Debbie Dance - Chair (Interim)
Debbie is Director of Oxford Preservation Trust which she has built into a leading Oxford influencer and institution.
Debbie has an established career in heritage and is a chartered surveyor. She has completed a number of award winning projects, including Oxford Castle & Prison, and has created and runs Oxford Open Doors, an annual festival which attracts over 35,000 people to celebrate Oxford’s built and natural environment across all walks of the City’s life, town and gown. OPT is small which has meant developing skills in membership, fundraising, finance and management along the way. One of her highlights has been taking ownership of the Painted Room where Shakespeare stayed developing an annual Oxford Shakespeare Birthday celebration.
She first came to the Playhouse in the 1970s on ‘two for the price of one’ Monday nights. Her interest continues as a board member and member of the Programme & Productions Committee.
Katherine Wilkes - Vice Chair
Katherine is a Chartered Accountant and is an Audit Partner at a local firm of accountants, Critchleys, where her focus is on charities, academies and corporate clients. Katherine trained with a firm in Tunbridge Wells before spending time in industry and returned to practice in 2003 to spend a large portion of her career with a big four firm before venturing back to a regional practice to focus on charities. Katherine is also Chair of Cold Ash Brass, where she also enjoys performing, is a Scouting volunteer and has previously spent 5 years as a governor of a local special school.
Alessandra Buonfino - Trustee
Dr Alessandra Buonfino is the Managing Director of Lama Consulting, an advisory firm working with NGOs, private foundations and governments in emerging markets. She has worked with businesses and investors across the FTSE 100, NGOs and governments for more than 15 years, helping them to be a force for good through strategic communications, programmes and partnerships. Alessandra started her career as an academic in International Relations, and has since worked in think tanks, in the private sector, in 10 Downing Street/Cabinet Office, and in the Department for International Trade (DIT) where she started and ran a joint DIT/ FCDO unit to cultivate investment and philanthropy into the UK from family businesses across 20 countries. She is on the board of an organisation working in water and sanitation in Africa; is a judge for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for innovation and until recently she was on the board of the think tank Demos. Today, she lives in Oxford with her family, and is a dual Italian/British citizen.
Sos Eltis - Trustee
Dr Sos Eltis is a Fellow and Tutor in English at Brasenose College, Oxford, and an Associate Professor in the English Faculty of Oxford University. She is a University representative on the Playhouse Board.
Specialising in Victorian, modern, and contemporary theatre, it was productions at the Oxford Playhouse which she was as a child that sparked her life-long love of the plays of Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw. Her publications include Revising Wilde: Society and Subversion in the Plays of Oscar Wilde and Acts of Desire: Women and Sex on Stage, 1800-1930, and articles on Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Noel Coward and wide range of other playwrights and writers. She was the Senior Member for the Oxford University Drama Society (OUDS) from 1998 till 2018 and is deeply committed to the central role of theatre in the cultural life of Oxford.
Chilina Madon - Trustee
Chilina is Director of Marketing and Sales at Birmingham Hippodrome. She has worked in the arts for 20 years alongside major international producers including The National Theatre, Disney, Cameron Mackintosh, Mariinsky Opera, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Glyndebourne as well as working on several outdoor festivals including events for International Dance Festival Birmingham, the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the World War One centenary commemorations with 14-18 NOW.
Colin Mayer - Trustee
Colin Mayer is the Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. He is a Professorial Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford and St Anne’s College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the European Corporate Governance Institute. He has been a member of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, the UK Government Natural Capital Committee, and the International Advisory Board of the Securities and Exchange Board of India. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to business education and the administration of justice in the economic sphere.
Joe Pillman - Trustee
Joe Pillman was a partner in WilmerHale, a premier 1000 lawyer International Law Firm, focussing on clients in the Tech and Life Science sectors until his retirement at the end of 2015. He served on the Firm’s management and compensation Committees for 8 years and was responsible for its 6 European offices. He was then Chair of the Vale Academy Trust, a multi-Academy Trust of 8 schools in Wantage and Abingdon, from 2016 to 2020 and is a Non Executive Director of various UK companies.
While an undergraduate at Cambridge he toured Europe with a production of Hamlet as stage manager. He has lived in Oxfordshire since 1980.
Gillian Rose - Trustee
Gillian Rose is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St John's College. Gillian moved to Oxford five years ago and has a particular interest in the visual as well as performing arts, especially photography and film.
Among other books, she is the author of Doing Family Photography (Ashgate, 2010); in 2023, the fifth edition of her textbook Visual Methodologies (Sage) was published as well as The New Urban Aesthetic: Digital Experiences of Urban Change, co-authored with Monica Degen (Bloomsbury). She has written many papers on images, visualising technologies and ways of seeing in urban, domestic and archival spaces.
She has been the Associate Dean of Research in the Social Sciences Faculty at The Open University and Head of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Academy of Social Sciences.
Governance & Nominations Committee
Finance & Risk Committee
Health & Safety Committee
Programme & Productions Committee
Katherine Wilkes (Chair)
Equality, Diversity & HR Committee
Joe Pillman (Chair)
Alessandra Buonfino (Chair)