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8:00 AM 1st December 2019

10 In 10: Chris Simes Of Holmfirth-Based Collingwood Learning

In this exclusive feature we put a northern business professional in the hot seat and give them 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions. Here, we hear from Chris Simes, MD of Holmfirth-based theatre in education company, Collingwood Learning.

What does a typical working day for you involve?

Most of my working hours are filled by several conference calls with different international partners to discuss the planning and delivery of creative projects across the globe. On top of that – and the general day-to-day business admin – I also review scripts and chat with the team to explore different, creative, ways to deliver our programme.

What makes your company special?

I imagine, it’s that we look at education in a creative way. We’re trying to help people learn by engaging with them emotionally though theatre and video, in a bid to tackle negative behaviour and attitudes which affect young people the world over.

Do you have any business rules that you swear by?

Being honest and friendly with everyone I meet. These days, people want their professional partners to be personable and friendly, in order to foster a genuine relationship.

Do you dress up or down for work?

Down! I don’t know whether that’s because of the nature of what we do, but I feel that smart/casual is completely fine and appropriate.

What piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Feel the fear and do it anyway! My attitude now – compared to when I was younger – is ‘there is always a way’. I’m very much of the opinion that you should say yes to everything and find a way to make it work.
In truth, I wish I’d been less fearful from an early age. The Smashed Project would never have happened if I’d been scared of the unknown – the responsibility and international travel! And yes, in the beginning it felt impossible, but I’ve found that people the world over are always willing to help you.

Chris Simes
Chris Simes

What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?

I love the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It’s a great space, and a place where your senses are piqued and you’re introduced to lots of stimulus. Spending a few hours there helps me to think differently – both creatively and entrepreneurially – and gives me the headspace to focus.

How do you prefer to travel for business?

I’d have to say by aeroplane, but that’s mainly because my role sees me travel across the globe and to some incredibly diverse countries. I love getting on a flight, because it gives me an excuse to turn my phone off and lose myself in a good book.

What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?

I love walking in the Pennies and beside the reservoirs with my partner. Living in Holmfirth, we’re so lucky to have such beautiful scenery on our doorstep. I enjoy breathing the fresh air and taking in the views – they never get old!

Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?

There’s a lovely restaurant called Mezze in Holmfirth, which is owned by a friend of mine. It’s completely relaxed and intimate, but at the same time really friendly and buzzy! It provides a great place to escape with a glass of wine, a bowl of Gigantes – butter beans with tomato and feta..

What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you are away?

I’m away a lot, and whenever I come home, I’m always desperate for a ‘proper’ cup of tea and a portion of fish and chips!