With over 30 years experience as a professional musician, composer and arts practitioner, Alison has participated in, devised and led many large scale events. Her extensive work includes performing internationally for 2 years as featured solo violinist with Irish dance spectacular Spirit of the Dance and 7 years with The Well Oiled Sisters, whose popular schedule included touring with Morrissey.
Born in Yorkshire and raised in Scotland, Alison made her debut as a professional musician at the age of 16, shortly after winning a place with The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and thereafter being offered a place at The Royal Northern College of Music and Drama. However, Alison was also intrigued by art and rock n’ roll, and she followed this route until, a few years later, she was accepted by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, to study dramatic arts. Graduating in 1991, Alison moved to London, having been offered session work on the composer Steve Martland’s latest recording, aptly titled, ‘Crossing the Border’. Alison has since worked as an actress, musician, arranger, composer and producer with many artists in the studio and on stage.
However, the main part of the 90’s decade was devoted to The Well Oiled Sisters, an all-girl band, as their lead fiddle player, which involved live and recorded TV, radio and CD recordings. During this period, she worked with artists such as Morrissey, Fish, Hamish Stewart, Lily Savage, Hank Wangford, Mark McGann, Rhona Cameron, and Australia’s Paul Kelly and Archie Roach; toured throughout the UK, Eire, Europe and Australia, and made regular appearances at The Edinburgh Festival, Pride, Adelaide Arts Festival and WOMAD music festivals worldwide.
In December 1998, Alison was invited to join a world tour with Irish Dance Troupe, Spirit of the Dance as their featured on stage ‘funky’ fiddle player. Twice around the world and two years later, she had started writing a show of her own to perform in that could tour nationally and internationally, using many art forms to tell the story. She decided that Granada, in Andalucia, was the perfect location for writing the music for WILDFIRE! which was to become an outdoor combined arts spectacular.
Alison was short listed as Composer-in- Residence for the BBC Radio Play Bursary Award in 2007, when she also founded her own performing arts company Shapeshifter Productions Ltd, which has since received many funding awards including Arts Council England, Comic Relief, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and The National Lottery Fund, gaining charitable status in 2011.
In 2009, WILDFIRE! was commissioned by The Scottish Arts Council to premiere at St Andrews as part of Homecoming Scotland Finale. With Alison as producer and performer, over 1500 people were led by a torchlit procession to a mystery venue to see the magical spectacle. In June 2010, Alison presented WILDFIRE! and performed at The Arts Olympus debut on The Queen Mary I, Long Beach Harbour, CA.
She was also invited to sit on the panel for The National Association for Women in the Arts (USA).
As Artistic Director of Shapeshifter Productions, Alison is passionate about bringing communities together through music and promoting the aims of the charity, whose work includes creating a National Lottery Awards finalist project singing with the elderly, called ‘The Smiling Sessions’, the emergence of Strung Out violin group for adults and subsequently co-founding Walthamstow Acoustic Massive, a collaboration of local community music groups consisting of banjos, ukuleles, violins and singers, ranging from 18-80 years, whose motto is “It’s never too late!”. Alison was nominated Citizen of the Year in the “Love Your Borough Awards” Waltham Forest, 2014 and was invited to become a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts in 2015.
After devoting the last 6 years to growing the charity and sharing her experience with the local communities of Waltham Forest, Alison feels she would like to re-visit developing her own craft and skills, that of violinist, composer and creator, for her own artistic development. Her first desire is to re-position the music of WILDFIRE! so that it can be performed in; its’ own right at indoor venues across the U.K. and as a large-scale community event in 2018. Alison also works as a freelance musician and teacher.