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.

    ceo@shakespeareschools.org

  • Chris Stead

    Director of Finance

    In his role as Director of Finance, Chris is responsible for leading the Finance Department and directing the financial strategy of the business. Previously he was Managing Director of a global market research business and has also held senior financial roles at Taylor Nelson Sofres (now part of WPP) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Chris is a qualified Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW and has an MBA from Kingston University.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Prospero - just, fair and a wizard with numbers.

    chris@shakespeareschools.org

  • Mike Tucker

    Director of Operations

    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

    mike@shakespeareschools.org

  • Hannah Watson

    Director of Income Generation and Communications

    Hannah has worked as a fundraiser in the charity sector for nearly 14 years after gaining an MA in Egyptology from the University of Liverpool. She began her career at Dartington Hall in Devon, and has since worked across international development, social justice and humanitarian organisations including Gingerbread, RedR and as Head of Fundraising & Development for four years at Book Aid International. She joined Shakespeare Schools Foundation in 2019. Hannah is a member of the Institute of Fundraising. 

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? Hannah took an online quiz to discover who her Shakespeare character is. She got Iago. She’s pretty worried.   

    hannah@shakespeareschools.org

Festival team

  • Mike Tucker

    Director of Operations

    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

    mike@shakespeareschools.org

  • Francesca Ellis

    Head of Creative

    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

    francesca@shakespeareschools.org

  • Jonathan Beaumont

    Festival Manager (Operations)
    Jonathan has worked in theatre for 8 years before joining SSF. He has a degree in English & American Literature and Drama from the University of Kent. Jonathan has joined SSF as a self confessed Shakespeare novice and is enjoying being educated by all the eclectic performances that make up the festival.
    What Shakespeare character you would be? Jonathan took a quiz and got Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing because he is "wise, funny and willing to risk everything!"

    jonathan@shakespeareschools.org

  • Maddie Short

    Schools and Resources Manager

    Maddie trained as an actress at Mountview Academy before qualifying as a teacher and teaching for six years in North London and Hertfordshire. Joining Shakespeare Schools Foundation in 2015 brought together her passion for Shakespeare in performance and inspiring a love of learning. Maddie feels strongly that Shakespeare is for everyone and her role at SSF, overseeing the work with schools and developing resources to support teachers, gives her the exciting opportunity to tap into its relevance for young people. She feels especially passionate about using Shakespeare when working with disengaged learners and is very proud of the work SSF does with students in Pupil Referral Units.    

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Viola

    maddie@shakespeareschools.org

  • 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. 

    evita@shakespeareschools.org

  • Emma Connor

    Festival Coordinator

    Emma has a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Lancaster University, and spent her second year studying in New York. During this year she discovered the powerful impact Shakespeare's words have on our understanding of the world. 

    Prior to joining Shakespeare Schools Foundation, Emma began her career as a drama teacher in Liverpool, participating in the Festival as a Teacher Director in 2013. Emma relocated to London in 2018 and was thrilled to be given the opportunity to work for SSF. She is a firm believer that a child's involvement in the arts allows them to gain the skills they need to be successful in life. 

    Which Shakespeare character you would be? Because of his fun-loving humour and mischievousness, Emma would be Puck.

    emmac@shakespeareschools.org

  • Michael Dennehy

    Festival Coordinator

    Michael's first memory of Shakespeare was taking part in the Festival at secondary school. The experience transformed him into a more ambitious learner and ignited an enthusiasm for theatre making. After studying, he worked for years as a drama teacher and theatre facilitator with a variety of groups across the world. Michael started working at SSF in 2015, since then he's been inspired by the young people who boldly take to the stage and go through the same transformation.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Bottom

    michael@shakespeareschools.org

  • Alistair Foylan

    Festival Coordinator

    Prior to joining SSF Alistair created and produced theatre, devising shows inspired by the location and architecture of its performance space. He has also worked in market research, managing projects for public and private sector organisations, and has worked on various youth and outreach programmes across the UK. Alistair is proud to work for SSF and is passionate about the power theatre and the arts have to build relationships and create communities.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? A quiz said Alistair would be Falstaff – although he doesn’t necessarily think of himself as vain, cowardly and fat he isn’t one to question the integrity of a BuzzFeed quiz.

    alistair@shakespeareschools.org 

  • Jessica Moffat

    Festival Coordinator

    Jess has a degree in Theatre, Film and Television from the University of Bristol. It was here she realised that the arts could be used as a powerful tool for social change. After graduating University Jess began her career as a participant of Charityworks (a graduate scheme for the non-profit sector). Since then she has dedicated her time to improving opportunities for young people by working and volunteering for charities such as Young Devon, NCS The Challenge, Young Minds and Disability Arts.

