Meet our Team and our Board:

Meet the team and our board who are responsible for the running of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival and the three strands of our work.

Melanie Purdie

Melanie joined the team in April 2021 as our Strategic & Creative Director. She brings a wealth of experience of working in the performing arts industry across the UK. With a passion for festivals, community engagement and mentoring young practitioners, Melanie will be a driving force in taking forward our ambitious strategic plan.

Melanie has overall responsibility for setting the artistic direction of the organisation, programming and fund generation. She is always open to meeting with artists based across the region.

Lou Davies

Lou, our General Manager has played a fundamental role in the success of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival over the years. Lou joined the team in 2011 and has been crucial to the success and development of the 10-day festival, Arts Live & Stage iT. She has had a key role working with young people in the region, supporting them in their Young Promoters Group and has been at the heart of engaging with our communities right across Dumfries & Galloway.

Lou is the contact for venues and promoters and in all aspects of co-ordinating the festival and Arts Live programme and a fountain of knowledge for performing arts within the region.

Emma Porteous

Emma joined the team as our Project & Communications Manager at the start of 2020, having moved to the region from Edinburgh 6 years’ ago. Emma studied Festival & Event Management at Napier University in Edinburgh and worked as part of a Fringe venue and Government events team whilst studying. After finishing her degree, Emma went on to take on several events and marketing development roles in the tourism and hospitality industry both at a national and international level.

Emma also spent many years volunteering with a theatre company both on and off stage and is delighted to be back at the heart of performing arts

Suzie Thorpe

Suzie is our Finance & Project Support Officer. A local hotelier, Suzie brings her financial and business expertise to ensure the smooth running and co-ordination of the organisation. She joined the team in 2016 and manages a range of systems, providing a professional and organised service to keep our programmes running year-round.

Suzie has a degree in Dance and has been involved in Performing Arts through Dance & Musical Theatre throughout her life.

Liam Russell

Liam Russell joined the team as Youth Development Officer in February this year. In recent years, Liam has been a key player in the creative performing arts culture in Dumfries working as a creative facilitator with organisations such as the Dumfries Music Conference, RBF Media and the CatStrand where he regularly works with a group of youth volunteers to offer guidance and reassurance. A well known face in the local music scene and a touring musician under various pseudonyms, this is what ignited his passion to nurture other young people to achieve their goals and has been key in helping to support an ever changing music industry within the region.
Passionate about putting D&G on the map as a cultural hub locally and nationally, he is eager to get started bridging the gap between the inspirations our young people and their subsequent realities.

John Dinning

John Dinning is our Technical Manager, responsible for overseeing all technical requirements from touring companies and checking venue capacities to enable great performances across the fantastic variety of venues in Dumfries & Galloway. John is responsible for spec’ing the space and is also hired by venues and promoters to manage the smooth delivery of events on the actual day.

John has worked within our region for many years and has become a very ‘Well Kent’ face within the industry bringing his national and international knowledge and skills back to the region.

Alexandra Little

Alexandra is a retired strategic planner and commissioning manager. As former Chair of the National Child Health Commissioners Group and development advisor to Scottish Government she is committed to improving the life chances of children and young people in Scotland.

Alexandra has a keen interest in many aspects of art and culture, she is a writer and visual artist and a Board Member of both the Crossmichael Heritage Hub and The Wee Book Hoose, Crossmichael, which organises and raises funds for performing arts events in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbrightshire. Alexandra has volunteered as an Arts Festival Ambassador for many years.

Lee Medd

Lee Medd is the Business Development Manager with Dumfries & Galloway Chamber of Commerce. He has 16 years’ experience in retail training, development and management with some of the UK’s top companies including Signet Group, Woolworths, Safeway Stores, Morrisons, Poundland and Sports Direct.
He has experience in promotions, marketing and advertising as well as event management. In addition to his full time job he hosts the breakfast show on Alive 107.3, Monday -Thursday between 7-9am and has done since May 2013. Prior to that he hosted Sunday breakfast as well as news & current events programme “Lee Medd Live” in addition to co-hosting the arts programme ‘Curtain Up’ and Saturday sports show ‘Alive & Kicking’. Since 2012 Lee has co-compered the Stranraer ParkFest music weekend, raising money for the Stranraer Inshore Lifeboat Fund. Alongside Andrea Thompson, he has anchored live radio coverage of the Big Burns Supper since 2012 and the pair have hosted the Big Burns Supper web shows in 2015 and 2016. Lee sits on the management team of Alive 107.3, is a trustee with Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival and is a member of Dumfries Rotary Club.

