Our Board Members

Our Board

UK Theatre's Board gives vital support to help UK Theatre achieve our vision of a well-connected and well-supported theatre sector at the heart of UK life.  

The Board volunteer their time and expertise to UK Theatre on behalf of the industry. They steer and advise on our work – from how to future proof and diversify our workforce, to exploring new models of funding and income generation, to supporting the health of touring and the regional producing and presenting model.

Could this be you?

In 2019 we will be holding elections for the UK Theatre Board. 

If you are a Member Representative of an Organisation Member (and have been for at least 9 months immediately preceding the nomination for election) or a Subscriber Member (Professional or Professional Plus) then you could be nominated to stand for the Board in 2019.

We will contact members about nominations in May. If you would like more information before that time, please email ukt@soltukt.co.uk to find out more.

Current Board Members

Fiona Allan (Credit: Pamela Raith)

Fiona Allan, President

Fiona was elected as President, in 2016. 

Fiona is Chief Executive of the Birmingham Hippodrome. Prior to this she spent four years at Curve, Leicester and six years at Wales Millennium Centre. During her time there she formed creative partnerships with organisations as diverse as the Mariinsky Theatre (St Petersburg), Cape Town Opera, NoFit State circus, and Galeri in Caernarfon.

Before moving to the UK in July 2004, Fiona had an established career in Australia, where she held roles as Chief Executive of the Sydney Film Festival, Programme Manager at Sydney Opera House, and General Manager of the Australian National Academy of Music, amongst others.


Anna Williams, Vice President 

Anna is currently the Finance Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet and has worked with the company during a period of ongoing change and development which has seen the company evolve from being one of the performing companies of the Royal Opera House to becoming a thriving, independent, world class ballet company. 

As well as serving on the UK Theatre Board, Anna also sits on the Finance Committee.

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Philip Bernays

Philip is currently Chief Executive of Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Philip's previous roles include General Manager of Actors Touring Company, Administrator of the Independent Theatre Council, Drama Officer for Arts Council England and Executive Director of the Young Vic.

In 1995 he was appointed as Chief Executive of the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, where he stayed until 2005, when he became Chief Executive of the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 

As well as serving on the UK Theatre Board, Philip is a Director of Edinburgh Festival Theatres Trust, the Dance Consortium, the Touring Partnership and Music & Lyrics Ltd. 


Julien Boast

Julien was appointed Director at Hall for Cornwall in 2011. Prior to this, Julien spent a 20-year career as an arts leader in both subsidised and commercial theatre. He has worked for the Ambassador Theatre Group initially as Chief Executive of the award winning Theatre Royal Brighton and then as Chief Executive of Churchill Theatre Bromley.

He was also Head of Production at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry (1998-2000) and before that spent ten years in the new writing specialist The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton as a Production Manager.

Anneliese Davidsen

Anneliese Davidsen

Anneliese is Executive Director of the Unicorn Theatre, where she has been in post since September 2011 when she was recruited as Joint Chief Executive alongside Purni Morell.  

Before joining the Unicorn she was Executive Director at Paines Plough, and previously at the Young Vic for five years and Sadler’s Wells for two years, both as Head of Corporate Relations.  She holds an MA in literary criticism.   

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Jon Gilchrist

Jon is Executive Director of HOME in Manchester, a venue that presents a year-round programme of produced and visiting live performance across multiple spaces, and serves as the city’s centre for international contemporary art and film.

Prior to this Jon worked as Executive Director of the Bush Theatre between 2014 and 2018. In this time he led on their major capital redevelopment, and helped expand the organisation’s reach as a centre of excellence for diverse emerging talent. Before this he worked in marketing roles at theatres across the North West for ten years, including The Lowry in Salford, the Octagon Theatre Bolton, and the Dukes in Lancaster.

Read Jon's 'Meet the Board' blog here.

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Chris Glover

Chris joined HQ Theatres & Hospitality in 2012 as Theatre Director of The Orchard Theatre, Dartford.

Using established producer relationships Chris successfully put the venue back on the number one touring circuit and worked closely with the local authority to invest significantly in the building, in turn boosting audience figures and loyalty. As a result of this progression, The Orchard Theatre is now a venue of choice to launch new productions, from Derren Brown to the phenomenally successful Peter James adaptations.   

