Our team are the beating heart of Dynamix. We like to look to the African philosophy of Ubuntu to describe how we aim to work together. This is the idea that our ‘human-ness’ is about kindness and sharing. It means we are all stronger by being and acting together, that our survival depends on our togetherness, and that we can’t succeed alone-it is only important if we all benefit.
We work with people who share our vision and values. Most of us see what we do as a life-choice and commitment to providing alternatives, rather than a ‘job’. People often come to us from various, often unconventional walks of life. Many of those who now work with us started out as participants who then became volunteers. We run a weekly ‘Team Training’ session, which is a free professional development session, an opportunity to come together and discuss or work through important issues and make decisions, develop our skills, from physical skills on a bike or trampoline, to team-working skills, to facilitation and customer service skills, and to keep reinforcing our sense of togetherness as a team.
There is more about volunteering and other ways of getting involved in our Community section under ‘Volunteering’.
Core Team Members:
Rico Jakk is the Founder of the organisation, and has been working towards these same goals since about 2001. He came to the North East from Malawi aged 10, and growing up in Whitley Bay, was one of only a very few African families in the area. From a young age, he was interested in charity work to help his home country (the 2nd poorest country in the world), and work in the UK to help young people be properly represented. He studied graphic design and info graphics at college, and set up his own Sign-Making business. At the age of 25, he discovered break dance, and this changed his life. He had already been into riding motorbikes, and weightlifting, but break dance gave him a tool with which to express himself, be creative and build his self-esteem. He began teaching breakdance, and taking his students (and even his young son Remy) out to do performances and workshops, and this became a fundraising activity for the first skatepark he built, Boardroom Newcastle, on the Mill Lane youth centre site in Elswick. Rico also played ‘Black Beard’, in the acrobatic theatre dinner show ‘Pirates’, in Mallorca, and performed during the launch of the Slavery Museum in Liverpool! Rico has been the visionary behind the design aspects of the spaces we have transformed, and is a master of’ doing deals’, using the African principles of barter and exchange, reclaim and recycle to gather the resources we have put into the development of our facilities. He won a Cultures CIC Taste of Africa award for contribution to culture in the North East. He has also built and runs the Motocross and 4x4 Driving tracks, and is excited about developing new relationships with organisations in Malawi, so that he can move forwards with developing our projects there.
ROSA STOURAC McCREERY
Rosa Stourac McCreery is another founding member of the organisation as we now know it, (she even came up with the name ‘Dynamix’), and has been involved since 2007. Having been born into a family of political and social theatre-makers, Rosa trained in Performing Arts and physical theatre in London, Madrid and at the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School, Paris. She has performed in the UK, Europe, Canada and a number of African countries, and also developed her facilitation skills to work with young people, and in particular, street children, in Ghana, Senegal, and also back in the UK.
Rosa has also worked as a Clown Doctor in hospitals across the North East since 2007. Rosa has also been trained in the techniques of Forum Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed, and recently did a Masterclass in ‘jokering’ for Forum Theatre. Rosa has been at the ‘front line’ of the organisation for many years, looking after the day to day running of the Dynamix project, from training volunteers using her theatre background, to finances and HR, programming and organising events, and developing relationships with the creative approaches to what we do.
Back in 2007, Rosa and Rico used a research and development grant from the Arts Council to start developing a performance language which combined physical performance skills like breakdance, parkour and other circus elements with theatre in order to engage new audiences and tell stories that have often been left untold. They went on to further explore this working with a breakdance crew and physical theatre company in the Eastern Cape South Africa, and with Nanzikambe Theatre in Malawi. Both are excited to continue developing this kind of work.
We think that feeling part of a community is an important thing for most people’s well-being. Unfortunately, the economic and political systems we live within have started to undermine and destroy the sense of community that people once felt. We therefore think it is important to find new ways to develop this sense of a community, which doesn’t have to be a community based in a particular area, but can be more about a ‘community of interest’, people who share similar interests or want to be involved in things together. People who visit Dynamix often comment on how much they enjoy the sense of community we create, a friendly space where everyone can be included, and can contribute.