Derbyshire centre for disability arts recruits four new members to board

A national hub for disability arts programmes in Rowsley has welcomed four new members on to its board this month.

By Ed Dingwall
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 3:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 10:21 am

Omar Khan, Ness Brooks, Rebecca Brown and Julie Usherwood have been handpicked to help steer the strategic direction of the Level Centre and make it more representative of the communities it serves.

Working alongside chairman Stuart Allen and the four other existing board members, they will play a crucial role in making new connections for the organisation and further establishing Level as a pioneer in its field.

Rebecca and Julie are longtime participants at Meander Theatre, a company based in Derby and Nottingham which creates opportunities on and off the stage for people with learning disabilities.

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The Level is an award-winning purpose-built contemporary arts space which collaborates with local, national and international partners, organisations and artists.

Rebecca said: “Being part of the board will be a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge of disability art groups.Level’s so different to anything I have seen before and there are so many different artists that use this space.

“I also love how diverse the work is that Level produces, the work is by disabled people which shows everyone is capable and Level like to promote this.”

Julie added: “I feel complimented to have been asked. “I enjoy the exhibitions at Level and how they provide arts opportunities for disabled adults and children from the local area. I think it's most important that disabled people are included in arts groups.”

Ness is artistic director and chief executive of the national LGBT and disability-led theatre company Separate Doors, and has more than 25 years of experience as a playwright, director, producer and strategic leader.

Julie Usherwood will be supported in the role by Laura Guthrie, director of Meander Theatre.

Growing up with a sister with Downs Syndrome, Ness became an advocate for equality of opportunity for actors and people with learning disabilities and created the Silent Approach, a non-verbal rehearsal room method supporting the inclusion of learning disabled and neuro-divergent actors.

Omar is a director, facilitator and writer based in the Midlands. An associate artist and tutor at both Derby Theatre and Hubbub Theatre, his work engages marginalised communities and enables conversations around topics including death, identity, and spirituality.

For more details, visit

Omar Khan.
Ness Brooks
Rebecca Brown