The Team

Fiona Matthews

Creative Director

Fiona founded Theatre Orchard in 2007 as Arts Development Officer for North Somerset Council.

Fiona steers and oversees Theatre Orchard’s work, as well as fundraising, programming and producing.

Fiona’s wider independent producing work in recent years includes Living Spit, Company of Angels, Shoofly Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.

Before moving to the South West, Fiona ran Sainsbury’s nationwide Arts Sponsorship Programme, developing and managing award-winning partnerships with national and regional arts companies, theatres and galleries such as National Gallery, National Theatre, Young Vic. This role included milestone initiatives within BBC/Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year, Sainsbury’s Pictures for Schools (working closely with cultural figures such as Alan Bennett and Peter Blake), and the National Portrait Gallery’s millennial exhibition ‘Faces of the Century’ which included David Bowie, Professor Stephen Hawking and Vivienne Westwood amongst its contributors.

Fiona has 25 years experience of working in the arts, preceded by a shorter career in publishing, where too many weeks spent editing crossword grids encouraged Fiona to look for less linear job options.

fionamatthews@theatreorchard.org.uk

Angela Athay-Hunt

Engagement Manager

Angela is a theatre maker, practitioner, actor and director with a wealth of experience creating inclusive theatre opportunities with diverse communities.

After graduating with a degree in theatre Angela worked extensively with Bristol Old Vic Education Department as an actor, director, practitioner and workshop leader developing numerous projects before becoming Associate Education Director.

Angela co-founded Myrtle Theatre Company, a specialist, participatory theatre company delivering theatre projects both locally and nationally.
Angela now works with a range of theatre companies including Bristol Old Vic, Travelling Light Theatre, The Egg and, of course, Theatre Orchard.

Angela has been delivering engagement projects for Theatre Orchard since 2007 including devising and directing site specific performances; ‘Hurly Burly’ (based on Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’), ‘Bourneville becomes Electra’ and ‘Persephone’.

As a director, Angela specialises in ensemble and collaborative performance, verbatim theatre and is passionate about creating inclusive theatre experiences.

angela@theatreorchard.org.uk

Julie Peel

Press & Marketing

Julie is a PR consultant with over 30 years’ experience in the industry, specialising in the creative, community and charity sectors.

She started her career in arts marketing and publicity at Swansea Grand Theatre, moving to Bristol in the 1980s (she has lived in the city ever since!) to join the team at Bristol Old Vic, where she spent three years in the press and marketing department.

Then at West consultancy, JBP Public Relations, she managed a range of consumer accounts, including Bath International Music Festival, before leaving to have a family and embarking on a freelance career that has spanned more than two decades. During this time, she has enjoyed working on an exciting range of initiatives, handling community based PR, promotions and media relations for high profile events and organisations.

These include the Bristol Harbour Festival, Royal Bath & West Show, The Avon Gorge Hotel and many years with Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, where she is particularly proud to have led the press campaign for the Cots for Tots Appeal which, in just one year, raised £1million for the special care baby unit at St Michael’s Hospital.

She was also part of the PR team for the Gromit Unleashed and Shaun in the City sculpture trails, which have raised millions of pounds for Bristol Children’s Hospital. Julie’s role at Theatre Orchard brings her life full circle and she is delighted to return to her theatre roots. She is thrilled to be part of the dynamic Theatre Orchard team and to promote the immense, creative talent that exists in the arts and helps to enrich our lives!

julie@theatreorchard.org.uk

Becky Condron

Digital Marketing and Volunteer Co-ordinator

Becky has worked on a variety of live and virtual projects with Theatre Orchard and is our go-to person for anything digital based.

A graduate of Goldsmiths’ College, Becky went on to complete her PhD in the History of Anarchism in Cuba. Becky set up the successful Weston-super-Mum and, in non-Covid-19 times, can be found at the theatre almost weekly, writing reviews for their website. She is very connected with the community in her home town of Weston and believes that society is stronger when it works as one. Having home educated her daughter, she is a firm advocate of theatre as educator.

Becky’s love of adventure (in November 2018, she went on a hunt for a lost Inca Trail in Ecuador – and found it!) and the outdoors helps her to find balance and she loves to see everyone outside, being creative. She can often be seen jumping in the sea with Weston’s Supermares! outdoors swimming group.

