The Pioneering Producers
Gala Gordon & Isabella MacPherson
Actor Gala and producer Isabella have together created a non-profit theatre company and join us as Belmond Good Living Experience Makers. They believe that the key to a life well lived is creativity. Get to know Belmond’s Pioneering Producers.
Gala and Isabella are co-founders of Platform Presents, a non-profit theatre company which gives a platform to rising star talent. They are passionate in the belief that poetry and theatre can open your mind and calm your senses.
An Argentine-English actress, Gala had a flare for acting from a young age. She would raid her mother’s wardrobe for props and encourage friends to act out plays in her bedroom. She graduated from Guildhall School of Music & Drama before making her professional stage debut. She played the lead role of Irina in Benedict Andrews’ production of Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’ at London’s Young Vic. She has appeared on stage in 'The Blinding Light' at The Jermyn Street Theatre. Gala also featured in the ITV series ‘Endeavour', as Christine Keeler in 'The Crown', and in the films ‘Kids in Love’ and ‘White Island.’
Isabella started her career at M&C Saatchi before becoming a publisher. From here she became the Editor-in-Chief of ArtReview Magazine. Since 2003, Isabella worked with companies she co-founded to produce critically lauded rising star talent programmes. These sit alongside her art exhibitions & programmes, fashion programmes, artist in residence programmes, short films and theatrical productions. Isabella is a strategic advisor to the BFC Fashion Trust, the British Film Institute, and a Trustee of The Bush Theatre.
First introduced at a film premiere, Gala and Isabella immediately hit it off. They wanted to develop ideas, with a particular interest in female voices. Platform Presents was born.
The company aims to give actors, writers and directors the opportunity to meet, perform, learn and network with each other. There is a key focus on exceptional writing. They are known for producing star-studded poetry galas & literary events.
As Belmond Good Living Experience Makers, Gala and Isabella will curate an anthology of poems inspired by Belmond’s heritage of iconic trains. They will also host a special poetry workshop at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Sicily in 2020. It will take place on the hotel’s literary terrace, where DH Lawrence wrote the novel ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’.
What does Good Living mean to you?
Gala: Good Living, to me, means feeding your soul with culture and literature and laughing with your friends.
What is it that connects you to what you do?
Isabella: What connects us so purposefully to what we do is our deep passion and belief in it. Firstly, the power of words, theatre, television and film to communicate, to connect and to inspire and to tell really incredible stories. Secondly, the real need for a company with a particular emphasis on rising star talent and female talent.
What does being a Good Living Experience Maker mean to you?
Isabella: The Belmond brand is universally acknowledged as synonymous with luxury and quality so the opportunity to be part of this initiative gives us a chance to build and inspire people through words and of poetry.
What one thing would you do everyday, no matter where you are, to stay feeling great?
Gala: One thing that keeps me feeling great, that I could not live without, is exercise.
Isabella: So I am going to cheat and say two things that I could not live without. One would be exercise, the other would be writing.
Many great poets have been inspired by travel and landscapes. What is your inspiration?
Gala: Our inspiration is theatre, film, television, and great stories.
There are many of us who will never travel without a book. What would be your quintessential travel read?
Gala: One book I would take with me on every journey would be ‘Other Men’s Flowers’, a poetry anthology collected by Lord Wavell.
Isabella: I agree with Gala. On my mother’s bedside when I grew up there was this book that was always read to me as a child. It was ‘Other Men’s Flowers’, and this would be the one book I would need to travel with.
In your opinion, what is key to a productive poetry workshop?
Isabella: The key to a productive poetry workshop is definitely being open to other worlds, other ways of seeing and other ways of living.
What has been your most inspiring travel adventure?
Gala: The most inspiring travel adventure I have been on is hiking the Nilgiri Mountains in India.
Isabella: The most inspiring travel adventure I have been on was every summer of my childhood which I spent in Scotland, in the Highlands. My most happy times have been exploring, fishing and hiking around there.
Do you have any tips for people looking to write while travelling?
Isabella: I would suggest to read about the history and artists of the place you are travelling to so you can understand the culture, why a place is like this now, what informed and forms it. It is thrilling to find out the different historical narratives which make a place what it is now, the traditions, the buildings, the art, the food.
Gala: I was once told Hemmingway always said “Try and write 500 words a day”.
Belmond has hosted many literary figures throughout the ages. Which writer would you most love to have dinner with?
Gala: The literary figure Belmond has hosted that I would like to have dinner with is Oscar Wilde.
Isabella: The writer I would most love to have dinner with is Jane Austin because she is the mistress of character, the unsaid, wit and love.