Mark Alexander

Mark has worked in theatres from Aberdeen to Arnhem doing every job from general manager to ice cream seller for the last 40 years. He trained as an actor at The Drama Studio, London, after a degree in English and Theatre from Lancaster University. After 10 years as an actor, Mark joined commercial manager Charles Vance as production manager and later General Manager of Harlow Playhouse. Mark has directed, designed lights and occasionally sets for many shows and is an enthusiastic veteran of over 50 pantomimes. Recently Mark was General Manager of the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham St Annes and is co-director of a small-scale touring theatre company with his actress/director/writer partner Sue McCormick. Mark is currently Director of the Theatre Royal Dumfries.

Andrea Medd

Andrea is the award-winning editor of the multi award-winning Dumfries & Galloway Life (current Scottish Magazine of the Year).
A journalist for more than 20 years, she is also a presenter with the Dumfries-based volunteer-run community radio station, Alive 107.3, and has also broadcast for television.
Andrea is passionate about the arts and is proud to be a member of the board of Scotland’s longest-running performing arts festival: the flagship Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival.
She is an active member of The Theatre Royal Guild of Players, as a performer, in PR and having also a served year on the Guild Council. Andrea is also a director of DG Chamber of Commerce, is a double-award- winning advisor with Young Enterprise Scotland, and is involved with and supports numerous local organisations in a voluntary capacity, for which she was recognised by MSP Oliver Mundell, who named her his Local Hero last year.

Anne Barclay

Anne was born and raised in Wigtown and returned to the area after graduating with a BA in Events and Entertainment Management from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2006. She has worked for Wigtown Festival Company since 2007 where she is the Operational Director – a varied role with responsibility for fundraising and accounts, programming the Big Wig Children’s Festival and the logistics of the annual Wigtown Book Festival which brings 30,000 visitors to the region each autumn.

An active member of her community, Anne is a member of the Rotary Club of Newton Stewart; chair of Cancer Research UK’s Dumfries & Galloway Relay For Life; and a Guide Leader for the 1st Wigtown Guides.

Alan Hall

Alan is the Communications Manager for the charity Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway. Before this, he worked as a journalist for more than 25 years, finishing as the editor of the newspaper Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press and the popular magazine Our Wigtownshire. He made the switch to communications to help share the magnificent work of third sector organisations within the region and support volunteering. During his time at the charity, he has overseen the introduction of a new database, and the creation of two new websites and App, which will further promote charities, community groups, and social enterprises. Alan is also a volunteer coach in youth football for Greystone Rovers and loves being outdoors with his family and dog, discovering new experiences, and positively promoting all that the region has to offer.

Catriona McGhie

Catriona was born and raised in Stranraer and graduated from Perth College UHI with an Honours Degree in Popular Music in 2017 before returning to Dumfries and Galloway. She developed a keen interest in Event Management during her time away and volunteered at events such as the Hebridean Celtic Festival and Celtic Connections.

Catriona has been involved with Stranraer Park Fest since 2016, both as a member and manager of the Young Guns Team, and more recently as the full events Creative Producer, bringing the running of the event to Stranraer Music Town Committee, of which she is Chair.

She is Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival’s Stage iT group and is a Tutor for Stranraer Guitar Club Juniors.

As a freelancer, Catriona was employed as Entertainment Coordinator for SkiffieWorlds 2019, planning and developing a weeklong programme featuring music, theatre and dance as part of the World Championship event’s Shoreside Festival. She has recently taken up a commission with DGU as their Youth Arts Advocate.

Catriona has an eclectic taste in music, but as a performer has an interest in Scottish Traditional Music, and in 2017 released her debut album, Òran, as part of her Degree project.

Drew Taylor

Drew Taylor is an award winning theatre director, playwright, facilitator and theatre artist development specialist, trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

He is also Artistic Director of Performance Collective Stranraer, a co-director of Sanctuary Queer Arts and works freelance as a Director and Dramaturg, often with spoken word artists.

Drew has facilitated and/or directed productions for British Youth Music Theatre [formerly YMTUK], Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scottish Youth Theatre, New College Lanarkshire BA Programme, Royal Lyceum Edinburgh Education, Apples and Snakes, The Garage Norwich, Strangetown Edinburgh, Dance House Glasgow, Dundee Rep Engage, Aberdeen Performing Arts and San Francisco Repertory Theatre.

He has also been commissioned by Take Me Somewhere [Glasgow], Brighton International Festival, Commonwealth Games 2014 Cultural Festival.