Emma Whitenstall

Dazzling director // Hardcore veggie

I was immersed in the magical world of thrift first as a punter and now, from the other side, I make sure the festival delivers its new perspectives on serious climate change messages in its own unique way. In our house, we’ve made the shift to vegetarianism, but there’s always more to do - a battered old armchair in my bedroom corner is primed for an up-cycle!


Stella Hall

Director extraordinaire // Seasoned thrifter

It’s so rewarding to see the Festival bring people together and forge new connections to build a creative community. I am constantly surprised by the unexpected perspectives of artists I encounter; having Graeme Miller lead me through Kirkleatham wood until I could gaze through the trees made me see the world in a totally new light. I am a hugely creative thrifter myself, but have admittedly shied away from growing my own food - time to surprise myself with some wonky veg!

Stella Hall Profile Shot

Cara Pringle

Marketing Magician // Secondhand champion

Working for the festival has changed my life and the rewards are endless! Working with a passionate team of freelancers who believe we can make a difference together is a wonderful experience. Before the pandameic I started shopping second hand and I am hoping to continue this it really opened my eyes to the amount of waste the fashion industry produces. Seeing my children pick up hammers, nails and create a rocket out of pallets in 2019 was one of my highlights.

FOT 2020 Brotton-cara

Emma & Vik

Beach Combers // Web Wizards

Working alongside a team that is full of passionate, kind and inspiring women is one of the best things about ThriftFest. We are passionate about keeping our local beaches clean! Our fave festival memory is taking Emma’s sister along with us and getting involved in a dance off in the middle of a field with the folk dance remix group! They had their own beat boxer (who was amazing) and Sophie loved being able to let loose and have a dance with us both. We’ll never forget how much fun she had and the smile on her face afterwards!


Maddie Maughan

Perfecting Producer // Kintsugi connoisseur

For me, the festival is made by its loyal audience and we always bring together such a brilliantly diverse mix of people! In 2020 especially, seeing the community join again and wave as we paraded by (if only from windows) was very special. Just as we up-cycled our festival, I’d love to try Kintsugi, the art of repairing pottery with metallic lacquer, making it more special than before.

Maddie Maughan

Jo Deans

Graphics genius // Waste warrior

As a freelancer, the Festival is a rare joy to develop designs for a project long-term and feel such team-spirit behind the work, championed by the inspiring Stella Hall. The yearly originality of new performances, alongside the comfort of favourites like the marching bands, is a wonder! It’s inspired me to test my own originality and turn my design skills to making a thrifty food tips guide.

FOT 2020 Brotton-Jo

Tracy Kidd

Fab photographer // Budding gardener

I love capturing families at the festival, when kids are laughing and that infectious sense of excitement spreads to the parents who let loose and be silly! It’s often the musicians that build our spirited atmosphere that I want visitors to be reminded of - I think a special way to do that would be for visitors to take home their own seedling to watch blossom.

Tracy Kid Festival Photographer

Emma Wheetman & Rachel Laycock

Partners in Community // Award adventurers

Working in the team is so rewarding as we build our role and tune into how we can support the festival. Back in 2018, we both recall the delight of offering the Arts Award, even from a ‘borrowed’ sausage venders’ gazebo! Our new thrift ventures are equally award-worthy, for me (Emma) it’s a reclaiming of our garden from my hoarding-husband and for me (Rachel) it’s breathing new life into some recycled plastics.

Rachel Laycock and Emma Wheetman Festival of Thrift Community Managers 2

Simon Preston

Food Guru // Keen chicken-keeper

Over my time with the festival, I’ve watched it grow into something really beautiful, with more people warmly embracing it. At our community meal, ‘The Town is the Menu’, it’s always a special moment to see one hundred smiling people sit at one sunflower bedecked table. Next on my plate is a thrifty activity I’ve had my eye on for a while - chicken keeping!

Simon Preston

Rachel Smith

Particularly Remarkable PR // Inspired Fixer

I’m always getting the word out about the festival, but love seeing people’s faces when they realise that it’s even better than what they’d heard! How could you ever describe the wonders of an Atonement re-enactment, a lung cleaning station, a poetic story told in dramatic silhouette, or a thriftfest catwalk? I’m continually inspired, and next is to turn my hand to my own ‘Fix It’ projects, inspired by our own digital Cafe!

Rachel Smith

Kate James

Savvy stalls & wonderful workshops // Itching to try D.I.Y

I love the ‘cut and thrust’ of delivering our festival. With such a diverse site, you need to be a dynamic problem-solver and enjoy fire-fighting! Thrift is all about the people: the delight of chatting with traders and punters about Thrifty products and watching people leave happy - it all gives me the itch to throw myself into the action!

Kate James