Becky has worked on various projects with Theatre Orchard including volunteer development, Whirligig!, Extraordinary Bodies integrated circus project and Pages of the Sea. She has also helped develop Theatre Orchard’s virtual offer, working on different events, such as Scratch n Sniff and the Big Whirl Festival. She is interested in artist development and in bringing the community of North Somerset together to feel good in the place they live.

Becky updates Theatre Orchard’s website and social media channels and is the person to ask if you’d like to volunteer with us.

becky@theatreorchard.org.uk

Victoria Hole

Company Manager & Dance Producer

Vic has a thirst for developing and nurturing art projects.

Vic has worked in the arts for over 12 years as a dancer, facilitator, project co-ordinator and producer. She has worked for Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol Old Vic, the egg, Travelling Light, MAYK under various capacities. Producing credits include: The Borrowers and Champ, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Stella and The Starshiners and Much Ado About Puffin, Open Attic Company and D.E.S.T.I.N.Y, Florence Espeut-Nickless.

Vic trained in Classical Ballet with The Royal Academy of Dance and then went on to graduate with a BA HONS in Contemporary Dance. Since then she has taught dance to a mixture of ages and abilities for Travelling Light, Bigfoot Arts Education, Pauline Quirke Academy, Take Art, Activate. Vic is the co-founder of 2 O’Clock Beauty Queens, a dance troupe championing all things female.

Jasmine Thompson

Assistant Outdoor Arts Producer

Jasmine is a Bristol based designer and illustrator.

She is also a keen workshop facilitator, having run a variety of programmes with young people across Bristol. She’s a board member and resident artist at Rising Arts Agency, resident at Pervasive Media Studio, and experienced in content creation and journalism from her role at Rife Magazine.

Her work has a focus on people and places, and she tackles themes of activism and social change. She’s all about using art as a platform for underrepresented voices, and discovering new avenues for storytelling. Work includes a solo mural exhibition at Royal Shakespeare Company, later recommissioned at Barbican. Jasmine exhibited work at Spike Island Open Studios for “Why Are We Not Here”, that challenged lack of inclusion within the arts and amplified voices of BAME artists within the local community. Most recent work includes art for Adidas “Ready For Sport” campaign which re-engaged people with sports post-lockdown, and work on Premier League’s “No Room For Racism” campaign in Oct 2020.

Jasmine is really excited to be part of this incredible team, and facilitating projects that engage with a wider audience is really important to her. She will be using her skills and experience to make a difference in North Somerset, working with communities to help lift the barriers that prevent people from accessing the arts. Bridging the gap between emerging artists and organisations is a key focus, and she hopes to further develop the creative culture here, placing North Somerset on the map as a hub for all things Arts.

Joe Brooks

Theatre Orchard Youth Assistant Facilitator

Joe is an Actor and community champion.

At University Centre Weston, Joe co-founded Theatre Company Atomic Rhubarb, touring their shows around the South West, London and a short run at 2018 Edinburgh Fringe. After graduating with a First Honours in Performing Arts, Joe and Atomic Rhubarb continued to tour with their show ‘QUEER MONSTER’ and now are currently working on new show ‘Period Drama’.

Meanwhile Joe has become involved with community groups in Weston, including Terrestrial, an organisation that ran many art events in the town and founded Weston Artspace, of which he is a member and guardian. He is also a resident and steering group member of the Big Worle Hub.Joe became involved with Theatre Orchard in 2019, giving a Drag Workshop as part of Atomic Rhubarb and curating Theatre Orchard’s ‘Scratch ‘N’ Sniff’ nights, regular events that showcase local talent.

Joe is Theatre Orchard Youth Assistant Facilitator to the wonderful Angie and happy to help out at any Theatre Orchard event.

 

Our Trustees

Ruth Bennett

Trustee

Ruth’s time as an arts manager and U.S. Diplomat (!) has bought decades of experience. Project management, professional writing, public speaking, opportunity development, Ruth’s deep toolkit of skills adds to her desire to contribute to the flourishing of arts, through the individual happiness of audiences and the civic strengthening of communities.

Paul Blakemore

Trustee

Freelance Theatre & Performing Arts Photographer based in the South West of England.