Prior to this, following a career in Public Relations, Chris made the leap into theatre by joining ATG in 2003 as Executive Assistant to Derek Nicholls at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Chris stayed at the venue for nine years, becoming General Manager in 2011.

From April 2016 Chris has also been running The Churchill Theatre on behalf of HQ Theatres & Hospitality.

Brenna Hobson

Brenna Hobson

Brenna Hobson is currently the Executive Producer and Deputy Chief Executive for the National Theatre of Scotland. She recently moved to the UK From Australia where she was the Executive Director and co-Chief Executive for Belvoir in Sydney, Australia’s fourth largest theatre company. During Brenna’s tenure Belvoir established an international presence with productions on Broadway and London, at Theater Der Welt, Weiner Festwochen, the Taegu International Musical Festival in Korea and Bharat Rang Mahotsav International festival in India. The company also prioritised equal representation of artists under her leadership achieving gender parity in directing and writing and making inroads into the promotion of the work of culturally diverse artists, most notably First Nations artists.

Prior to her work at Belvoir she was the General Manager of Jigsaw Theatre, Canberra and Production Manager for Bangarra Dance Theatre, Australia’s premier indigenous performing arts organisation.

Brenna’s previous board roles include; Company Secretary of the Belvoir St Theatre Limited Board, membership of the Company B Ltd and Arts on Tour boards as well as a membership of the Seymour Centre’s Artistic Advisory Panel and the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct steering committee in Sydney. She served on the Sydney Opera House Trust from January 2014 to May 2017 where she was on the Audit and Risk Committee.

Sarah Holmes (Photo: Mike Kwasniak)

Sarah Holmes

Sarah Holmes is Chief Executive of the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich which she reopened 15 years ago along with Artistic Director Peter Rowe, placing accessibility, quality and diversity at the centre of the artistic offer. Originally from New Zealand where she gained experience in technical and stage management ,she has been working in theatre administration in the UK for 35 years, 10 years in London at the London Bubble and Theatre Royal Stratford East before relocating to North Wales for 10 years as Head of Marketing and Customer Service, and later Administrative Director, at Theatr Clwyd.

She is currently leading on Ramps On The Moon an Arts Council funded project that brings together seven major mainstream regional partners to respond to the opportunities and challenges of creating more employment and access for D/deaf and disabled artists, participants and audiences. Her work at the New Wolsey has also seen the theatre become the first UK venue to work with US based consultants TRG Arts , a US firm specialising in data analysis for audience development.


Elizabeth Jones

Elizabeth is a freelance arts manager with many years experience in producing & presenting, building-based and touring drama. 

Her work has three main strands: 1) interim management, working for venues as diverse as Wycombe Swan and Basingstoke Haymarket; 2) producer / general manager for Watershed Productions, specialising in high quality work for children and families; 3) tour booking for Watershed and others including Wakefield Theatre Royal and Birmingham Rep/The Touring Consortium.  She also provides management support, advice & training for smaller theatre organisations.

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Adam McGinlay

Adam is currently General Manager at Cadogan Hall.

Claire Murray. Photo by Maisie Burn

Claire Murray

Claire Murray is Communications & Fundraising Director at Sheffield Theatres. In early 2018 Claire covered the role of Chief Executive at Sheffield Theatres whilst Dan Bates embarked on a short sabbatical to explore international opportunities.

Claire has over 20 years’ experience working in the arts sector, specifically in produced and presented theatre. She has held Marketing and Communications roles at Royal & Derngate in Northampton and De Montfort Hall in Leicester, as well as running her own consultancy for 2 years specialising in CRM system implementation.

Claire’s wide ranging experience covers change management and leadership, fundraising, brand and digital development, CRM system implementation, marketing, PR and customer care strategy.

Karen Pimbley

Karen Pimbley

Karen has been Head of Arts Management at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama since 2012, where she is responsible for its vocational arts management training courses, run in partnership with industry. She is also a National Advisor at Arts Council Wales, a trustee at National Youth Arts Wales and a university external examiner.

