GUILDFORD SHAKESPEARE COMPANY - Key Persons


Alex Brayshaw

Job Titles:
  • Trustee
Alex joined the board as one its first Trustees in December 2010, and has lived and worked in Guildford since 2002. He has been in marketing for almost 20 years and brings both marketing and business experience, having run a successful marketing agency. Alex was a partner at OgilvyOne dnx, before establishing his own agency The Magnus Club. His passions are travelling, cars and being organised! His favourite Shakespeare play is The Merchant of Venice only just ahead of Henry V.

ALEXANDER CHARLES BRAYSHAW

Job Titles:
  • Director
  • MARKETING CONSULTANT

Amaya Holman

Job Titles:
  • Marketing Officer
Amaya studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge, where she spent her spare time immersed in script writing, publicity design, performing as a Cambridge Footlight, and drinking lots of oat lattes. Her work has been featured at The Other Palace London, The Etcetera Theatre Camden, Assembly Studios Edinburgh, Underbelly Edinburgh, The ADC Theatre, The Corpus Playroom, The Cambridge Arts Theatre and more. Since graduating, Amaya has continued to develop her writing and publicity design, whilst working full-time in arts marketing, and drinking even more oat lattes. She's absolutely thrilled to be part of the GSC team!

Brian Blessed

Job Titles:
  • GSC Honorary Patron
Art, in all its forms, contains the unparalleled ability to transform lives. Whether it is a watercolour being looked at, a book being read aloud, a dance at a wedding or a piece of live theatre, art has the power to take us to places we have never been and feel emotions we've never felt, inspiring us to new ideas and ways of looking at the world around us, and how we live in it. Although much is made of art being easily accessible to everyone, it still carries certain misconceptions and stigma: that it is an expensive ‘hobby'; it's for an educated elite; or something that's ‘not for me'. At GSC, our mandate is to challenge those perceptions and encourage a new way to experience theatre-going and arts engagement. "GSC are proven, skilled craftsmen and you won't see Shakespeare produced better anywhere else Since 2006 our site-responsive approach has been the key breaking down these initial barriers. By deliberately choosing non-theatre venues to stage our work, we invite our audiences to interact with these community spaces, to be more explorative of their town. At the same time it encourages a local pride in our shared society. GSC's presence also supports continued, varied use of these special places, helping to sustain our collective cultural heritage.

DANA-LEIGH STRAUSS - Chairman

Job Titles:
  • Chairman
  • DIRECTOR
  • Trustee
  • Member of the Grace & Flavour
Dana-Leigh has lived in West Horsley since 1990 and joined the board in October 2014. She has a Masters in International Relations from the London School of Economics, over 20 years experience in the global oil industry and expertise in project management and commercial business processes. Dana-Leigh is an active member of the Grace & Flavour community garden in West Horsley where she cares for 74 fruit trees. Her initial introduction to Shakespeare was a dull high school English class that only read Henry IV part II. GSC has changed all that!

Eli Murton

Job Titles:
  • House Manager & Corporate Fundraising
Eli grew up in Leicester where she attempted to spend as much time as humanly possible at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre, and moved to Guildford for drama school. She has 3 boys, who she home educates the kids, grows veg, keep pigs, chickens and ducks as well as two cats and a dog. Eli also hoard fabrics & wool and has far too many craft projects on the go at the same time. Before joining GSC Eli taught drama, did some copy writing for children's books, sung to small children in nurseries, was an actor in a theatre company that specialised in 18th century theatre (so many corsets!) and once upon a time sold novelty loo seats!

Hannah Walker

Job Titles:
  • Company Stage Manager
Hannah trained at East 15 Acting School and graduated with a First-Class degree in Stage Management and Technical Theatre in 2015. Hannah started off freelance to begin with and then joined the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, where she has been for the last 7 years. Starting as an Assistant Technician, she went on to become the Lighting and Sound Technician. During this time, she ran the Mill Studio for 3 years, where responsibilities included lighting designing, building sets, making props and stage managing a number of youth productions. Hannah is even more excited to be working full-time with GSC and all their upcoming productions after working freelance for them over the last year.

JANE ALISON CARR SHEPPERD

Job Titles:
  • Director
  • THEATRICAL AGENT

Jane Shepperd

Job Titles:
  • Trustee
Jane is one of the original board members of GSC, joining in December 2010. Born in Northern Ireland, she has lived in and around Guildford on and off since the age of 8, and is from an old Guildford family! She went to Guildford High School and then trained as a Nurse at St Thomas'. She had a successful career as a Nursing Sister before attending Drama School. Jane enjoyed a varied Acting career in Television, Theatre, Musical Theatre and Film - largely comedy. She played principal roles in two West End productions before setting up Shepperd-Fox in 2005, a Theatrical Agency, of which she is the senior partner. Her favourite Shakespeare play is Twelfth Night.

Joanna Read

Job Titles:
  • Honorary President
  • Trustee
Jo was one of the original board members when GSC became a charity in December 2010. She served as its Chair until 2014. She first worked with GSC in 2008, directing The Comedy of Errors at the Bandstand in Guildford Castle Gardens. She returned the following year to direct The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the University of Surrey Lake. Jo is currently the Principal of LAMDA (London Academy of Dramatic Art), board member of the Regional Theatre Young Directors, and external Examiner for the LIR Theatre Academy, Trinity College Dublin.

