Meet each of the Union Street in-house team below!
- Roop Sagar – Co-founder, Head of Media
Hi I’m Roop, co-founder of Union Street.
I am born and bred in Old Trafford Manchester and grew up watching my Grandfather fight for political and cultural rights for minorities in the UK and succeed. I feel that my life experiences, travelling and upbringing has contributed to my understanding of people and places, complex issues and the interconnected facets of life.
I studied Media Technology at Salford University then worked at Sky TV. Although these were vital experiences, something was still missing for me. Wanting to combine my passion for filmmaking with travel, I teamed up with a crew in India to work on a documentary to raise awareness of the ancient cultural practices of a remote village in the foothills of the Himalayas. I realised I wanted to use my skills to document real issues and stories to inspire people and the world around me.After meeting Natasha in early 2008, we realised we could combine our energies to create something powerful and so we joined forces to create Union Street Media Arts. I now work with a variety of clients to produce and direct creative projects; films and campaigns that strategically position organisations, that raise awareness on a number of social issues and that market and promote businesses to target audiences.
- Natasha Boojihawon – Co-founder & Managing Director
Hi I’m Natasha, co-founder of Union Street.
With a colourful upbringing and background and an 11 year work history in healthcare, the entertainment industry, social development and the arts, culture and digital media sector, 6 year academic backing in Art, Politics and International Development, I have a diverse range of experiences. I have been brought up in Saudi Arabia, my roots are in Mauritius and have lived in the UK for 15 years.
I love working on things that just make sense, like having a voice, raising awareness, campaigning for natural health and equality. Its more of a lifestyle, and because I think this way, I’m incredibly dedicated. I often lecture at universities, coach and mentor on a range of topics such as setting up creative business, informal education and natural health.My passion is, among other topics, firmly on film for action – campaigning about some of the most pressing issues facing people today.
Going beyond observational anthropology to portray stories authored by real people is a core part of my process and not to be compromised. As a producer and director I take no prisoners and will not jeopardise ethics, morals or quality. I set up Union Street with Roop Sagar so we could create a small space where we can have a big impact on the rapidly changing world around us and inspire lasting change.
- Chan Wickramaratne – Producer, Editor, Cameraman
My name is Chan, (the surname’s too long to mention) and i’m one of the Producers here at Union Street. The quick version of what lead me here is that I trained in all aspects of film and television production at a production company based in Yorkshire called ARTTS International Productions. The next stage of my journey was becoming an editor for Sky television, where I remained for several years.
I’ve been lucky enough to fit my work around one of my passions which is travel and having reached a point where I wanted to broaden my skills and experience I felt it was time to move on from Sky, but not before one last proper backpacking trip. So with a little help from Top Gear, I chose Vietnam where I had an amazing time. got myself an authentic hat….and someone who would become my wife…..life is funny that way 🙂
On my return I knew I wanted to remain home in Manchester and over a drink in the pub a friend mentioned she knew these people who ran their own production company and I should get in touch. So here I am. As they say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and it’s gone so fast I’ve no idea how long I’ve been here and it definitely has been fun.
- Jean van Vlorop – Accounts
I am originally from Germany where I lived for 26 years and studied Business Administration with the majors Management Accounting and Computer Business Science. Through an internship I had the possibility to move to Amsterdam and stayed there finally for ten years. I loved cycling through the city but after some years and fluently speaking Dutch, I wanted to explore a new city and moved across the channel to Manchester not leaving my bike behind.
I like to handle the financial administration and planning of a company following and supporting the development of it. Besides work and cycling I like playing table tennis, listening to music and exploring the North-West.
- Adam Webb – Website Designer & Builder
Hello, I’m Adam. A Londoner from birth, I have now lived the majority of my life in the North of England, mainly in and around Manchester. After studying Film & Broadcast Media at University, I have picked up quite an array of skills in my varied career and can count being a butcher, fishmonger, chef & charity shop manager amongst my experience.
