Theatre is the art of looking at ourselves (Augusto Boal)
I grew up in the East Riding and my earliest memories are of Saturday morning dance and drama classes and performing in local festivals and school productions. I became a member of the National Youth Theatre when I was 16 years old and went on to read Drama at The University of Manchester when I was 18 years old.
Alongside my aspirations of becoming a professional actor, my degree course also introduced me to the teachings of Applied Theatre, in particular, within the community, prisons and places of war. I came to understand how the arts can be used to make the world a better place by aiding the personal, social, political and learning development of individuals and communities.
Following university, I co-founded Northern Lights Drama Theatre School, providing high quality teaching and support to young people across Hull and East Yorkshire. I was a founding member of She Productions and became a Trustee when the company formed as a CIO in 2020. It is an honour to be able to support these talented women who I also call my friends and I feel very lucky to still be a part of the She story, championing the charity’s innovative new work for the stage, online and within the local community.
I have been a member of the SHE Productions Board of Trustees since it achieved
charitable status in 2020 and I feel privileged to support and guide the amazing work this charity does.
Originally from Derbyshire, I moved to the East Riding 20 years ago for work and have lived in Beverly ever since. This place, that was meant to be temporary, has become somewhere I’m proud to call home. I live here with my husband and I have two grown up step sons. My mother and Sisters still live in Derbyshire and I frequently travel back to visit them, and to take in the hills before returning to East Riding’s big skies.
I am an Occupational Therapist, having qualified in 2001, and I currently work for the NHS and MacMillan in a Specialist Palliative Care team working in the community. I am deeply passionate about my work and I’m immensely proud to work with my dedicated colleagues. To relax, I crochet and needle felt, and spend time with my friends and family.
“My claim to fame is that I was on the TV programme ‘Junior Showtime’ in 1972.”
Born in Dundee, I am the eldest child of a Scottish Obstetrician and a Canadian Teacher. My journey in healthcare began in 1986 when I earned my qualification as a registered nurse, followed by becoming a midwife in 1989. After a fulfilling career, I decided to retire in 2021, granting my husband Jonathan and me the opportunity to embark on a leisurely journey through the picturesque canals of France aboard our beloved boat, “Options”.
My passion for the world of theatre and the arts traces its roots back to my childhood. I can vividly recall standing outside the stage door of The Hull New Theatre on Saturday afternoons, eagerly waiting for autographs, after my dance lessons at the Vera Skelton Dance School. My love for dance was rekindled in 1993 when my daughter, Samantha, joined Fleur Elizabeth Academy of Dance (FEAD).
When East Riding Theatre (ERT) opened its doors in 2014, I felt an instant connection to this exceptional theatre and absolutely loved the work of She Productions, attending all of their shows as Company in Residence at ERT. I earned the affectionate title of "SHE groupie," a nickname coined by my son Matthew!
It was a humbling and flattering moment when I was approached to become a Trustee of She Productions. I am excited about the future and the opportunity to support the charity’s outreach projects, family shows and female led productions.
When I'm not exploring the waterways of France, I live in Beverley with my husband Jonathan. I take great pleasure in looking after and spending quality time with our two grandsons, Charlie and Hugo. In my spare time, you can often find me savouring delicious meals with friends, harmonising with the ‘All For One Choir’, or swaying to the rhythms of Salsa, dancing with Jonathan.
You could say my passion for all things theatre started at 3 months old when I had the
starring role of Baby Jesus in a school nativity. My older sister informed her teacher she had a real baby at home who could play the part, and she promptly got promoted from an angel to Mary!!
I was born and raised in Cleethorpes, and continued performing with Stage Youth Theatre, both at home and over in Germany, until I left for Manchester Metropolitan University to study Contemporary Arts (Dance/Drama). The arts became a career when I toured schools and colleges as an actor and facilitator in numerous Theatre in Education tours before taking a break and traveling the world with my backpack!
Returning to the UK I was over the moon to join the team at Hull Truck Theatre, a place I will always hold dear. In my (almost) 10 years there I made some amazing friends, gained my CIPD qualification, met my husband and became a mum.
Becoming a parent, and losing a parent my outlook changed. I decided on a big career move and made HR my focus. I am currently the Senior HR Advisor at Groupe Atlantic (Ideal Boilers), a role I love and am passionate about.
I am thrilled to be joining the Board of Trustees at She Productions. The Company’s values really resonate with me as they are ethics and morals which I try to adopt in my daily life and my career.
My mum enrolled me in speech and drama lessons from a very young age and my
amazing teacher instilled in me a love of drama and theatre that has always stayed with me. I loved performing poetry and prose and a big treat was going to Hull New Theatre to see a show. As my sisters and I grew older our parents started taking us to musicals in London and I watched agog as the actors and actresses transported us into different worlds.
After becoming a teacher, I ran an after school drama club with two of my colleagues. We had great fun sharing acting techniques and performance skills with the children, although I have to admit to finding the weeks just before a performance just a little stressful! Sadly, the other pressures of the job led to the drama club folding but it still great to hear from ex pupils what an impact the club had on them.
Whilst visiting ‘Beverley Does Broadway’ by She Productions at the East Riding Theatre in Beverley, I heard the appeal for She trustees and this sparked my interest. On looking further into the ethos behind She productions, that spark was fanned even further and I applied for the role. I am sure you can imagine my delight on being accepted as a trustee and I cannot wait to be involved.
My enthusiasm for the transformative power of storytelling and drama has been a constant companion throughout my life. As a child, "Jackanory" captured my imagination, instilling a lifelong preference for the spoken word over the written page. I have fond memories of my mum reading to me "The Swish of the Curtain" by Pamela Brown, a tale of young people establishing a community theatre. Those stories seeded dreams of treading the boards myself although, sadly my foray into acting didn't progress beyond the part of “coal truck” in a school nativity play.
For me there is nothing quite like the escapism of theatre, I can still vividly recall the thrill of seeing my first play on a rainy holiday at a tiny theatre on the end of a pier, Agatha Christie's "A Murder is Announced.” For my eighteenth birthday instead of a party, I chose the spellbinding experience of the Royal Shakespeare Company's "Much Ado About Nothing" in Stratford.
Throughout my career in Leadership and Talent Development, I have harnessed the power of drama and collaborated with actors to transform the way we develop future leaders. By weaving theatrical techniques into learning programs, I have seen the remarkable effect that role-playing and keen observation have on enhancing communication skills, such as giving feedback or navigating difficult conversations. This innovative approach has not only created a safe space for personal and professional growth but has also highlighted the unparalleled value of drama as an effective learning tool.
Relocating to Beverley three years ago marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Without familiar faces around, I found fun and friendship through the Beverley Westwood Women's Institute (WI). This vibrant group became my gateway to the rich cultural tapestry of theatre, comedy, and music events available in the area. It was through a WI trip to see Beverley Does Broadway that I first encountered SHE Productions. I was immediately struck by their remarkable talent, ambitious vision, and the significant impact of their outreach efforts and promotion of actors in the North of England. I was thrilled when the opportunity presented to join their journey as a Trustee and I am excited to contribute to their continued success.