Our people

None of SSF's impact would be possible without our creative and committed team. Please do email or phone us - we're always happy to talk about our work and answer questions - we love hearing from you!

Leadership

  • Ruth Brock

    Chief Executive

    Prior to becoming CEO, Ruth was a teacher in Tower Hamlets. Her class performed in the 2013 Festival and the impact on her children was so fundamental, Ruth was determined to work for SSF. Before teaching, Ruth relaunched a small inclusive theatre charity and spent six years working in as a parliamentary researcher, media manager and senior press officer for the former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Ruth has an English degree from Cambridge.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Because of her love of feisty, independent people, Ruth aspires to be Beatrice.

    [email protected]

  • Alanna Beeken

    Festival Director

    Alanna came to SSF in 2010, after living in Botswana, Wales, the US and Ireland. Adventures and elephants aside, living in many places showed her the power of bringing different people together. SSF is perfect for her, because it unites her love of theatre with her passion for the transformative power of education (and takes her to all corners of the UK). When she's not being delighted and surprised by the talented young people of SSF, Alanna loves to read and write short stories.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Portia

    [email protected]

Festival team

  • Alanna Beeken

    Festival Director

    Alanna came to SSF in 2010, after living in Botswana, Wales, the US and Ireland. Adventures and elephants aside, living in many places showed her the power of bringing different people together. SSF is perfect for her, because it unites her love of theatre with her passion for the transformative power of education (and takes her to all corners of the UK). When she's not being delighted and surprised by the talented young people of SSF, Alanna loves to read and write short stories.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Portia

    [email protected]

  • Mike Tucker

    Festival Manager

    After four years working the higher education sector Mike joined the Festival Team at SSF. Passionate about the power of stories to bring together people and communities, Mike works with the theatres and theatremakers who support schools through their Festival journey. He also works to measure the impact of SSF's work. Mike originally moved to London from South Wales to study law and philosophy, and still ponders why there are rules. Mike aims to be like Horatio because he's friendly, dependable and alive at the end.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Horatio

    [email protected]

  • Francesca Ellis

    Creative Manager

    Five years ago Francesca was thrilled to discover she could work for SSF and stop being embarassed about loving Shakespeare. Every day since, she has been inspired by teachers who go the extra mile for their pupils, and by young people for whom the sheer joy of stepping onto a stage is life-changing. She has played Rosalind, from As You Like It, and aspires to her bravery and determination.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Rosalind

    [email protected]

  • Fiona Bowen

    Sales and Outreach Manager
  • Maddie Short

    Resources Manager

    Maddie discovered her love for Shakespeare's plays whilst at drama school. After working as a teacher for six years she wanted to find a way to combine this love and her teaching experience. She is passionate about making his works accessible for all and has seen what an incredible difference investing in young people and their aspirations makes to their self-esteem and ambitions. She is thrilled that she gets to do all of these things at SSF.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Viola

    [email protected]

  • Ffion Williams

    Festival Coordinator / Cydlynydd Gwyl

    Having spent the last nine years dressing up and talking in silly voices, Ffion’s work allowed her to tour all over Europe, performing mainly Shakespearean roles and in theatre for young audiences. With a passion for performance and telling stories, Ffion joined SSF in 2014 as a freelance theatre practitioner and discovered that seeing young people blossom by using the Bard was even better than saying the lines herself. She is delighted to move into the office and to work to open a regional base in Wales.

    Wedi treulio’r naw mlynedd diwethaf yn gwisgo fyny a siarad mewn lleisiau gwirion, fe deithiodd Ffion ar hyd a lled Ewrop fel actor, yn bennaf yn perfformio mewn dramâu Shakespeare ac mewn theatr i gynulleidfa ifanc. Gyda chariad at berfformio a dweud storïau, fe ymunodd Ffion â SSF yn 2014 fel hwylusydd theatr gan sylweddoli fod gweld pobol ifanc yn blodeuo drwy ddefnyddio Shakespeare hyd yn oed yn well na dweud y geiriau ei hun. Mae hi wrth ei bodd i symud i mewn i’r swyddfa ac i weithio i agor safle rhanbarthol yng Nghymru.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Fluellen

    [email protected]

  • Dan Sellick

    Festival Coordinator

    Dan's first real encounter with Shakespeare came in 2009 when he played Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, largely cast in the role because he was the tallest person in the company. He's worked producing theatre and film since 2012, and spent the past few years creating immersive productions and events across London as well as programming and producing for a mixed arts space in Tottenham. SSF represents an opportunity to give other tall children the confidence they need to succeed in life by casting them in roles that require them to look older than everyone else on stage.

