We’ve had a few changes to our Board of Trustees over the last few months. Grant Brisland, Chair of the Board has departed for Australia (after staying longer to help us cope in the pandemic) and Jane Hytch and Sophie Atkinson have also moved on, after contributing so much to our development as a company. We’re delighted to welcome Penny Mayes as new Chair, with Michael Addison, Jalesh Sanchania and Claire Birch joining our current Board members, John Plant and Michael Sheath.
Penny Mayes has had a long and happy association with us as Creative Producer, and takes over from Grant as Chair. Penny spent 20 years as General Manager of Trestle Theatre Company, playing a major role in establishing Trestle as one of Britain’s leading theatre companies. She regularly assists performing arts companies in all aspects of performance arts management and company development and is a regular teacher on the MA and BA Arts Policy courses at Goldsmiths University.
Michael Addison is currently Head of Operations at ecobirmingham, a charity dedicated to encouraging sustainable living. He has a history of managing and performing with arts organisations including Figment Theatre (an educational theatre company), Faulty Optic (puppetry), Tell Tale Hearts Theatre and Compagnie Animotion (France). Michael is looking forward to supporting us grow and respond to the environmental challenges and demands of international touring ahead.
Claire Birch has over 15 years' experience as a theatre producer working across small to large scale and across the UK. She is currently a producer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme. Prior to this she was a producer for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Associate Producer at English Touring Theatre and a freelance producer. She has worked for the Rifco, Royal Court Theatre, Jackson’s Lane and The Albany, Deptford.
Jalesh Sanchania is currently Connect Advisor for the national charity, Motor Neurone Disease Association. Before this, she was End of Life Carer Lead for the Worcestershire Association of Carers. Her wide knowledge of the health and care sectors, in particular end of life care, is invaluable to our work within these sectors.
John Plant spent eighteen years travelling the length and breadth of the country working with performance arts organisations and touring theatre companies in every conceivable community context. In 1996, he completed a PGCE and stayed in education for the next twenty-five years. Throughout his teaching career he passionately promoted arts in education with an unswerving belief in freedom of expression for young people. Part of this was to develop a long standing relationship with Vamos Theatre which has continued into retirement and beyond!
Michael Sheath worked as a probation officer for ten years before joining The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a charity which seeks to prevent child sexual abuse by working with offenders and their families. The Foundation runs a confidential helpline, Stop it Now!, for individuals concerned about their own or another's sexual thoughts and behaviours.
The combined experience of our Board gives us incredible support as we grow as a company, especially in responding to the ongoing pandemic and climate crisis. We are delighted and honoured to have such an amazing team with us.