At Tobacco Factory Theatres we are well supported by a fantastic board of trustees. Please see biographies below.
SARAH SMITH (CHAIR)
Sarah is a professional business manager, with over 30 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors. As a Director of Elev8Ltd she currently specialises in management consultancy, business development and project management working in the private and public sectors. Prior to this her roles included Development Manager, General Manager and, for three years, CEO of the Bristol Old Vic as well as being General Manager of the Hall for Cornwall Trust. Sarah was Project Director for the Redevelopment of Bristol Old Vic’s Georgian auditorium, rehearsal rooms and back of house completed in 2012.
Bertel’s experience of the arts covers a wide range of areas including literature, theatre and dance. His past roles include working for the Yardstick Black Writers Festival, the Bristol Old Vic, Kuumba, Circomedia and the Plymouth International Book Festival. He is currently the Director of Bristol publishers, City Chameleon which supports emerging creative writers from a range of cultural and social perspectives. His current role involves commissioning, designing and publishing books and promoting live literature events and theatre.
David has been involved in theatre finance and administration for over thirty years at RSC, Royal Exchange, Manchester, and a number of other regional subsidised theatres. Ten years ago he joined the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School as Finance Director and amongst other things set up the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Friends organisation and became involved and interested in the theatre life of Bristol. He now works part-time in education in Bristol and is involved in other freelance education work.
Andrew is an Intellectual Property Partner at the international law firm DAC Beachcroft LLP with 17 years of experience and has been a Trustee since 2014. He deals with a wide range of media businesses and has particular experience in picture licensing, parody based filming and brand exploitation.
Mark is the Managing Director of Simpleweb, a Bristol-based studio creating digital products for start-ups and companies that want to act like start-ups. Over the years he has solved problems for a range of clients from Banksy to BP. Mark has over 20 years’ experience in the digital sector and specialises in product delivery, digital marketing, and simplifying technology.
Anna enjoyed a long and varied career in the cultural sector, initially at Tate Gallery, then as Director of the National Museums of Wales, and ultimately Chief Executive of MLA, the Museums Libraries and Archives Council. Since 1975 she has served on the boards of a number of grant making bodies, both independent and in the public sector. She chaired the Barrow Cadbury Trust from 1996 to 2006, and remains their Lead Trustee for the Young Adults and Criminal Justice programme. Having joined the board in 2006, Anna served as Vice Chair of Big Lottery Fund from 2008 to 2014. She has also enjoyed a number of roles with arts organisations. These currently include Chair of Arnolfini, Bristol’s contemporary arts centre, and Vice Chair of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
Kate McGrath co-founded Fuel in 2004 with Louise Blackwell to produce fresh work for adventurous people by inspiring artists. Fuel is a producing organisation working in partnership with some of the most exciting theatre artists in the UK to develop, create and present new work for all. Fuel is currently working with artists and companies including Will Adamsdale, Clod Ensemble, Inua Ellams, Fevered Sleep, Lewis Gibson, David Rosenberg, Sound&Fury, Uninvited Guests and Melanie Wilson. Based at Somerset House, Fuel produces work across the UK and internationally, on a variety of scales and across art forms, for as wide and diverse an audience as possible.
Prior to Fuel, Kate was a Producer at Battersea Arts Centre, freelance producer and director, and arts and features journalist for The Scotsman. Kate was awarded a Stage One Producer’s Bursary in 2005, and the Theatre Fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme in 2008. Kate was a 2009 British Council UK Performing Arts Entrepreneur and nominated as one of the top 50 ‘Women to Watch’. Kate is currently a Trustee of the JMK Trust and Chair of the Board of Camden People’s Theatre.
Now retired, Chris is a Chartered Accountant who qualified with Touche Ross (now Deloitte UK) in early 1980s. He worked since as Finance Director for some well-known local companies, including Bakers Dolphin and Brandon Hire PLC; he co owns an equipment hire business. Having had a long-term interest in education, Chris was a governor of Cadbury Heath Primary School and later John Cabot City Technology College (now John Cabot Academy). After a short spell working in London, he became FD of City Academy, Bristol and retired from that position in 2014. As well as Tobacco Factory Theatres, Chris is a Trustee of At-Bristol and is keen to explore developmental opportunities between the Arts and Science both within the city and in a wider context.
John is Tutor in Writing for Performance at Ruskin College, Oxford and remains an Associate Artist at Bristol Old Vic, where he worked from 2010-2013. From 2000-2010, he was the founding director of Company of Angels which produces new and experimental work for young audiences. He has written a number of plays in recent years for theatre and for radio. His twelve theatre plays include Wild Girl (2014), Truant (2013), Arlo (2010), Risk (2007), Virgins (2006), Ballroom (2004) and Hannah and Hanna (2001). His adaptations for radio include Camus’ The Outsider, Mankell’s A Bridge to the Stars and Selincourt’s The Cricket Match. His plays have been translated into several languages and are published by Oberon and Methuen. John was formerly director of Oxford Stage Company (1989 –1999) and he was the founding director of Actors Touring Company (ATC) (1977 – 85). His work has been awarded a number of prizes, including two coveted SWET awards, and he has toured and worked in many countries including Europe, India, Japan and America. In July 2015 he directed the Stage Premiere of Owen Sheers’ Pink Mist for Bristol Old Vic.
Martin is a former partner in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, an international law firm. He specialised in cross-border strategic alliances (mergers and joint ventures) and has worked with corporations and governments around the globe. His core skills are as a team builder and manager (having formed and led teams of 100s), an architect of business structures and practices (having, for example, created and implemented the transformative merger of Aerospatiale, CASA and DASA to form the Airbus group), a negotiator and communicator (in several languages).
Martin is now a freelance legal consultant and business owner. He also provides pro bono legal services and has been involved (as a fund-raiser and on the ground) in sweat-equity construction programmes in Guatemala and Sri Lanka. He is a keen amateur actor and classically-trained singer.