KARIN GABRIELLA ANN WALKER

Job Titles:
  • Director
  • SOLICITOR

Karin Walker

Job Titles:
  • Trustee
Karin became a trustee in October 2012. Her professional background is a family lawyer, running her own niche family law practice in Woking and currently chair of the national Resolution DR committee. As a partner in her previous Guildford based firm, and now through KGW Family Law, Karin has been a proud sponsor of GSC productions since 2008. Karin's association with GSC supports her enthusiasm for the arts and the enrichment of the local community. She enjoys the theatre greatly and is overwhelmed by the standard of production repeatedly provided by GSC in the most atmospheric of locations. Karin lives locally on the Surrey/Hampshire border with her husband John and their two children where she enjoys her garden and the countryside with her two dogs.

KATE NATHOO

Job Titles:
  • DIRECTOR

Kerrie Driscoll

Job Titles:
  • Creative Learning Producer

Matt Pinches - Founder

Job Titles:
  • Co - Founder
  • Producer
Originally from Worcester, Matt trained at University College Bretton Hall in West Yorkshire, graduating in 1998 with an honours degree in Dramatic Art. Open-air theatre gave him his first job, playing D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers in Manchester. Since then he has continued to work in all forms of theatre from panto to TIE, from national No.1 tours to village halls, as well TV commercials and short films. Matt leads talks and lectures on Shakespeare, and in the summer of 2016 he walked the 146 mile Shakespeare Way from Stratford to The Globe in London. He also sits on the Public Arts Advisory Group for Guildford and is a Council Member for the Surrey Chambers of Commerce. He's extremely proud of GSC and all it has achieved. Matt lives in Bramley with his fiancé and their dog Nellie. He hopes one day to own a 2CV.

Peter Gordon

Job Titles:
  • Trustee
  • Voice Artist
An accomplished broadcaster and performer, communications specialist, and event host. Peter's career spans more than 30 years; he was the Content Director, voice, and indeed the public face, of Eagle Radio, broadcasting to Surrey and Hampshire, which was the leading commercial radio station for audience reach in one of Europe's busiest and competitive radio markets of more than 70 radio stations. He also hosted the radio station's breakfast show for 25 years. As one of the original employees of the ground-breaking UKRD Radio Group, which prided itself on a supportive company culture - winning the "Sunday Times Best Company to Work For" award many times - Peter actively promotes the importance of strong cultural values in business to help inclusivity and staff engagement. He now runs coaching sessions and workshops on request to help groups and organisations move forward through better conversations. Peter is also a voice artist and professional actor - appearing over many years in pantomime at Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre as well as previously at Woking's New Victoria Theatre and Aldershot's Princes Hall. Peter became a Trustee in April 2015.

PETER NORTON LESLIE GORDON

Job Titles:
  • DIRECTOR

Rob Cann

Job Titles:
  • Education & Outreach Operations Manager
Rob trained at Mountview Academy Theatre. Credits include: Romeo (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond) Hamlet (Young Shakespeare Company UK Tour); Adam in Time of My Life (The Mill at Sonning); Orlando in As You Like It & Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew touring open-air theatre to English Heritage sites across the UK; Bertram, All's Well That Ends Well & Antigonus The Winter'sTale (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival). He has also played Prince Charming for Disney Corporate events in London and Milan and is in an Xbox computer game. Before GSC, Rob was Education Officer for the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and directed numerous youth theatre shows including: The Witches, David Copperfield, Eclipse, Macbeth and Five Children and It. He also has worked as an assistant director on Annie for the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton.

Saffron Waller

Job Titles:
  • Company Administrator
Saffron grew up in Ash, Cranleigh and Guildford, and attended Guildford College of Technology. She now lives in Whitehill, Hampshire, with her partner Craig and young son, Seth - which means she's getting to know the A3 very well! Before joining GSC, she spent nearly 20 years working the NHS, starting off working the laboratory at The Royal Surrey Hospital and ending up as a Medical Secretary at Haslemere Hospital - with a few different roles and departments in between. It was just a slightly different type of drama!

Sarah Gobran - Founder

Job Titles:
  • Co - Founder
  • Producer
Sarah's passion for theatre and performance began at the age of seven with her discovery of Pam Ayres, regularly subjecting her classmates to a rendition of the latest poems she had learnt that week! Sarah moved to Guildford in 1995 to train at the Guildford School of Acting and since graduating has performed in a variety of theatre and film, including a spell at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Alan Ayckbourn's Sugar Daddies. Sarah has also worked for many local theatre companies including The Phoenix, in Bordon, playing Bathsheba in Far From The Madding Crowd, and for Proteus in Basingstoke, as Wendy in Peter Pan. For both companies she toured to local communities in Surrey and Hampshire. Sarah is delighted to have set up Guildford Shakespeare Company and by the tremendous response that they have received from the community, who appear to be as passionate as she is about Open-Air Shakespeare coming to life in Guildford!