    [email protected]

  • Aimee Thompson

    Festival Coordinator

    Aimee began her SSF journey as a School’s Outreach Officer in 2015. She studied Dance and Musical theatre at university and has always had a huge love for theatre and history. After growing up in a deprived area of the North-East of England Aimee is passionate about making theatre, the arts and the Bard accessible to all, which is why she loves SSF. Seeing the impact SSF has on the lives of young people, teachers, parents and communities is incredible!

    [email protected]

  • Louise Henry

    Festival Coordinator

    As SSF's resident Geordie, Louise coordinates the festival in the North East and Scotland. She moved to London and joined the team after managing music and arts programmes for the UK's leading music agency, and developing community programmes for Newcastle University. As a writer, Louise has long been interested in the effect that words and language can have on young people, and is a firm believer in the life-changing impact of arts education.

    [email protected]

  • Evita Aslanidou

    Festival Coordinator

    Prior to joining SSF in 2018, Evita has assisted in producing and managing West End Productions, stage managed plays in London & Greece and worked in costume in the West End, National Theatre and the Royal Opera House.

    She has been fascinated by the educational and therapeutic side of drama, since studying theatre arts and physical theatre under world renowned theatre practitioners, such as Marcello Magni. She went on to train as a theatre technician and has a certificate in Dramatherapy.

    Evita’s proudest moment was project managing the first Relaxed Performance for Matilda the Musical whilst working for the Producing Department at the RSC. She has three passions: social justice, education and theatre. 

    [email protected]

  • Jessica Moffat

    Festival Coordinator
  • Emma Blackley-Piech

    Festival Coordinator
  • Louise De Froment

    Workshop Officer

    Louise began her career working for the Studio and Learning Department at Theatre Royal Newcastle where a passion was ignited for theatre with a social impact. This led her to London where she completed an MA in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths College. Following this Louise threw herself into the freelance arts world working on diverse educational and community projects with charities, theatres, museums and galleries across the capital. Louise joined SSF in 2018 and is delighted to work for a charity so dedicated to giving young people the best start in life. When she is not raving about SSF's work Louise can be found Singing, Swing Dancing, Acting in Community Theatre projects or attending a Zumba Class.

    [email protected]

  • Alice Rafter

    PA to the CEO and Foundation Assistant

    Alice studied English Literature and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds, and has loved theatre from a young age. While at Leeds, she volunteered with the Carriageworks Young Theatre Makers and believes in encouraging a passion for theatre in young people and making the arts accessible for all. Alice is proud to work for SSF and contribute towards the fantastic impact it has on young people today. She loves juggling roles and has produced, directed, performed, and provided technical support for a number of theatrical productions.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Cordelia

    [email protected]

Income Generation and Communications team

  • Sarah Gee

    Fundraising Consultant

    Sarah has been working with SSF since Summer 2016, and loves the energy and commitment of the team. She trained as a musician, but moved into arts management when it became clear she was far better at telling people what to do than actually doing it. Living in Birmingham, she fits regular nights at the RSC around a busy work schedule across the UK, a range of trusteeships including the National Campaign for the Arts, and playing the horn in amateur orchestras.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Lady Macbeth (I'm Scottish - don't read too much into my choice!)

    [email protected]

  • Jen Houghton

    Fundraising Manager

    Jen is thrilled to be working with SSF and joining such a passionate team. She loves the huge variety of fundraising areas she is working in across SSF and brings her experience from both the charity and higher education sectors to the role. Jen was involved in music and drama at school and university, and this helped her to feel more confident. She is delighted to be able to give others that same opportunity.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Iago (the baddies get all the best lines!)

