Mike Pony is a Manchester based curator, producer and artist. He is known nationally for his work developing commissions, projects, festivals and events which collide performance, music, immersive arts and digital installation. Mike is artistic and executive director of Submerge, and works as a producer for Factory International. He formerly ran event brands Horseplay and Eat Sleep Drag Repeat.
Mike has a unique curatorial approach, creating opportunities for audiences to engage with cutting edge and experimental arts by presenting artists and artworks in accessible formats, immersive environments, and unusual locations. He is interested in working with artists to develop challenging artistic cross-disciplinary work at the boundaries of contemporary arts and performance.
Mike is the director of Submerge Festival, which has held editions in Bristol in 2016 and 2019, and in Manchester in 2022. Submerge is a UK based arts organisation who produce a biennial festival of immersive arts from the edges. Submerge focus on presenting radical artworks which are difficult to define by single genre; a mix of liveart and body-based performance, immersive theatre, sound, club performance, electronic music, audiovisual and digital arts.
Submerge present visceral, challenging arts, made by diverse artists from all walks of life, with specific focus on creating opportunities for artists from under represented backgrounds. The CTRL programme (Creative Technology Research Labs) co-produced with The Lowry created opportunities for 14 Greater Manchester based performance artists to learn from 6 inspiring creative technology artists, over a 6 month artist development programme.
Submerge is a resident of Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed Bristol.
Mike is a producer at Factory International, delivering projects such as KAGAMI (Tin Drum) and We Cut Through Dust (Blast Theory) at Manchester International Festival 2023 as well as working on projects in early development for future events. He has also produced events and projects for Brighter Sound, In Between Time and Bristol Pride.
Mike has commissioned a range of works, including immersive audiovisual installation All Things Equal by Rebecca Smith Urban Projections and Loraine James, The Storm by Playmodes, and a new soundtrack by ILĀ (fka Anil Sebastian) for Cygnus by Loomaland. He is currently working on an R&D project for a new immersive work on air pollution and the climate emergency.
Mike was creative director and DJ at LGBT clubnight Horseplay, a queer-art-disco-club described by The Guardian as “Bristol’s best gay dance party”. Horseplay presented experimental performance in a club format from 2011 to 2018.
Eat Sleep Drag Repeat
Mike was director and CEO of Eat Sleep Drag Repeat from 2015 to 2022, presenting and touring artists from RuPaul’s Drag Race. ESDR presented high quality, conceptual guest performances from UK artists alongside drag race stars, creating opportunities for audiences to experience political and unconventional drag alongside more mainstream performance.
Eat Sleep Drag Repeat
Mike is an accredited coach, trained by Relational Dynamics 1st, who provide coaching and leadership training for individuals and organisations working in the creative, cultural and non-profit sectors in the UK and with NGO’s internationally. The Relational Dynamics approach draws on theories and tools from a wide range of sources including coaching, emotional intelligence and contemporary research into leadership.
Get In Touch
Mike works in collaboration with producers, designers, artists, performers, festivals and venues to realise commissions, projects and events. He has worked as a producer for organisations such as Bristol Pride, In Between Time, Christmas Spiegeltent, Bristol Harbour Festival, Brighter Sound and Factory International. Get in touch!