Helen Marriage – Board Member and Chair

Helen is Director of Artichoke, a creative company in the UK.  Their presentation of Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant (2006) in London reinvented the notion of the city’s landscape.

Since then Artichoke has produced a biennial Lumiere series in Durham from 2009 – 2023 with additional events in Derry and London; Peace Camp (2012); Temple in Derry (2015); Great Fire 350 (2016); PROCESSIONS (2018).  In 2019 she was made Creative Director of Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture.

Helen’s interests centre on art, civic disruption, public engagement and the transformation of daily life.  In 2012 she was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard and made an MBE for Services to the Arts in 2016.  She is a Fellow of Guildhall School since 2018.  She was an Area Council member for ACE (London) until February 2022.



What expertise do you bring to the board?

I’ve worked in the arts for about 40 years and have both been a member of various boards, including Arts Council England (London) as well as working with boards as an exec.  I hope I understand good governance and the distinction between the responsibilities of a board member and that of the executive team

What excites you about IOU – why are you a board member?

I’ve loved the work of IOU for my whole working life.  The mixture of highly professional with a quirky interpretation of the world has shaped my own professional practice.  I’m delighted to be able to work more closely with the company.

Tell us about a cultural experience, past or present that has inspired you the most.

Too many to list… they would include The Black Rider by Robert Wilson/Tom Waits; Pina Bausch Rite of Spring; Anatoly Vasiliev Six Characters in Search of an Author (after Pirandello) at the Avignon Festival; The Floating Piers by Christo; Carrier Frequency by Impact Theatre Co-op; Raising the Titanic by Welfare State International; Candide by Cirque Baroque; La Pantera Imperial by Carlos Santos; A Split Second of Paradise by Station House Opera; Peter Grimes at the Royal Opera House directed by Deborah Warner ….