    [email protected]

  • Melanie Sarling

    Fundraising Manager

    Melanie first met SSF in 2004, when she played Bottom with her school at the Key Theatre in Peterborough. The experience of standing on stage, being brave and having a voice, changed the course of her education and she now has an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from Central School of Speech and Drama. Melanie's professional experience spans performing, directing, producing, devising, facilitating and teaching and she also runs her own theatre company who make playful interactive experiences. She is passionate about the vital role creativity plays in education and is excited to help SSF spread the word of their impact far and wide! When not shouting the brilliance of SSF from the rooftops, Melanie enjoys reading The New Yorker, crocheting and walking.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Puck

    [email protected]

  • Georgie Brehaut

    Events Manager

    Georgie is a theatre enthusiast with a specific love for jazz hands. She studied Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham where she spent much of her time directing, producing and acting in plays and musicals. Drawing on her time as a drama teaching assistant and working for The Pleasance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, she combined her interests at SSF in 2014 as a Schools Outreach Officer. The impact of SSF’s work holds a legacy far beyond anyone’s expectations and she feels hugely proud to work for such an inspirational charity.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Phoebe

    [email protected]

  • Alex Swain

    Development Officer

    Having spent time working as a tutor in a Central London school and a year at another cultural education organisation, Alex joined SSF in August 2016. He was initially drawn to Shakespeare by Twelfth Night which blew away his misconceptions of Shakespeare as a boring, serious playwright, and he’s been a fan ever since. Alex is immensely proud of the work Shakespeare Schools Foundation does and has made it one of his favourite pastimes to tell anyone who’ll listen about some of the inspiring stories he has seen unfold as part of the Festival.

    [email protected]

  • Caspar Cech-Lucas

    Fundraising Officer

    Caspar Joined SSF in 2018, and has been positively influenced by theatre and Shakespeare from a young age. Ever since saying that there was room at the inn in his school nativity play he knew that theatre was for him. As he grew he began to realise how beneficial theatre was for developing emotional intellegence and empathy and that he wanted to share that with others. He studied Classical Archaeology at UCL, spending all his free time making theatre theatre (acting in Titus Andronicus). He then worked freelance producing theatre, film, music and awards festivals.

    What Shakespeare character would you be? Horatio

    [email protected]

  • Isabella Ley

    Foundation Assistant

Support team

  • James Fell

    Finance Officer

    James joined SSF at the start of 2016 and works in the Finance Team. He studied Economics at the University of Birmingham and is training to become a qualified accountant. Outside of work, he has a keen interest in sport and spends most of his free time playing cricket and golf. James thoroughly enjoys working at SSF and is looking forward to seeing more performances in future Festivals.

    [email protected]

  • Stephen Broderick

    Systems Officer

    Stephen's interest in Shakespeare was sparked off by studying Macbeth and Midsummer Nights Dream and Macbeth at school and later Othello at A level. His love of theatre was only strengthened whilst studying the Abbey Theatre and the plays of JM Synge and Sean O'Casey. Since then he has worked in various cultural institutions including; Southwark Playhouse, The Old Vic and the National Army Museum. He joined the team in 2016 as Systems Officer and has taken on more responsibility within the Income Generation Team.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Macbeth

    [email protected]

     

97%
of teachers told us they developed strong leadership skills

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
95%
of special school teachers saw an increase in their students' resilience

We believe Shakespeare is for everyone. Every year children from very different backgrounds come together to perform on the same stage.

About our impact
79%
of special school teachers saw an increase in their students' confidence

We believe Shakespeare is for everyone. Every year children from very different backgrounds come together to perform on the same stage.

About our impact
87%
of teachers would strongly recommend the Festival to a colleague

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
As a result of the Festival process,
97%
of teachers are confident working with Shakespeare

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
As a result of taking part in the Festival,
97%
of teachers think they will stay in teaching for longer than 5 years

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
98%
of teachers developed a strong relationship with their students through the Festival process

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
97%
of teachers told us their students were better able to express themselves

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instil curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
86%
of teachers reported that their students' academic attainment improved

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
93%
of teachers told us the Festival improved their teaching

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
86%
of teachers said that their students' behaviour improved as a result of the Festival

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
95%
of teachers stated that students were more enthusiastic about learning

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
86%
of teachers reported that attainment in English improved

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
10%
of participants have English as an additional language

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
11%
of participants have a statement of educational needs

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
12%
of participants are eligible for free school meals

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
27%
of participants are minority ethnic

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
More than
1,000
schools participate in the Festival

We work nationwide - from Aberdeen to Aberdare, Carlisle to Clacton.

About our impact
Our young people will perform in front of
65,000
people nationwide

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact
In 2018 we will work with up to
30,000
young people

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact
96%
of teachers said that their students were resilient as a result of the Festival

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
95%
of teachers reported that their students were better able to empathise with each other

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
99%
of teachers said that their students increased in confidence

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
97%
of teachers agreed that their students were better at working together as a team

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
94%
of students are more likely to seek out new opportunities

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
More than
250,000
young people have taken part in the Festival

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact

SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork - giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.

Learn more about us