    Jess feels very privileged to work for SSF, where she can marry her love of supporting young people’s wellbeing with her passion for the arts. She is proud to Coordinate the region for the North West, where she grew up.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Cordelia - She is honest, and will always fight for justice.

    jessica@shakespeareschools.org

  • Aimee Thompson

    Senior Festival Coordinator

    Aimee began her Shakespeare Schools Foundation journey as a School’s Outreach Officer in 2015 and has been a Coordinator since 2017. 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! Aimee is a keen runner and raised over £1,000 for SSF running the 'Big Half' in London in 2018.

    Which Shakespeare character you would be? Bottom, because he has a tendency to make everything over dramatic, and who doesn't love a bit of melodrama?

    aimee@shakespeareschools.org

  • 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

    ffion@shakespeareschools.org

  • 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.

    What Shakespeare character would you be? Viola

    louise@shakespeareschools.org

  • Alice Rafter

    PA to the CEO and Foundation Assistant

    Alice has had a love for words and theatre for as long as she can remember. She has volunteered with youth theatre groups, encouraging this passion in others, as well as directed, produced and provided assistance with a number of productions. She is interested in making theatre and Shakespeare accessible to all, and encouraging open conversation about mental health and wellbeing. Outside of Shakespeare Schools Foundation, Alice acts as an assistant director for City Academy’s Actors Company. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in English Literature and Theatre Studies.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Cordelia, as she is honest and determined, fighting for what is right.

    alice@shakespeareschools.org

  • Elin Haf

    Festival Assistant
  • Bethany Appleton

    Schools Outreach Officer

    Bethany has always been passionate about Shakespeare and the power of literature, and recently graduated from the University of Oxford with a Master's degree in English. She has run educational charity events for the European Youth Parliament UK for a number of years alongside studying, before coming to Shakespeare Schools Foundation as a Schools Outreach Officer. 

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? If Bethany were a Shakespeare character, she would be Beatrice, because she's independent, loyal to her friends and has great chat. 

    bethany@shakespeareschools.org

  • Julia Josephson

    Schools Outreach Officer

    Originally from Los Angeles, Julia came to London to study for an MA in Applied Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She also has a degree in Theatre and Education from Sarah Lawrence, a university in New York, and first came to London for a year abroad to study Shakespeare at the British American Drama Academy. Julia has worked at young people's theatres in New York and London, in roles based in education and as a drama facilitator. She is excited to be working with the Shakespeare Schools Foundation to enrich young people's lives through theatre. 

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? Julia would be Emilia from Othello because she is a supportive friend to Desdemona and represents strong female friendship.

    julia@shakespeareschools.org

  • Katy Tranter

    Schools Outreach Officer

    Katy loves all things Shakespeare and anything remotely cultural. She first came across SSF as an English teacher in Leeds - her school's drama department took part in the Festival. She loved watching her students excelling on stage and the confidence they gained when back in the classroom. Katy has worked in sales, customer service and in arts education, working with school groups and families in theatres and museums in Toronto and in London. She has a keen interest in the arts and the impact it has on children's outcomes.

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? Katy would be Falstaff. She feels sorry for him when Prince Hal dumps him as a friend.

    katy@shakespeareschools.org

     

  • Chad Porter

    Marketing Officer

    Having performed in SSF productions whilst at school in Lancaster, Chad is delighted to be working for the company that ignited his love for the arts. After completing his Drama degree at the University of East Anglia, Chad spent two years working at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich – originally dedicated to performing Shakespeare plays - and more recently as a Teaching Assistant at schools across London. Chad is also the founder and Artistic Director of Laughing Mirror Theatre Company, specialising in producing and directing comedic theatre for audiences of all ages! He has particularly loved working on schools outreach projects across Norfolk and staging young people’s writing debuts with UEA FLY Festival. Chad is very excited to work for SSF and help young people be inspired by Shakespeare and theatre, just like he was.

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? Peter Quince – passionate, determined and prone to getting carried away telling stories.

    chad@shakespeareschools.org

Income Generation and Communications team

  • Hannah Watson

    Director of Income Generation and Communications

    Hannah has worked as a fundraiser in the charity sector for nearly 14 years after gaining an MA in Egyptology from the University of Liverpool. She began her career at Dartington Hall in Devon, and has since worked across international development, social justice and humanitarian organisations including Gingerbread, RedR and as Head of Fundraising & Development for four years at Book Aid International. She joined Shakespeare Schools Foundation in 2019. Hannah is a member of the Institute of Fundraising. 