Karen was previously Business Development Manager at Diversions Dance Company, helping to establish it as National Dance Company Wales, based at Wales Millennium Centre. Her early career was spent in marketing roles in regional repertory theatre and contemporary dance, but she then moved into events management, becoming Head of Events at a newly opening arena venue in the mid 90s. A chance meeting with a major promoter signalled a move into the music business, where she then spent a number of years touring the arena circuit with well-known music artists as promoter's rep.


Julia Potts

Julia was appointed UK Business Development Director for the Ambassador Theatre Group in May 2014. Prior to this she was Executive Director of the Almeida Theatre from 2011-14, including a period as Acting Chief Executive between the Artistic Directorships of Michael Attenborough and Rupert Goold. Former positions include Acting General Manager of the Churchill Theatre Bromley (2010/11), Head of Learning and Access for ATG (2003-11), as well as specialist consultancy work for a number of clients including SOLT and various Local Authorities. Julia was appointed a Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme in 2006, and undertook her secondment at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Alongside her work at ATG, Julia is a Board member of Magpie Dance, an inclusive dance company for people with learning disabilities, and a former Board Member of dreamthinkspeak and Action for Children’s Arts.

Read Julia's 'Meet the Board' blog here.


Janet Powell

Janet has many years’ experience in regional and West End theatre across both the subsidised and commercial sectors, beginning her career at the Crucible Theatre under the Director Clare Venables.  After ten years in Sheffield, during which time she was one of the team that re-opened the Lyceum Theatre, she joined Jenny King at Centreline Productions, and general-managed more than thirty large scale touring dramas. Subsequently she spent four years at Act Productions, working on a mixed portfolio of West End, UK and international touring shows. 

In 2010 Janet left Act to be a founding member of the Playful Productions team with producers Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis and Nick Salmon. Since then Playful has quickly become one of the largest independent theatre production companies in the UK, specialising in the production and general management of plays in the West End and on tour, and of musicals both in the UK and internationally.

Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive at Nottingham Playhouse. Creative by Wren

Stephanie Sirr

Stephanie Sirr has been Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse since 2001. Before this she ran Blackpool Grand Theatre for five years and the Merlin Theatre Frome for two. She has programmed several theatres in addition including Sadler’s Wells and The Hackney Empire. Prior to this Stephanie worked as an actress for five years, a stage manager for two and has been, variously, a theatre critic, court reporter and comedy club compere. She is a founder Board Member of Dance Touring Partnership and Ticketing Network East Midlands and a board member of Nottingham City Of Literature. 

Read Stephanie's 'Meet the Board' blog here.

Michele Taylor

Michèle Taylor

Michèle Taylor is Director for Change for the Ramps on the Moon consortium (funded by Arts Council England) with responsibility for supporting partners in implementing their change programmes, and reporting on progress and learning.

Following time working in theatre, Michèle has been working as an independent consultant and trainer on disability issues for nearly 30 years. Although she works mainly with arts organisations, other clients have included the Department for Education, the Balkan Museums Network and a number of HE institutions.

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Deborah Williams

Deborah’s career started in the mid-1980s with her first theatre company. She moved to The Pleasance in Edinburgh and became the first manager at Pleasance Islington. She was an actor with Graeae Theatre Company, worked with the London disability arts forum, and taught stage management at the Webber Douglas Drama School.

In 1999 she started Reality Productions and in 2008 went to Rich Mix where she was responsible for the one day arts and activism event 6 Billon Ways. 

Deborah has worked with Arts Council England, leading on equality analysis and the introduction of the Creative Case for Diversity, and at the British Film Institute, leading on diversity and creating the BFI Diversity Standards.

She has been an advisor to the Swedish Film Institute and Arts Council, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, the Danish Film Institute, Cannes Film Festival and the European Disability Forum. Deborah is now developing a social enterprise specialising in diversity within the arts and cultural industries.

If you would like to contact any of our Board Members, please email ukt@soltukt.co.uk or phone 020 7557 6700 and we will put you in touch.
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"UK Theatre" is the operating name of UK Theatre Association, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, whose registered office is at 32 Rose Street, London, WC2E 9ET, Company No 323204.