Core Team

YVONNE FARQUHARSON | Founder & Managing Director

Yvonne is a seasoned multi award-winning social entrepreneur who specialises in developing creative programmes to improve healthcare and transform lives.

Since 2008 Yvonne has been designing, developing and delivering arts and health programmes in NHS Trusts and primary care centres. After studying at Lancaster University and the School for Social Entrepreneurs, she held a variety of roles for the BBC and ITV. She then spent several years as Performing Arts Manager for Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, the largest NHS Charity in the UK, before founding Breathe Arts Health Research in 2012.

Yvonne has gained international recognition for her work in the arts and health sector, and received a number of awards and award nominations for her work across the healthcare and social enterprise sectors. In addition, she has led Breathe to win multiple national awards and gain recognition as a service provider to our National Health Service. She has co-authored papers published in peer-reviewed medical journals and frequently speaks at health, arts and social enterprise conferences and events globally.

She has successfully built partnerships with other arts organisations such as Shakespeare’s Globe, The National Theatre, and City of London Sinfonia and is immensely proud of the scale of performing arts and health interventions Breathe delivers each year alongside its partners.

ROSIE DOW | Interim Director

Rosie has a background of senior leadership roles within the arts, health and community sectors. She was, for example, responsible for setting up and leading the £1m Tenovus Cancer Care ‘Sing with Us’ service of 20 choirs, for over 3,000 people affected by cancer. Her latest role was as Director/CEO of the Military Wives Choirs Foundation, where she worked to develop and deliver a new strategic plan for the charity’s network of 75 choirs across the UK and Europe. She has also been directly involved in high-profile arts in health research projects, including working alongside Breathe’s own Dr Daisy Fancourt on a biological study of the impact of group singing in 2016. With the full support of the Board behind her we are confident that Breathe will continue to thrive under Rosie’s leadership, and we look forward to welcoming Yvonne back in 12 months’ time, restored to full health.

DR DAISY FANCOURT | Research Director

Daisy studied at Oxford University and King’s College London before completing a PhD in psychoneuroimmunology at UCL. Her research focuses on the effects of arts participation on neuroendocrine and immune response, the use of the arts within clinical settings, and the psychosocial impact of cultural engagement at an individual and public health level.

As well as leading the research programme at Breathe, she is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Performance Science, a partnership of Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health. Her research has won over a dozen awards including a Young Investigator Scholarship from the American Psychosomatic Society (2015), the Ruth Bowden Scholarship for academic excellence in a doctorate in the field of medicine from the British Federation of Women Graduates (2015) and silver prize in the Hektoen International Medical Humanities Competition (2013).

Alongside her research, she has worked in the NHS for a number of years, including managing the arts and clinical innovations programme at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The NHS programmes she established have been recognised with a commendation for arts-in-health excellence from the Royal Society for Public Health (2014) and an NHS Innovation Challenge Award (2015). She is also passionate about public engagement in science, and her research has featured in over 100 national and international newspapers as well as a number of television and radio broadcasts including BBC Breakfast and the One Show.

SKYE SERGEANT | Clinical Lead

Skye did a Masters of Occupational Therapy at the University of Sydney in 2006 and began her career in paediatrics in Australia before moving to the UK in 2009. Her experience as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist has included working with children who have complex neurological conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, learning difficulties and emotional behavioural difficulties.

Skye was lead Occupational Therapist for upper limb treatment and intervention within the Children’s Therapies Department at St George’s University Foundation NHS Trust and had the opportunity to address all aspects of treatment within the community and at home to encourage and promote a child’s independence.

Skye devised a training programme for Occupational Therapy new starters, New Graduate and Specialist therapists ,as well as supported students on placement as a lead clinician. She strongly believes it’s essential in any therapy setting to provide a fulfilling and encouraging environment which allows students to learn, explore, practice and understand their professional role.

ROSEY SUTTON | Clinical Lead

Rosey is an occupational therapist who specialised in paediatrics in 2011. Her extensive experience has included roles across the South East and London within the community, hospital setting as well as two special schools for children with complex physical and medical needs. Rosey’s specific interests are neurological conditions, the upper limb, assistive technology and postural management.

Rosey is passionate about supporting children and young people to fulfil their potential and to live happy and healthy lives. She believes in providing therapy in a fun and relaxed environment so that it engages young people and gives them the opportunities to explore, experience, learn and solve problems at their own pace.

