Paula Van Hagen, Director
Paula is an experienced producer and programmer, with a considerable track record in leading building-based arts organisations. From 2010 – 15 she was Creative Producer at Stratford Circus, developing a cross-artform programme that securely established this East London arts centre as a creative force to be reckoned with. In September 2015 she was appointed Director at Chats Palace with a remit to develop the arts centre as a leading light in Hackney’s growing cultural quarter. In summer 2015 she programmed and produced the London premiere of No Fit State’s Open House – the first weekend of outdoor circus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
In January 2014 Paula was appointed as inaugural Curator for E17 Art Trail. A dynamic, open-access visual arts festival her programme presented work by more than 4000 artists in a range of accessible spaces. In January 2015, she was invited to become Creative Associate for Prague Fringe – with an open portfolio to develop new projects and a digital profile for ‘Edinburgh Fringe’s naughty little sibling’.
In 2012 Paula curated and produced the British Film Institute (BFI) film programme for the London 2012 Festival, a unique silent film restoration project comprising Alfred Hitchcock’s first 9 films. With new scores commissioned from leading British music talent, including Nitin Sawhney, Soweto Kinch and world beatboxing champion, Shlomo, these gala events at landmark venues were ‘the film event of the summer’ (Time Out July 2012). She has subsequently re-imagined and restaged highlights of this festival programme at a range of international locations including India (Kerala International Film Festival 20120) and Russia (Moscow UK/Russia Festival 2014). Prior to this, Paula was Senior Programme Manager at Royal Opera House Covent Garden where she produced the ROH2 programme, delivering innovative, cutting edge new dance and opera.
Paula began her career working in the independent film industry. She has worked extensively as an independent producer and consultant, managing projects for a wide range of companies, including two major dance productions commissioned by Dance Umbrella and televised by BBC2 Dance and the award-winning productions The House of Bernarda Alba (Gate Theatre) and Live Like Pigs starring Jude Law (Royal Court Theatre), both directed by Katie Mitchell for their company, Classics on a Shoestring.
In 1999 she was appointed General Manager of the Kings Head Theatre, Islington. During her time there she worked alongside the theatre impresario Dan Crawford to produce and general manage over 25 shows, including the UK premier of Kurt Weill’s One Touch Of Venus and the hit musical, Pageant, which she transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End. In 2005 Paula was invited by Brighton producers Komedia to work with them on developing the acclaimed Edinburgh Festival venue, Aurora Nova into a UK-wide touring initiative. From a pilot project in Autumn 2005 she forged a touring network that promoted the work of an international portfolio of physical theatre and dance companies from 5 different nations for a cumulative total of 19 weeks, reaching diverse venues and audiences across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. In 2007 she became Aurora Nova’s Executive Director, working on the Edinburgh Festival as well as touring programmes.