A professional photographer with over ten years experience working amongst the performing arts. With an extensive catalogue of published work in various national newspapers including pictures used on various national arts platforms including the British Council and Arts Council. Regular clients include the Bristol Old Vic alongside many others theatre makers and companies including MAYK, The British Para Orchestra and Theatre Orchard

Joseph Cullen

Trustee

As Producer for Wassail Theatre in Somerset, Joseph is very much involved in local community engagement, and passionate about inclusive work for a wide audience. A problem solver unafraid to think outside the box, it’s a joy to him to be able to contribute to increasing opportunities for people of Somerset.

Liz Ellis

Trustee

Liz has spent the last 20 years in alternative education for young people experiencing social and emotional difficulty. She also worked as an Advanced practitioner in FE (SEMH)

Currently working with young people in care who cannot access any educational provision, Liz is a therapeutic crisis management trainer and leads training and development across this field. Prior to this, Liz worked in television production and hospitality.

Liz has a performance background that includes a chart hit and longstanding youth opera experience with Leeds college of Music. She still continues to sing and perform when the opportunity arises.

Tracey Farquhar-Beck

Trustee

Tracey has spent over 30 years managing various hospitality venues around the UK and all levels. Tracey’s key strengths are social media marketing, general operational and financial management and teaching the true value of delivering exceptional service across any discipline.

In her spare time, as well as hiking and volunteering for Samaritans, Tracey joined Theatre Shop at its inception as a volunteer, inspired by how Theatre Shop not only introduces young people to the world of theatre through fun and engaging performances but the widespread joy that live theatre brings to the community of Clevedon and beyond.

Will Hahn

Trustee

Will has worked in both marketing and education within the creative sector with Cameron Mackintosh Ltd and Lyric Hammersmith, and most recently overseen partnership engagement for Creative & Cultural Skills. Currently part of the new College of Liberal Arts at Bath Spa University, Will is interested in supporting learning and training within arts companies allowing communities to tell their own stories.

Angela Hicks

Trustee

Angela has been a close observer of Theatre Orchard from Day 1, holds a lot of admiration for the reach and impact of the community’s art output. Her networks, willingness to learn from new situations, and years of experience with NSEA and NSEA Property Services gives Theatre Orchard a fresh and unique, perspective.

Sarah James

Trustee Board Chair

Sarah has spent over 20 years working in the field of socially engaged arts and the last 13 years in senior management and director roles both at national organisations including the Royal Opera House and in leading smaller arts charities. Sarah describes Theatre Orchard as “a trail blazing and innovative organisation which at its heart believes passionately about how arts and culture can improve people’s lives and transform our places.” As Chair of the board of trustees, Sarah’s strategic leadership, vision, and ambition is a welcome addition to Theatre Orchard.

Emily Malcolm

Trustee

Emily’s experience in the arts is very varied and she has held positions in education, theatre and local government. Emily enjoys all art forms but her heart lies with dance and theatre. She has danced since she was three years old and enjoys introducing people to the world of performance for the first time. Emily is really pleased to be supporting Theatre Orchard as a trustee, as art in the community is so important for so many reasons and so many people.

James Moore

Trustee

Passionate about opening the door to theatre for young people and communities, James’ work with the Theatre Royal Bath’s Education team and Egg Theatre has had a huge impact from the Egg Theatre’s ground-breaking approaching to education. Lockdown couldn’t stop him, as he helped coordinate a joint response program for some of Bath’s leading arts organisations.

Jack Stringer

Trustee

Jack, a UCW graduate and Bristol-based artist, is a firm believer in broad representation in the arts community, his time as a support worker for young adults with disabilities. Having formed two theatre companies in his time at university and toured twice at Edinburgh Fringe, Jack’s voice is one of great value for Theatre Orchard, and the community.

Alison Williams

Trustee

Alison’s career has spanned banking, technology and most recently management consulting where she advises organisations on how to use people, processes and digital technology to achieve their goals. She is passionate about supporting the community launching a social enterprise to nurture talent through fair access to coaching and networks, providing pro bono consulting to charitable organisations and is her company’s UK executive sponsor for D&I. Alison has a personal love of arts and music (with the occasional foray into DJing) and is excited to support Theatre Orchard in bringing arts to the masses.

