Naomi Kerrigan-Asress (Young Person Observer)
Naomi responded to our call out for Open Stage volunteers in 2012 and continues to be connected. She is now a member of our Young Producers group and has organised three young people’s events here at TRSE. She is a core member of that group and a huge driving force in its work. Her ambition is to be a Producer. She has just completed an Arts Admin Apprenticeship at the Barbican and is now there as a Project Assistant in their Learning Team. Naomi is also often called upon to support our projects in a voluntary capacity.
Omar Bynon (Young Person Observer)
Omar first engaged with TRSE 4 years ago at the age of 14 when he became a member of our Youth Theatre. Omar is very committed to his local Newham community, running a bread stall and being actively involved in organising community events. He became curious about writing and joined our Poets Platform Company where his ideas were honed and his Spoken Word skills encouraged. Omar formed Rhythm of Men, a Spoken Word trio with two other members of Poets Platform. They now perform professionally all over London and gained a reputation for poignant, witty work. Omar is now studying on an acting foundation course at LAMDA.
Andrew Cowan is the Senior Partner of Devonshires, a law firm based in the City of London, where he heads the Banking and Governance Department working primarily for Not for Profits and Charities.
The Rt. Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MBE (Chair)
The Rt. Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MBE has been Member of Parliament for Barking since 1994. She is the former Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, the first female and elected person to take that role. She carried out the following roles in the Labour Government between 1998 and 2010:
She was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment and Equal Opportunities, Department for Education and Employment (1998 - 2001); Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Department for Education and Skills (2001 - 2003); Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families, Department for Education and Skills (2003 - 2005); Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform in the Department for Work and Pensions (2005 - 2006); Minister of State for Industry and the Regions in the Department for Trade and Industry (2006 – 2007); and Minister for Culture, the Creative industries and Tourism in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2007 – 2010).
In the 2010 General Election Margaret fought off the challenge from Nick Griffin and the British National Party in her constituency, doubling her majority to 16,555.
Margaret Hodge entered politics in 1973 as a councillor for the London Borough of Islington where she was Chair of the Housing Committee from 1975 to 1979 and Deputy Leader from 1981 to 1982, before becoming Leader from 1982 to 1992. Prior to her appointment to the DfE she was Joint Chairman of the House of Commons Education and Employment Select Committee.
Margaret was educated at Bromley High School and Oxford High School before obtaining a BSc at the London School of Economics.
Derek Joseph was for over 30 years Managing Director of HACAS Group, a major quoted research and consultancy company. He now acts as a non-executive director of a number of property, financial and business incubator companies. Derek is Chairman of A2Dominion, one of the largest housing associations, a voluntary board member of Homeless International and the London Housing Foundation. He is also an avid theatregoer and supporter of Watford FC.
Deborah has more than twenty years’ experience of providing clients with research based strategic advice. In that time she has worked with global businesses, major charities, international governments and senior politicians. She is particularly well known for developing innovative ways to bring decision makers closer to their stakeholders. Before co-founding BritainThinks, she jointly ran the Chime Research and Engagement Division. She was also pollster to Gordon Brown, firstly as Chancellor of the Exchequer, then as Prime Minister. One of Britain's leading commentators on public opinion, Deborah frequently writes and broadcasts about the mood of the nation. In 2010, she published Talking to a Brick Wall - the story of the New Labour years through the eyes of the voter.
Jo Melville, a local girl, was born and went to school in Newham and began her acting career on The Theatre Royal Stage in Moon on a Rainbow Shawl. Jo's career path has led to writing, directing and producing various productions and she runs her own company Eye 2 Eye Productions. Jo has been a Board Member since 2009 and having developed and grown at Stratford East, it is her second home. Jo enjoys the opportunity to encourage stimulate and strengthen the talent of the community and be a part of a team that gives them a voice.
Paul O'Leary has managed and executive produced over one hundred theatrical productions both in the UK and overseas since establishing his own company in 1992. He is currently associated with Michael Codron Plays Ltd as General Manager of Productions & Consultant for Nederlander Theatres (Aldwych) Ltd. Prior to 1992 Paul was Production Manager at Theatre Royal Stratford East for three years, having earlier worked for both the scenic construction company Kimpton Walker Ltd and the Royal Adelphi Theatre London as Technical Manager. Paul is a Member of the Society of London Theatre.
Mark is the longest serving Board Member of Pioneer Theatres, including a spell as acting Chair. He worked with Joan Littlewood for 10 years starting with Oh! What A Lovely War and in various capacities including Production Manager, Set and Lighting Designer. He has pursued a successful career as a Lighting Designer, lighting over 40 productions in the West End and working at most of the major regional theatres, throughout Europe, in the U.S.A., Canada and Australia.
He has also worked at drama schools including RADA, LAMDA and Central, both in a designing and teaching capacity. Together with Joan Littlewood, Mark is responsible for resolving the problems of the freehold of the Theatre Royal Stratford East and forming the Theatre Workshop Trust, to hold the freehold. He is the Chair of Theatre Workshop Trust and of Stratford East Trading Ltd, the trading subsidiary of Pioneer Theatres Ltd.
Proudly born and bred in Essex, Hazel graduated as a violinist from the Royal College of Music in 1988 before going on to pursue a portfolio freelance career encompassing performance, teaching and arts administration. These diverse skills along with her passion for live musical theatre, opera and ballet in particular led to her appointment as Orchestra Manager for the New D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, then on to Birmingham Royal Ballet - both companies with whom she toured the UK theatre circuit extensively. From there, Hazel went on to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where she held the position of Orchestra Director for 10 years.
In 2008 Hazel was appointed to the position of Director of Planning at the Royal Opera House: a key role in shaping the strategic direction of the organisation.