Rosey holds a PG Diploma in Occupational Therapy, a PG certificate in Sensory Integration and a BSc in Sports and Exercise Science. Outside of Occupational Therapy, Rosey is a keen musician playing the oboe and cor anglais in both chamber and larger ensembles.

TIM OSBORN | Project Manager

Tim combines nearly three decades of experience in the health and disability world with his lifelong interest in the arts in his role as Breathe’s Project Manager for Performing Arts.

Before joining Breathe in 2013, he worked extensively for organisations supporting people with long-term conditions, life-limiting illnesses and physical and emotional difficulties – both in the NHS and the charity sector. Beyond the day job, he has a particular passion for puppetry as an art form, writes creatively, loves samba and makes stop-motion animation clips.

HANNAH DYE | Strategy Manager

Hannah has over ten years’ experience working within the performing arts sector. She has designed and produced a variety of programmes through roles at King’s College London, Candoco Dance Company, Sadler’s Wells and China Plate Theatre including international projects through British Council. Alongside her part-time role at Breathe, Hannah is a freelance arts Producer currently working with English National Ballet.

Hannah holds an MA in Creative and Cultural Management from Chester University and BA in Dance, Drama & Theatre Studies from Liverpool University.

ADAM SIMMONS | Project Coordinator

Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States, Adam has dedicated the majority of his professional life to directly impacting the lives of youth from a diverse range of backgrounds. Prior to joining Breathe in March of 2017, Adam specialised as a teacher of Mathematics in inner-city schools in California, Morocco, and London for seven years. Before entering the classroom, he also worked on asset building and workforce development projects for a large non-profit in New York City, was a community volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in Guyana, and a youth summer camp counsellor.

Adam holds a BA in Sociology from Purdue University, and his wide range of charitable interests include youth programmes, human rights, and international development. He prefers to spend his free time with his son running around outdoors, is an avid reader, and has been known to play guitar from time to time.

Grace End | Office Administrator

Having been introduced to both the visual and performing arts at a young age Grace has always enjoyed participating in the arts as well as facilitating other artists. She holds a BA degree in Arts and Festival Management from London South Bank University where she graduated in 2018 with First Class Honours.

Her dissertation looked at how theatre engages children’s imaginations and she developed a program which used movement to explore the feeling of anxiety. Grace has also contributed to the work of British Youth Opera, The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum and Young Gloucestershire’s National Citizen Service.

Georgia Heighway | Communications and Engagement Coordinator, Performing Arts

Georgia enjoyed performing arts from a young age, and as an original member of Shoreditch Youth Dance Company (SYD), collaborated with numerous artists and musicians to perform in platforms and festivals internationally. It was here she discovered her love for the arts and the positive impacts of participating in creative activities.

After graduating from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, Georgia went on to join VERVE Postgraduate Dance Performance Company, touring works throughout the UK and Europe. She then gained an internship with Dance Umbrella as Programme Assistant, and on completion was offered a role working across Marketing and Administration. Georgia influenced the digital strategies and social media presence, fuelling her passion in promoting the arts to wider communities.

Georgia joined Breathe Arts Health Research in 2019 in order to develop the digital and communications activity for the Performing Arts Programme. In addition, Georgia is a freelance Dance Artist with extensive practical experience in arts engagement work. She regularly teaches across a range of community and educational settings, including adult technique classes at City Academy and is an Associate Artist with English National Ballet’s Engagement programme.

ANNEGRET MÄRTEN | Freelance Comms Officer

Annegret moved from her native Germany to work in the UK’s rich and varied arts sector before joining Breathe in 2013 as an administrator. She has worked in various performing arts contexts as a dramaturg, assistant director and producer, and on arts journalism projects for companies including BBC Radio, The Stage and Theatertreffen Berlin.

Annegret also writes and reviews theatre for Exeunt Magazine and other publications. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is currently funding her under the London Arts & Humanities Partnership to research monsters and language as part of the joint PhD programme between King’s College London and Humboldt University in Berlin.

MARJAN ALEXANDER | Book Keeper

Numbers wizard Marjan has a First Class Honours Degree in Business and Economics. For many years she worked in the City as a sales trader and joined the Breathe team as bookkeeper in 2013.