I’m a self-taught web designer having started out web designing in the charitable sector. I quickly developed a portfolio of websites and combined this experience with with my knowledge of marketing and business development to create a bespoke service for companies. I can help companies develop their online business or reach out to new audiences and how to make websites work for people.I have a passion for food and have recently developed a love of photography. I am a bit obsessed with formula one motor racing, most sports in fact, and love reading as much and as widely as I possibly can.
- Scott Row – Graphic Designer & Illustrator
My name is Scott and I’m from Manchester. I studied Graphic design at the University of Salford and have worked for various creative agencies and as a freelance artist and graphic designer.
I’ve been with Union Street since 2010 and have guided the creative development of the company.I enjoy the challenge of a new brief, generating ideas and creating imaginative images. My style uses a hand-drawn, illustrated feel, is distinctive and inspired from life situations, cities, buildings, natural objects and more.
I am passionate about making images that challenges the viewer and grabs their attention.
- Zoe Zontou – Drama Practitioner & Adviser
I’m Zoe Zontou, Creative Director & Adviser at Union Street. I have been involved in developing and delivering projects as well as advising on creative work since early 2011.I joined Liverpool Hope University in September 2011 to teach Creative and Performing Arts, Drama and Drama and Theatre Studies, having just completed my Ph.D in Applied Theatre at the University of Manchester. I recently became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
I have taught at a number of universities as well as being actively involved in designing and conducting projects with diverse community groups such as the homeless, inmates, problem drug users, and young people at-risk in various locations.My principal research interests lie in the field of applied theatre and social change. In particular, my professional practice and research centres on applied theatre as a tool to promote social inclusion in marginalised and vulnerable communities.
- Anthony Downer - Community & Youth Worker
I’m passionate most about facilitating human growth and development through innovative interaction and offering informed choices; mentoring, community & youth work, training, advice, guidance and support are some of the area I have successfully use this approach. I’m a qualified Social Worker with expertise in a range of areas such as child protection, residential care and gangs. I now also work in the areas of community development, youth work, education, radio production and creative writing. My relaxed and non-judgmental style has given me access, often denied to others, allowing me to develop relationships of trust as the essential prelude to progress. My organisation Nii (Not In It) first worked with Union Street in 2010 while delivering a Black Boys Project called RIPPLE and worked with them again on the prolific Girls in Gangs project. I love working with Union Street because of our like-mindedness and shared values of integrity and professionalism.
- Rosarie Walsh - Drama Facilitator
Hi I’m Rosarie a freelance drama facilitator and Co-Artistic Director of Tandem Theatre. I was born and grew up in Cork, Ireland, before spending 4 years travelling and working in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. I’ve lived in Manchester since 2009. I have a degree in Marketing Management and an MA in Applied Theatre. I began working as a freelance drama facilitator in 2009 and then went on to set up my own company Tandem Theatre,a not-for-profit organisation,(www.tandemtheatre.com) in 2012. I work with the vulnerable marginalised and socially excluded young people and adults in our communities, using drama as a tool for change. My passion is people and giving them a voice. I have worked with Union Street since 2011 and worked as one of the Lead artist on their “Girls and Gang’s” project.
- Roshan Boojihawon – Business Strategist
I’m the Director of the Undergraduate Business and Professional Development (UBPD) programme at the Open University Business School. I have been teaching, consulting, publishing and coaching on strategy and management for the past 20 years. I am particularly interested in understanding how organisations can grow and contribute towards social and practical values whilst balancing market dynamics at local and global levels. Union Street is one such organisation that is driven by such ethos and this makes me want to be part of it every step of the way.
When I have the time, I draw may attention to seek insights, inspiration and solace from spiritual philosophies (largely drawn from the ancient scripts of the Vedas), pondering and probing on the meanings of the life of us, our actions and our society.
- James Meehan – Film maker
I’m James, a volunteer film-maker working on a documentary looking at how and why people become homeless.
I have a lot of interest in the media, I watch and listen to a lot of radio and television news and current affairs. I like to learn about how other people live in the world, it gives me a good understanding about our world and the people in it.
I came to Union Street Media through a community computer recycling project in Hulme where I met both Natasha and Roop. I made a film for the first ever Manchester Day festival and was a reporter interviewing members of the public. My background is in adult education, training and volunteering in the local community where I live.