Project Spotlight: Frank Sweeney, Live Events Producer and CLOCK Sector Expert

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Clock Sector Expert, Frank Sweeney, has been producing live events for 30 years. Frank has programmed and co-produced over 500 shows and 1,000’s of nights at the Hackney Empire Theatre, he also produced the Rio-London Carnival Exchange for Create London at the London 2012 Festival and the Great British Carnival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. He is Co-Director of Margate Carnival and Trustee for charities, The Crib and Black Heroes Foundation.

In partnership with Drum & Bass management, AEI Group, Frank is currently pioneering a new community arts programme in Hackney’s DeBeauvoir Town. We spoke to Frank about his career highlights, his work with young people, and peer to peer learning with CLOCK. 

How did you get started in your career? 

I saw Black Mime Theatre Company which convinced me immediately that was the career I wanted. I’ve been working in performing arts management ever since, for quite a while now and worked across most art forms. That includes producing around 150 performances of the New 291 Variety Show which showcased about 120 vocal acts, including Miss Dynamite and Leona Lewis.

Music is core and features to a greater or lesser degree in all of the performances and arts projects I work on; there’s always more to learn and to do. I have a growing interest in the music industry and support a network of young emerging musicians, producers and managers at the early stages of their music industry careers.

Share one of your favourite moments or highlights of your career. 

There are so many. My current favourite is the Generation Uncovered group. This year we are showcasing six quite brilliant independent singers and rappers. But after Black Mime Theatre, some of my stand out favourites are Slava Polunin’s journey from The Academy of Fools to Snowshow. Angie Le Mar’s absolute domination of the Hackney Empire box office. Another was when I spent two days with Chuck Berry organising the work permits and FEU exemption for the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as Aida Barr’s Artificial Hip Hop storming the 291 Show!


Tell us about a project you’re involved in right now and the challenges you and the industry face during this pandemic?

I’m developing a lifelong learning creative industries focussed community learning programme, called Desire Paths. It fits within the CLOCK validation and accreditation framework and will provide vocational training and therapeutic support to get into work, stay in mainstream education or to develop and practice skills, for all ages 14+.

The programme is being developed and piloted in De Beauvoir Town, Hackney and hosted by AEI Group. The programme brings together a network of creative and cultural organisations. Youth Charity, The Crib, therapeutic counsellors, The Counselling Space, music educators, Tileyard Impact, Business Management trainers, Make Happy and performing arts producers, Great British Carnival, Black Heroes Foundation and New Variety Lives.

What’s the best thing about working with CLOCK? 

My Clock colleagues and fellow peer mentors are brilliant to work with, and their level of expertise is awesome. Every time we deliver a programme, I always learn and discover more about my skills, competencies and experience. The best thing is being able to share the ability to have our life-wide knowledge, skills and experiences recognised and validated at the highest academic levels.

Share your CLOCK highlight. 

Coaching Paul Pacifico, Ade Adefolalu and Oli Morris. Listening to their reflections on their experiences and reading their portfolio evidence was quite literally a 360-learning experience, I had a masterclass from three-sector experts too!

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