News Story

From left to right: Micaela Tuckwell, Vice Chair Joe Pilman, Chair of the Board Debbie Dance, Dr Jaskiran Kaur Bhogal, Deborah Richards, Ellie Claughton, and Adam Knight.

Credit: Geraint Lewis

Oxford Playhouse is delighted to announce the appointment of seven new Trustees to its Board – Adam Knight, Albie Ray, Deborah Richards, Ellie Claughton, Gill Aitken, Dr Jaskiran Kaur Bhogal and Micaela Tuckwell. They will bring a wealth of knowledge and breadth of expertise to Oxford Playhouse as it enters an exciting new phase.

The open recruitment process was led by Chair of the Board Debbie Dance and Vice Chair Joe Pilman at the end of last year, with Oxford Playhouse staff members feeding into the process.

Oxford Playhouse Artistic Director and CEO, Mike Tweddle, commented:

“We are thrilled to have recruited such an inspirational group of trustees to Oxford Playhouse. Their wide-ranging experiences and perspectives will be invaluable as we develop our artistic ambition and reach, overcome the challenges facing our sector and create a Playhouse that feels welcoming to all.”

Chair of the Board, Debbie Dance, added:

“It is a delight to welcome our new Board members to join us, and to share their own individual talents and experiences with us. It is a testament to the regard with which The Playhouse is held that we attracted such strong interest and we are looking forward to working together with the Playhouse team as we make The Playhouse ever stronger and outwardly focussed across the City and County.

Adam Knight is the Chief Executive of Blackpool Grand Theatre. He has been manager of Trafalgar Studios and Edinburgh Playhouse, and Director at Grand Opera House Belfast, Sherman Theatre Cardiff, and Crewe Lyceum. His board experience includes positions as Chair of Blackpool Cultural Strategy Group and Vice Chair of Waverly Care, Scotland’s leading HIV and Hepatitis C charity.

Albie Ray has twenty years of experience in restaurant management, for venues such as London’s Tabla, The Cinnamon Club and The Painted Heron. He has worked as Head of Hospitality at the Royal Opera House, working closely with their Development Team to deliver fundraising events. Holding a similar role at the Barbican prior, Albie is now Home Bursar of Magdalen College.

Recently moving to Oxford, Deborah Richards is an Oxford alumna who produced shows at The Playhouse as a student. She then began her career with Creation Theatre, before co-founding Baker Richards, a consultancy helping cultural organisations to develop their financial resilience (National Theatre, RSC, Metropolitan Opera).

Ellie Claughton joins the cohort of Trustees while serving as Executive Director of Improbable Theatre and Chair of Trustees at Zoo Co, having worked in touring theatre since 2016. She has expertise in Finance, Programming and EDI, and helped both Lung and Zoo Co achieve NPO status.

Gill Aitken, who is a University appointed trustee, took up the appointment as Registrar to the University of Oxford in September 2018 following a career in Whitehall where she led the legal teams of several large Ministries, latterly as General Counsel to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. In Whitehall she also ran professional services teams for a number of Ministries and at HMRC was the Social Mobility Champion. She is Founder Chair of Governors of the London Academy of Excellence, Tottenham, an academy aiming to provide a rounded 6th form education to talented students from the area with the aspiration of transforming admissions to good Universities.

Dr Jaskiran Kaur Bhogal holds a PhD in Anthropology from LSE, researching a racialised minority community in Britain. Her work includes the creation of anti-racism training and best practices, extensive writing on diversity and inclusion, and speaking regularly in the media on this area, including the BBC documentary Being Sikh. New to the industry, Kiran is a passionate theatregoer and supporter of The Playhouse.

Micaela Tuckwell is the Executive Director of the Ultimate Picture Palace in Cowley, leading the creation of a financially secure post-pandemic model. She has also led fundraising efforts to achieve the organisation’s Community ownership. Micaela is a founding member of ROAR Festival, Oxford’s first disability arts festival.