Meet Vanessa Norman

Arts Director
InspirationZ Theatre

InspirationZ Theatre in Cambridgeshire provides a platform for at-risk young people to perform and develop their craft.

Founded by Vanessa Norman in 2008, the organisation’s primary focus is the personal development of young men and women. Services include bespoke productions; drama coaching, mentoring, self-development workshops and the chance to earn a nationally recognised qualification.

InspirationZ Theatre provides an invaluable opportunity for students to develop respect for themselves and others, as well as greater confidence in their own abilities.

Why did you decide to start InspirationZ Theatre?
The organisation was founded in 2008 as a theatre company with a difference. As a believer that each and every young person has the potential to succeed, I felt there was a need for opportunities for at-risk young people to work through their issues and at the same time earn a qualification.

What was your career path prior to starting InspirationZ Theatre?
During my second year at University I started working for a media company. I learnt a great deal that has helped me, however during this time I also realised just how much I wanted to work within theatre and with young people.

How did you come up with the name for your company?
A long brainstorming session with friends! It was temporary and then just stuck.

InspirationZ Theatre covers a number of initiatives and services, which ones are most in demand?
The assemblies and projects that incorporate the arts award, which is a nationally recognised qualification, are most in demand at present.

What have been the highlights of running your own business?
Learning every day and the sense of accomplishment are key highlights. During my teens running a business was my biggest fear! It was too big and too scary.

What is the hardest part of running your own business?
It is very lonely at times.

What has been your proudest moment to date?
My proudest moment was when all of my students achieved their arts award. The young people I worked with have been through all sorts of crazy stuff and for them to succeed after 12 weeks of grafting was just fantastic.

What are you working on at the moment? Can you describe your typical working day?
I am on maternity leave as I am about to have a baby any day now. My typical day at the moment consists of caring for my almost three year old son, looking after my home and running the business day to day. Phone calls, emails, admin as well as exploring new opportunities.

Are there any resources that have been particularly helpful for growing your business?
ELSBC (East London Small Business Centre). Google it! The most fabulous, useful and invaluable resource. If you are new to business, but serious, then this is a great place to start. There are small business centres in every area of the country apparently.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
Keep your head down and focus one step at a time.

What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
God and God alone.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a business in the arts?
Find your area. Ensure there is a need for what you are offering. You must have a heart for it.

What are your future goals for InspirationZ Theatre?
This can be summed up in our vision – to establish a Centre of Learning offering young people, particularly those who are vulnerable or socially excluded, the opportunity to gain experience and qualifications in every working area of theatre. We enable this through staging entertaining productions that will effect social and moral change.

For more information on InspirationZ Theatre please visit

Vanessa Norman was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.

Twenty Ten Club is a Best Business Blog Finalist at the 2010 Black Weblog Awards in the United States. If you enjoyed this post we’d appreciate your vote! If you’d like to vote for the Twenty Ten Club Blog you can do so here until August 31, 2010.

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