As Arafest is the family friendly festival, my wife Joanne and I, thought it would be a great idea to involve our three children as patrons of our charity to always make sure it’s vision and purpose stay true to how it all started.
We hope that the future will be in their hands one day and they continue to support the great work the existing committee members have so brilliantly executed.
Laura is the oldest and her passion for the arts, equal rights and children’s charities drive her relentlessly every day. Her bio will tell you her story, but my story is a lady who is strong-willed, an amazing loyal friend and a fantastic daughter.
We move onto Robert, who is the most humble, sincere and polite individual a parent could ever wish for. His passion is to give back to the young budding actors of Hull, and hopefully one day, the chance to perform on stage or screen. His dream is to have his own theatre of some description, his talent is unquestionable and his work ethic admirable.
Our Youngest is Charleigh. She lights up the room with her personality and again like her sister is a true and loyal friend to those around her. Her passion is to succeed in the arena of criminology but music makes her tick and festivals are her thing.
Needless to say that we are very proud of our children.
Laura started her professional acting career at the age of 13, in the Hull Truck Theatre play, Under the Whaleback, and soon became a firm favourite on the stage, appearing in Slavers, Kes and Animal Farm.
She went on to achieve a First-Class Honour's degree and was quickly snapped up to appear in Stags and Hens, Ladies Day and many other productions including, a full year on tour with Anita and Me and Shakers.
Laura also played the lead role in Hulls City of Culture play Dancing through the Shadows. She has intertwined her stage career with TV work, with roles in Emmerdale, Coronation Street and So Awkward, before appearing alongside her brother Robert in Behind Her Eyes, the blockbuster hit for Netflix which went to number 1 in 54 different countries.
Laura has now put her acting career on a temporary hold, whilst she embarks on her lifelong dream of studying to become a Midwife, and is now studying at the renowned, Kings College London.
Like her siblings Laura recognises the responsibilities for carrying on the great work Arafest does. She has been fortunate to attend most of our events and plays a hands on role at each. Indeed she has appeared on stage several times singing alongside some of the areas most talented artists.
Robert’s acting career began at the age of seven when he played the role of Bugsy Malone in a primary school production. When he was ten years old he joined the Hull Truck Youth Theatre, performing in about three plays a year. His elder sister Laura also began an acting career at the Hull Truck Youth Theatre.
Rob attended Wyke College in Hull and in 2011 won a place at the prestigious The Juilliard School in New York City. His lead character performance as Alex in a Juilliard production of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, earned him his first film role in the Italian-American film Lost in Florence.
From 2016 to 2017 he played the role of young Eddard Stark in the 6th and 7th season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Rob then played the role of mechanical engineer and Harley-Davidson co-founder William S. Harley in Harley and the Davidsons, which premiered in September 2016, on Discovery Channel. Also that year, he appeared in the acclaimed Tom Ford film Nocturnal Animals. He also had a role in another HBO mini series Lewis and Clark.
He then went on to appear in The Empty Man, directed by David Prior, The Incident at Sparrow Creek Lumber directed by Henry Dunham and Eternal Beauty, directed by Craig Roberts.
In August 2019, it was announced that Robert had been cast in the Netflix psychological thriller series, Behind Her Eyes.
With his growing reputation, it was announced in January 2020 that Rob had been cast as a character referred to as Beldor, but later revealed to be Elrond in Amazon Prime’s ‘billion dollar’ series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Although Rob understandably cannot make it to every Arafest event, he does check-in to see how he can support or do his bit and is always delighted to see how much people enjoy themselves and is genuinely moved by how much Arafest contributes and the difference we make to our chosen charities.
Charleigh is the youngest of Mike and Joanne's children.
She has recently completed her degree at Hull University in criminology, being awarded, a 'First'.
After initially working for Beverley Council, Charleigh has just embarked on her preferred career path, becoming a social worker assistant, with the Young People at Heart organisation, a role that she is finding hugely rewarding.
Charleigh intends to progress her career with the ultimate goal of following in her mothers footsteps and becoming a Social Worker.
Away from her career she loves music, film and especially festivals, so it goes without saying she has a deep love and passion for Arafest and the great causes that we support.