Meet the Team
Jo Timmins (she/her)
Artistic Director and CEO
Fair Work Champion
Jo is the founder and Artistic Director of Lyra, creating and developing the company’s highly successful model of working. Originally trained as a director at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, she has worked in theatre, dance and design, with a focus on performing arts for children and teenagers.
For Lyra, Jo has created Once Upon A Snowstorm, We Are All Just Little Creatures (in association with Curious Seed and Lung Ha Theatre Company), Wild Heart, This Way Up, Helen’s Letters, Lone Wolf, Sampler, Pigeon, Hush and Rebecca’s Midnight.
Jo is also a regular collaborator with Dublin based dance-theatre company Junk Ensemble working as dramaturg (The Cold Sings, The Veiled Ones, Dolores), co-creator (Bird with Boy), designer (Sometimes we break, Tate Britain commission) and director (The Rain Party). She has also directed for Kopergietery (Belgium) and Catherine Wheels (Scotland) and was a Fresh Tracks Europe choreographer in 2013 (Vienna). Jo is the recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship and a Dewar Arts Award.
James Preston (he/him)
Environmental Sustainability & Cycling Champion
James works with Jo to lead Lyra and bring the artistic vision to life. He is responsible for company planning, finances, fundraising and leads on Lyra's ambition to develop more work made for children and young people as audience members.
James trained in Drama and Theatre Arts (specialising in Directing) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and began his career as a theatre producer with shows at The Bush Theatre and The Traverse Theatre. He worked in dance from 2006 as Communications and Development Director at Dance Base (Edinburgh), Communications Manager at Dance City (Newcastle), board member of Indepen-dance (Glasgow) and National Project Manager for the Get Scotland Dancing initiative (part of the Culture 2014 programme in Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games). James joined the board of Rosie Kay Dance Company in 2011 and was Executive Director 2016-2022 leading the company to become an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
James is also Treasurer and a trustee of Parents and Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA).
Iain Reekie (he/him)
Iain is an Associate Director with Lyra. He supports the Company in developing the Artistic Policy and he sometimes directs projects and is dramaturg on some others.
Iain originally trained as an actor and director at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in the late 1980s. He then became Assistant Director at Nottingham Playhouse before going on to to lead 7:84 Theatre Company Scotland for ten years as Artistic Director. He’s worked at and with the Citizen’s Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Royal Lyceum, Dundee Rep, the Bush Theatre, Theatre 503 and Lyra amongst others. Iain became Head of the School of Drama and Performance at Queen Margaret University in 2001 and then in 2005, he became Head of Acting at Rose Bruford College for twelve years. At Rose Bruford Iain specialised in the development of Actor Musicianship work, directing many large scale productions at Rose Bruford and a variety of professional London venues. Iain was active in the forming of a new cultural policy for Scottish Theatre, working with the Federation of Scottish Theatre, the then Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Government and played a key role in the creation of the National Theatre of Scotland.
Natalia Barua (she/her)
Equity, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Champion
Natalia's role is focused on leading and developing Lyra's Young Company, establishing and delivering brand new engagement projects and contributing to the programme's artistic quality and accessibility.
Natalia is a dance artist and choreographer working predominantly in video dance, interdisciplinary performance and participation. She has worked in participation for over 10 years as a practitioner, facilitator and producer, designing, leading and supporting community-focused and professional projects. Natalia has developed and delivered high-quality dance projects with vulnerable young people, for adults experiencing mental health issues, worked for charities such as Mencap and NACRO, in primary, secondary and SEN schools across England and Scotland, facilitated social development programmes in deprived communities and has been employed by leading dance organisations including East London Dance, English National Ballet School, YDance and Pavilion Dance South West. She co-directed Diverse Dance, an inclusive dance company in London from 2013-2017, presenting work at venues such as Siobhan Davies Dance Studios, Big Dance Bus and Southbank Centre (Unlimited Festival).
Natalia's video dance productions have been awarded at and screened at festivals worldwide and installed at venues throughout the UK. In 2020 Natalia was commissioned by Lyra's Young Artists for the creation of a video-performance-installation, Slumbering Deep.
Anna Plasberg-Hill (she/her)
Anna’s role at Lyra is to lead and oversee the smooth running of Lyra’s projects, engagement programme and creative events.
Anna studied Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2012), and subsequently went on to train in Physical Theatre at St Mary’s University College (2013). Since graduating, Anna has worked as a practitioner, project coordinator and producer in a range of arts and engagement contexts, particularly focusing on projects with children, young people and communities. She has worked with a number of organisations including Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, Children’s Parliament, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Aberdeen Performing Arts, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Kulturmanagement Solingen (Germany) and the National Theatre of Scotland.
Jo Sharp (she/her)
Jo oversees the Young Artists programme at Lyra, working with participants to build their skills and collaborating with visiting artists to bring ideas to life.
Jo is a Performance Maker and Facilitator who works with young people to make original performance. Since graduating from Contemporary Performance Practice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2016 she has worked across Scotland and beyond. In 2016 Jo received the Avrom Greenbaum Players Award for Direction. In 2017 Jo was awarded the Saltire Emerging Directors award from Youth Theatre Arts Scotland. In 2022 Jo travelled to Belgium with the BUZZ network, an international programme designed to share practice between youth theatre leaders across Europe. Jo has worked as a Director and Facilitator with people of all ages in a range of settings including theatres, community spaces, schools and prisons. Previous collaborations include the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, HMP Low Moss, Falkirk Community Trust, Lyceum Youth Theatre, Macrobert Arts Centre, Perth Horsecross Theatre, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland and Children’s Parliament.
Nicola Taylor (she/her)
Nicola is the welcoming face of Artspace, Lyra’s professional arts venue in Craigmillar. Nicola makes our building feel like a home to everyone who uses it and she is a welcoming host to everyone who comes inside.
Nicola is welcoming and helps visitors in making sure everything is in place for them to have a brilliant experience at Lyra. Nicola also manages communication and administration. Nicola has been involved in various community based organisations and has lots of experience in family engagement. Nicola is also the Vice Chair & Co-Vice chair for the Parent Council at Castleview Primary and Castlebrae High School. Nicola also has a A-Level in Understanding Autism and is First Aid trained.
Lyra are supported by the board of trustees, who bring a wealth of experience in education, arts company management, finance, charity work and essential knowledge of the local area. The Board meets regularly and not only plays an active role in the planning of the organisation’s activity, but also actively supporting the ongoing fundraising and strategic development of the company.
Louise is chair of Lyra's board and is Producer at Catherine Wheels, the leading Scottish touring company for young people's theatre.
Child Protection Champion
Kat is a secondary school teacher and previously taught at Castlebrae Community High School in Craigmillar.
Aoibhinn is a Data Analyst and a parent of two of Lyra's Young Artists.
Matt is Artistic Director of Platform the arts centre at the heart of The Bridge, located in Easterhouse, Glasgow.
Vania is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner and a parent of one of Lyra's Young Artists.
Environmental Sustainability Champion
Sarah is Communications & Marketing Manager at Starcatchers - Scotland's Arts and Early Years organisation.
Segi is a chartered accountant in the financial services industry.
Megan is a former Lyra Young Artist who went on to become a Youth Arts Worker. She is now a Nursery Practitioner.
Emma is a Civil Servant and a parent of two of Lyra's Young Artists.