‘Surrounded by live music’ – Naomi van den Broek

It’s well worth a visit to explore the UC Arts city location – and perhaps meet UC Arts City Campus Manager Naomi van den Broek along the way. She shares a little about a vibrant busy life, which is full of music both in the office and after hours.

It’s not often you read a position description for a job and think “that’s me!” but that’s what happened when I saw the role of UC Arts – City Location Manager advertised.  I love arts and I love education so to find a job that incorporates both of those, which also includes running over 200 public events a year, having a world class museum on site, and being surrounded by live music all day was a bit of a dream come true really. Working in the Arts Centre is nothing to be sniffed at either.

Arts Centre highlights – I’ve been in the role for a year now and some highlights include the staging of The Oresteia for last year’s Christchurch Arts Festival, the three exhibitions that have been on at the Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities, and seeing our talented music students perform alongside staff, professional musicians, and local high school students. The building is buzzing and no two days are quite the same.

I came into the role from a number of years spent in arts and not-for-profit fundraising. However, I’ve also had a 20 year history as a teacher of singing, performance and songwriting (I developed and taught songwriting at UC for a couple of years) as well as having a career as a singer, actress and pianist. Under the name Naomi Ferguson, I have done everything from large scale musicals and plays to festivals and concerts, both here in New Zealand and overseas.

As an independent artist, I primarily perform with my husband Alex van den Broek, a UC Alumni and former School of Music staff member. Alex is a well-known composer and arranger in New Zealand and plays piano, guitar and trumpet on our shows. We also write and record electronic music together under the name Speak Softly.

Slow fashion – some other fun facts about me are that I love to make my own clothes. Sewing is my number one hobby and most of my downtime is spent at my machine. I particularly like making clothes from second hand fabric (donations welcomed!) in support of the slow-fashion movement and to try and contribute as little to the huge quantities of textile waste polluting the planet every year. I also run a book club which is attended by a group of awesome women; some of my UC colleagues are regular attendees. We’ve been going strong for five years.

Top secret – in collaboration with UC colleagues, English Lecturer Dr Erin Harrington, and Head of School for Music Associate Professor Dr Glenda Keam, I am currently working on a really exciting piece of music and theatre for WORD Christchurch 2018. It’s top secret at the moment, but really worth keeping an eye out for once the festival programme is released later this year.

It’s been a great first year here at the Arts Centre site. If you haven’t come down for one of our concerts or to look through the museum yet, I encourage you to do so. We love seeing our Ilam colleagues down here, and given a few hours’ notice, I can usually arrange a look around the building.

Mā te wā.