Executive Director Sophie Eustace Says Goodbye To Fevered Sleep After 12 Years

After 12 glorious years of working with David and Sam, I am leaving Fevered Sleep. What an incredible journey it has been.  In 1997 I became Fevered Sleep’s General Manager one day a week, working on the corner of a desk at Battersea Arts Centre as we dreamt up a programme of work about light and how we could keep the company running on the meagre funds we had in the bank.  We made ‘Brilliant’ a year later, probably our most loved and most toured production. This pivotal show took us from Edinburgh to Taiwan, Nottingham to Belgium where thousands of children shouted for the moon and squealed in the dark. We became an Associate Company at the Young Vic, secured regular funding from Arts Council England,  I stepped up to Executive Director 3 days a week and we grew an amazing team of people to work with.

From there the job has taken me from spreadsheets, board meetings and site visits to houses in Snowdonia full of moss and mist (‘The Weather Factory’);  chalk quarries (‘Above Me The Wide Blue Sky’); farmyards (‘Sheep Pig Goat’); schools (‘The Institute of Everything’); pond lining manufacturers (‘And The Rain Falls Down’); graphic designers (‘An Open Field’), fields and beaches (‘Dusk’ and ‘An Infinite Line’).  I have signed risk assessments for filming in the Polar Bear infested Arctic (‘It’s The Skin You’re Living In’), co-ordinated the gathering and storage of thousands of conkers (‘The Forest’), worked behind the till of a pop up shop selling our clothing and accessories (‘This Grief Thing’) and wrapped dancers in newspaper on the streets of South London (‘Men & Girls Dance’)….as well as all the more typical stuff you’d expect to do in arts administration.   

We’ve moved offices multiple times (now based at Shoreditch Town Hall), toured the length and breadth of the UK, Australia, Canada, China and Sweden.  We’ve had the help of so many funders and supporters – Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and John Ellerman Foundation just to name a handful.  It has been a wonderful and bonkers time working on incredible projects and initiatives with hugely talented colleagues and collaborators.

Being Executive Director of Fevered Sleep is an absolute privilege as you get to support artists whose creative brilliance is matched by an unwavering commitment to working with and empowering children through projects like ‘Men & Girls Dance’.  The company is driven by the vision that art is for all sorts of people and should be in all sorts of places which means that no project is the same and nothing is taken for granted. It is such a wrench to leave but I am going to join Arts Council England as a Relationship Manager in the London Theatre Team and work on other freelance projects. It’s an exciting time to pass the reins to a new Executive Director who can take Fevered Sleep into its next glorious chapter and hopefully have as much fun as I have.