Audio engineer Leslie Gaston-Bird joined Music and singer-actor-director Maisey Bawden appointed to Urdang.
Head of Department Dr Lesley Main said:
The two new recruits are deeply embedded within their sectors, reflecting City’s commitment to being the University of business, practice and the professions.
The Department of Performing Arts is made up of Music; Music, Sound and Technology; and the performing arts school Urdang, which was acquired by City in August 2022 and specialises in musical theatre.
Audio engineer Leslie Gaston-Bird joins the Music arm of the Performing Arts Department
Leslie Gaston-Bird took up the role of Lecturer in Sound Recording and Music Production. The owner of Mix Messiah Productions, she specialises in recording mixing, dubbing and sound editing.
In February 2023, she represented the Audio Engineering Society (AES) which received a Special Merit Award Technical Grammy. AES is the only professional society devoted to audio technology, of which Gaston-Bird is a member. She is also a voting member of the Grammy’s Producers and Engineers wing.
Her career journey has included roles at the National Public Radio (NPR), the Colorado Symphony and the University of Colorado Denver among other institutions.
In addition to her work within sound engineering, Gaston-Bird has dedicated a part of her career to uplifting women and minorities. Her book Women in Audio (Routledge, 2019) profiled the trailblazing careers of almost 100 audio engineers who are women, to inspire the next generation.
For Gaston-Bird, immersive audio and spatial audio are areas to keep an eye on as they are gaining traction and becoming more affordable and accessible. To build up the pipeline of talent within the space, she began the ‘Immersive and Inclusive Audio’ initiative which provides immersive audio training for women and minorities.
Her role includes teaching a module to third-year students on mastering and acting as a major project supervisor. She said:
Actor Maisey Bawden recruited to Urdang
Maisey Bawden joined Urdang as a Lecturer in Performing Arts. She will also act as Urdang’s Head of Vocational Studies.
An actor, singer, director and all-round creative, her career experience includes running her own acting school in Essex, performing at Shakespeare’s Globe and the London Palladium. She also holds TV credits, having appeared on BBC’s Eastenders and ITV’s The Sound of Music Live!
She co-founded Mawa Theatre Company, which is an all-Black, all-female Shakespeare company and holds the role of Artistic Director. Mawa explores how Black women are represented in classical texts and aims to redress the imbalance of gender and race within the theatre industry.
Since joining Urdang in late January 2023, Bawden has jumped straight into her role, directing the student musical Flashdance, which will be performed at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre. She said: