Audio engineer Leslie Gaston-Bird joined Music and singer-actor-director Maisey Bawden appointed to Urdang.

By Eve Lacroix (Communications Officer), Published

City, University of London is delighted to welcome audio engineer Leslie Gaston-Bird and singer-actor-director Maisey Bawden as new academic recruits to the Department of Performing Arts.

Head of Department Dr Lesley Main said:

The Department of Performing Arts is hugely fortunate to have appointed two outstanding colleagues at the same time.

The breadth of Leslie Gaston-Bird’s experiences and connections across the music industry and higher education offers so much and is enriching for our students.

Maisey Bawden brings such a high calibre of industry experience. Her specialisms in acting and directing completes the range of ‘triple threat’ expertise on the core staff team.

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.

Leslie Gaston-Bird

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:

I am excited and honoured to join City at a time of growth.

The students have such a passion for recording and music-making, as I did at their age. I love feeding this energy and showing them all the career possibilities they may not have even considered yet.

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!

Maisey Bawden

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:

I am so delighted to be joining City and Urdang as Head of Vocational Studies.

Having worked as a freelancer at Urdang for the last couple of years, I have rarely worked in a more inspiring, inclusive and positive environment and I’m really excited to be joining the team in this capacity.