Each year, Action Hero awards a ‘fellowship’ to a mid-career artist or company who we think is brilliant. This fellowship is a package of support that includes £6k in no-strings-attached cash, mentoring, access to our studio and archive, and advocacy amongst our networks. In 2021-22, we have awarded fellowships to Alexandrina Hemsley and Adam & Gillian. These will run simultaneously over 18 months.

The fellowship is aimed at performance makers who’re on the cusp of something amazing, and who we think can benefit from the expertise we’ve accumulated over the course of the last 15 years as an artist-led company, making touring work that sits in between performance, installation and social practice. We’ve always been engaged in artist networks (via Residence, Forest Fringe & Brunswick Club) and in peer-to-peer support with other artists. When we became a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England back in April 2018, we started the fellowship as a way of continuing that support in a more structured way. As one of only a handful of artist-led organisations in the National Portfolio, we’re very keen to recycle some of our funding success into the artist-led communities in which we operate, and which have provided a lot of support to us over the years. The fellowship offers a way in which our NPO status can provide direct support to independent artists within the structure of an artist-led, peer to peer relationship.

Alexandrina Hemsley’s creative practice lands in the fluid spaces of dance, choreography, writing, facilitating and advocacy. Her collaborations include Project O with Jamila Johnson-Small and Seke Chimutengwende on Black Holes. Alexandrina founded her own organisation Yewande 103 in July 2020. 

Adam and Gillian’s practice seeks to explore the notion of ‘the imagined ideal’ through subjective performance, objective experimentation, documentation and observation. Gillian Lees is a performance practitioner who undertakes physically demanding and mentally exhausting durational performances, and Adam York Gregory is a scientist, games designer, typesetter, comic artist, film-maker and Visual Artist. 

In 2020-21, we awarded fellowships to Rachael Young and Figs in Wigs, which ran simultaneously over 18 months.

In 2019, our first fellowship was awarded to Katherine Hall. 

“10/10 would recommend 5 stars on trip advisor”

Figs in Wigs, 20-21 fellowship artists

︎︎︎ Adam and Gillian
︎︎︎ Alexandrina Hemsley


photos of Katherine Hall by Marcus Cawrey, Figs in Wigs by Rosie Collins, Rachael Young by Marcus Hessenberg, Alexandrina Hemsley and Adam & Gillian.