The woman who wants to put the buzz back into Carnival Arts

UKCCA chief executive Lisa Marie Trump
UKCCA chief executive Lisa Marie Trump

New carnival arts boss Lisa Marie Trump still can’t believe she’s landed her dream job at the age of 39.

“Being chief executive of the UK Centre for Carnival Arts embraces all the things I love and ties in with everything I’ve done so far,” she explains.

A fast talking blonde with three identical silver piercings in each ear, she holds a degree in costume design from Wimbledon School of Art and has worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Glyndbourne, to name but two of the illustrious credentials on her CV.

She’s worked with David Tennant – “fascinating actor, great sense of humour and very intense on stage” – and Judi Dench – “an absolutely lovely person.”

Lisa’s last post was with Shape, a disability-led arts organisation.

“I was looking for something that was a bit more of a challenge and then this came along,” she smiles.

“We’re a national body with a local heart. I see the Centre as an incubation hub, a natural launch pad for creative people who are just getting their careers off the ground.

“It has a really important role in the local community, representing other arts organisations and supporting their growth.”

She added: “This venue is unique – I want to see it buzzing.

“There’s so much we can do with it and when the couryard comes alive, it reminds you of how the Centre is meant to be.”

Linslade-based Lisa is also Luton’s latest cheerleader.

She says: “Any diverse town has its tensions but there are so many good things like Mela, the St Patrick’s Day parade and Carnival – that’s how inclusive Luton is.

“And the food is amazing! So not only do you have music and dance but the streets are full of delicious smells – there’s nothing you can’t get.”

Lisa originally came to Luton in the 1990s on what she calls “a hat pilgrimage.’

“I can’t believe how different and how much safer it feels now,” she says. “The redevelopment has been quite remarkable.”

Her hobbies include portrait and still life painting. She also owns a narrow boat she laughingly refers to as ‘HMS DIY SOS.’

“I retrained in Roses and Castles, which is narrow boat folk art,” she said. “My style before then was big and expansive; it made me re-focus on detail.”

She’s full of energy and enthusiasm for the task ahead, applying for Art Council funding one day and attending a circus workshop in London the next.

This year’s carnival – the first to be produced in its entirety by UKCCA – is on Sunday, May 25.

The theme is ‘We are what we are’ and Lisa believes it’s an accurate reflection of Luton and its diverse community.