The Board

AIDAN GROUNDS – CHAIR

Aidan was previously Executive Producer at Curve Leicester and has worked in his hometown of Southampton at both Nuffield Southampton Theatres as Director of Creative Programmes and MAST Mayflower Studios as Creative Producer. He has also worked in the fundraising team at the Young Vic, with music company Air-Edel, and with producer Thelma Holt CBE. He was the inaugural Executive Director of Reading Rep which he joined at its inception while studying at Oxford University.  Aidan has been supported by UnLtd and EY’s Accelerate Programme for social entrepreneurs. He is a Trustee for Stage One, and is proud of his Vincentian and Indian background.

 

SUZANNE STALLARD – VICE CHAIR AND SAFEGUARDING LEAD

Reading born Suzanne Stallard is an artist, activist, and founder of Jelly, an award winning Arts charity established in Reading in 1993, and in April 2023 Jelly became an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Jelly is an organisation built on artists nurturing and developing each other; embedding creative excellence into our diverse community. Jelly acts as a catalyst, making space for art every day, elevating and celebrating creative work, and giving it a platform to be seen and heard.

As an artist, Suzanne works collaboratively with Laura De Moxom, as part of Bold and Tender Collective, making site specific work within the community across the country.

Since 2019, she has been working with Andrew Darnton, as a creative activist including experimenting with performances as protests, both for Extinction Rebellion and Ocean Rebellion. Coverage includes numerous Photos of the Day in The Guardian, The Sunday Times Photos of the Year (twice), front pages inc The Sun and the Glasgow Herald, and globally including New York Times and Washington Post, alongside all major TV channels. Since then, working with Andrew, Suzanne has been developing a programme of art interventions with artists and musicians, which can tell the truth about the emergency, and anticipate what lies beyond it.

 

ALAN STACEY 

Alan became the Executive Director of Headlong Theatre Company in July 2016 and was previously Director of Development and Commercial Investment at the Young Vic, and Managing Director of Young Vic Films working alongside Artistic Director David Lan. Alan’s previous roles at the Young Vic include Executive Director (Sabbatical Cover), with shows including the acclaimed A View from the Bridge and A Streetcar Named Desire, and Director of Marketing and Press. Before that he was Marketing and Sales Manager at Bill Kenwright Ltd, with responsibility for marketing dozens of touring shows and several in the West End. He is also Chair of the Board for Reading Rep.

 

PIERS ELLIOTT

Piers is a senior associate in the Financial Institutions Disputes Group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He acts for a broad range of financial institutions on civil litigation and contentious regulatory matters. He specialises in complex finance disputes and has significant experience of high value, large scale matters which often have a multi-jurisdictional dimension.

JONATHAN HOLLEY

A senior executive with experience in engaging and galvanising people around transformation and delivery of Innovation and technology. Currently Transformation Director of Breaking Barriers Innovations, and recently Interim MD of Ways into Work CIC, Jonathan’s background is in IT, Property, FM, Supported Employment for people with disabilities, Management Consultancy at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Business Leadership. Jonathan has designed and delivered innovative change and transformation programmes within the public and private sectors including FMCG, Retail, Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Financial Services and Government across EMEA and Asia.

 

PAUL NEWMAN – ACTIVATE LEARNING REPRESENTATIVE

Paul is on the Group Executive Team of Activate Learning. Activate Learning is a forward-thinking and employment-focused educational group that brings together further and higher education, secondary schools, apprenticeships, training and consultancy for business as well as commercial enterprise. Paul has worked in teaching and management roles at Reading College for over six years, and has an MSc in Applied Management from the University of Reading.

 

JUDITH FOSS

Judith joined the Board in August 2021.  With extensive executive level experience across both the private and not-for-profit sectors, previous roles include Executive Director of HR with Guide Dogs and Executive Director of People and Culture with Catalyst Housing.  Awards include the “Brand, Purpose and Values” Business Culture Award and she is a member of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.  Other current roles include Board Vice Chair and Chair of the People.  She has lived in the Reading area for many years and is passionate about the role that the arts and culture can play in transforming lives and local communities.

 

TARIQ RIFAAT

Tariq is Managing Director of Steeldeck Rentals Ltd. who provide temporary demountable staging and seating solutions for the live events industry including theatre, festivals, TV & film, and fashion shows. Tariq previously worked in the theatre industry for over 30 years in Production and Stage Management. As a full-time member of staff at the National Theatre from 2015-2021, Tariq production managed over 20 productions under Rufus Norris’ artistic leadership, including People, Places & Things, Angels in America, Amadeus, and Small Island. Previously he was Production Manager at the Royal Court for 8 years and has also worked as a freelance Production Manager in the West End and at several producing theatres around London including the Young Vic, Kiln Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe. Tariq began his career as a Stage Manager, working in theatres across the country as well as touring productions internationally, most notably Riverdance. Tariq often mentors students and young professionals training in Production Management and Technical Theatre to help support and develop the next generation of theatre technicians.

 

NICOLA MARY JONES

 

PREVIOUS BOARD MEMBERS

Thelma Holt CBE
Laura Gater
Alexandra Rowlands
Siobhan White
Emma Donald
Ian Germer
Natasha Ratter
Alexandra Dewis
Donna Pentelow