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? Hannah took an online quiz to discover who her Shakespeare character is. She got Iago. She’s pretty worried.   

    hannah@shakespeareschools.org

  • Francis Christeller

    Fundraising Manager
    Francis was born in New Zealand but is proud to have lived and worked in the UK as an EU migrant for the last 8 years. He has a passion for all things theatrical, having trained in contemporary dance at university and spent a good part of his professional career on the stages and screens of New Zealand, the UK and Europe. In 2015 Francis joined the team at LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) where he began to explore the wonderful world of fundraising. He joined the Shakespeare Schools Foundation team as Fundraising Manager in mid 2019 and enjoys working closely with others in the team on attracting funding from Trusts, Foundations and individuals.
    What Shakespeare character you would be? Benvolio - because Francis is chilled out, super loyal and hopefully will survive right to the end.

    francis@shakespeareschools.org

  • Helen McKay-Ferguson

    Communications Manager

    Helen worked as a journalist and a primary school teacher before joining the charity sector. She brings experience in communications and fundraising from roles at The Brokerage and The Children's Literacy Charity. As Communications Manager for Shakespeare Schools Foundation (SSF), she loves to share the stories of the brilliant young people whose lives are transformed through the charity's work. She is always keen to hear from journalists who want to help spread the word about SSF far and wide.

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? Helen would be Titania, Queen of the Fairies. She loves the thought of sashaying through a forest. (Snuggling down with Bottom, not so much...).

    helen@shakespeareschools.org

  • Daisy Goddard

    Events and Corporate Manager

    Daisy started working in events after graduating from the University of Nottingham, where she studied American History and Literature. After finding her footing at a venue-finding and events agency, Daisy moved to London to explore the not-for-profit sector, which is where she has stayed ever since. Daisy comes from a family of teachers and is passionate about seeing children’s confidence and self-esteem grow through creative outlets.

    What Shakespeare character would you be? Viola from Twelfth Night because of her resourcefulness and self-control – essential attributes when organising events!

    daisy@shakespeareschools.org

  • Maya Alexander

    Fundraising Officer

    Maya has worked in charity since graduating from Brunel University with a degree in Drama and English Language. She is a fan of Shakespeare, exploring the criminality of women’s mental health in Shakespeare’s plays. She has worked in Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Fundraising for children’s charities Kids Company and Coram and is excited to be finally combining both of her loves: Drama and Children!

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? According to the internet Maya is most like Lady Macbeth which she sort of gets and is not opposed to. She would prefer to be associated with Oberon because she is away with the fairies and loves to make a creative scene.

    maya@shakespeareschools.org

  • Alannah Jones

    Senior Fundraising Officer

    Alannah studied English at Oxford University, and performed in many student Shakespeare productions of vastly varied quality. She first encountered Shakespeare Schools Foundation while teaching English in a secondary school in Enfield. Struck by the phenomenal impact of the Festival, she has been shouting about SSF’s impact to anyone who’ll listen ever since. She has previously worked in fundraising at the Unicorn Theatre and as a puzzle editor for the Daily Mirror newspaper. She also writes theatre reviews for Londonist.

    Which Shakespeare character you would be? Alannah couldn’t decide which character to pick… so clearly she’s Hamlet.

    alannah@shakespeareschools.org

  • Alex Swain

    Development Officer

    Alex 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. He 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.

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? King Lear

    alex@shakespeareschools.org

  • Daniella Finch

    Foundation Assistant

    Whilst studying English at the University of Nottingham, Daniella realised she was spending more time doing plays at the student theatre than she was doing her actual degree. She spent the next three years plucking up the courage to tell her parents she wanted to be an actress. Until she gets her 'Big Break', Daniella enjoys working at SSF and seeing the transformative power that Shakespeare has, inspiring young people and changing their lives.

    Which Shakespeare character you would be? Celia, because her love for Rosalind is female friendship at its finest.

    daniella@shakespeareschools.org

Support team

  • Chris Stead

    Director of Finance

    In his role as Director of Finance, Chris is responsible for leading the Finance Department and directing the financial strategy of the business. Previously he was Managing Director of a global market research business and has also held senior financial roles at Taylor Nelson Sofres (now part of WPP) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Chris is a qualified Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW and has an MBA from Kingston University.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Prospero - just, fair and a wizard with numbers.

    chris@shakespeareschools.org

  • 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

    stephen@shakespeareschools.org

     

  • 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.

    james@shakespeareschools.org

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