Theatre Orchard Youth Board

If you are a young person who is passionate about building leadership skills, growing a youth voice in North Somerset and making creative change – we would love to hear from you!  We are recruiting new members to come on board to develop our Youth Board and help to make an impact on the work we do within the community at Theatre Orchard.

 

Contact Form

 

Associated Artists

Sue Hill and Bob Walton – The Write Box

Sue Hill and Bob Walton have been working together since 2012 when they ran a story-telling and writing link-project for Worle Community School and ten feeder primary schools for three years.

Since then – as The Write Box: Adventures in Creative Writing – they have facilitated creative writing workshops for children, adults and community groups, including, for Theatre Orchard, the Pages of the Sea project (2018) and Chapter 1 writing group at Big Worle Hub.

Sue Hill has a MA in Creative Writing and is currently working on her first novel. She worked in education for 30 years, teaching every year group from reception to post-16. Originally teaching Business and Computer Studies, Sue changed direction after achieving a BA in English Literature. She is a qualified progress coach and dedicated five years to motivating young students to achieve their potential. Sue is now Business Director of a life sciences company, working with hospitals, pharmaceuticals and water companies.

Primarily a poet, Bob Walton’s second collection, Sax Burglar Blues, was published by Seren in 2017. He has written six dramatic monologues for Show of Strength Theatre Company; wrote the poetry voice-over for the BBC2 Wales TV docudrama, Fighting to the End; and is currently working on a non-fiction book. Completing his teaching career as Head of English at Worle Community School, he went on to achieve a PhD in Creative Writing and now teaches the subject at Cardiff University.

Casey Lloyd

Since graduating with a First Class Honours in Musical Theatre from the London College of Music in 2015, Casey has spent the last five years performing and creating a wide range of productions as an Actor, Actor-Musician, Director and Dramaturg. He continues to work as a Director and Theatre Maker in association with the Bristol Old Vic, where he previously set up the theatre company INKBLOC Ensemble. Other companies Casey has been associated with include Palomar Theatre, The Little Things and ‘Oi Polloi. He enjoys creating innovative, exciting, multi-faceted pieces of art that elicits social change and engages with local communities. Casey is producing engagement work with Theatre Orchard in Big Worle in Weston, as part of the company’s ‘Becoming Stories’ project.

Previous Credits: Workshop Facilitator with Cardboard Citizens, Assistant Director for Darlings (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Thomas Taylor in Spooky Ship (SS Great Britain/Bristol Old Vic), ‘Timothy SmallThumb’ in Parish Fete-ality: A Game Of Scones (Bristol, Brighton, London, Edinburgh Fringe) ‘Cleopas Friend’ in Risen! The Musical (Portsmouth Theatre Royal), ‘Muddles’ in Sleeping Beauty (Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne) ‘Lenny’ in Lego Beach (1532 Perfomance Centre/ Bristol Old Vic, Bristol), Director of School Crumble: 24 Hour Plays ( Bristol Old Vic, Bristol)

Deepraj Singh

Deepraj Singh first started dancing in afterschool capoeira sessions at the age of 8. From there his interest in movement and musicality began to grow. He joined Bristol based youth dance company Kinesis, studied dance and movement at Cotham School and trained via the CAT (Centre of Advanced Training) programme run in Swindon, before successfully auditioning for London Contemporary Dance School, where he was awarded a scholarship and graduated with a first in July 2015.

Since then he has worked as a freelance dancer and has toured professional pieces internationally, such as the Akademi’s ‘The Troth’. Deepraj draws upon his urban dance techniques when creating pieces, which are rhythmically explorative and emotionally driven. He is an urban improviser with a keen sense of rhythm and beatboxing/vocal percussion skills and brings his talent to a range of Theatre Orchard Engagement work, including the ‘Becoming Stories’ community project in Big Worle in Weston.

Megan Clark-Bagnall

Megan likes to make fun/ny projects with people.

She celebrates the good and the excellent in human nature to create sincerely feel good art. Megan doesn’t make very serious art, but she is very serious about making art. She enjoys smashing together mainstream culture and the art world to create striking large- scale art installations, performances that tell stories and immersive events that everyone is invited to take part in.

Her playful projects tend to be questioning, queer, fun, humorous, bitter-sweet and surprisingly sobering at times. Her work is often dressed up in Fruit Salad chew colours; pink and yellow