prior to moving to Scotland, she worked on three editions of the international contemporary art festival, Liverpool Biennial, curating publicly sited projects including a series of major commissions for Liverpool’s year as Capital of Culture in 2008, by international artists and architects, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, Ai Wei Wei, Atelier Bow Wow, Annette Messager, Tomas Saraceno and Jesper Just. She has an MA and PhD in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. She is Chair of Festivals Edinburgh, the strategic umbrella organization for Edinburgh’s major festivals.

Francesca Hegyi OBE (Executive Director of Edinburgh International Festival)
Francesca Hegyi has worked in culture and the arts for more than 20 years. Prior to joining the Edinburgh International Festival in 2019, she was Executive Director of Hull 2017 UK City of Culture where she secured major funding and partnerships to deliver 2,800 events across 365 days, reaching over 95% of all Hull residents, creating over 800 jobs and adding more than £300 million to the local economy. Francesca was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2018 for this work. Francesca’s career began at the Science Museum in London before working as a policy adviser for the Scottish Museums Council in Edinburgh. She moved on to become Head of Regions and International at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, until 2005, when she joined the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games as Senior Adviser. 

Annemarie Froemke (Marketing & Comms Development Officer at Edinburgh International Storytelling Festival
Annemarie leads on the marketing for TRACS Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, an organisation that brings together the Traditional Music Forum, the Scottish Storytelling Forum and the Traditional Dance Forum and hosts the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) every autumn. She took her first steps in the arts working as a dresser for large-scale opera productions at the Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater Schwerin. After graduating from the University of Dundee with a MA (Hons) in English Literature and History, Annemarie worked at Genius Gluten Free Ltd., overseeing the brand’s development in 3 European markets. Her marketing role at SISF focuses on the promotion of the festivals’ wide-ranging programme of storytelling events, including the Festival on Tour across Scotland and the Community Programme.

Annie Wheeler (Marketing Manager at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay)
Annie is part of the marketing team at Underbelly who produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council. She studied a MA Hons in Economics at Dundee University before continuing her studies with a MSc Masters in Marketing with Festival and Event Management at Edinburgh Napier University. After graduating university she moved straight into her first marketing job in events which were mainly held at The Royal Highland Centre. In this position she was part of the team that produced the first ever Edinburgh Coffee Festival which has become a regular feature in the festival programme. Annie continued working in coffee with a move to London and creating award winning events. After a couple of years Edinburgh was calling her back and where she joined the Underbelly herd to work across all their events including Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. Annie has worked extensively in the festival and events industry, creating unforgettable marketing campaigns, she thrives in making memorable experiences for all visitors and attendees. 

Concert in the gardens

Share this article

Jump to sign up form

Keep Up to Date

Sign up for Festival Updates
Back to top ↑