Biographies of LBS contributors

Alistair Stewart

Photograph of Alistair Stewart, wearing a black suit and yellow tieAlastair Stewart is one of the UK’s most experienced broadcast journalists and news presenters. He currently presents ITN’s News at 1.30 pm and co-presents ITV News at 6.30 pm.

His career in television began in 1976 with ITV’s Southern Television as a reporter, industrial correspondent, presenter and documentary maker.  In 1989 he began to anchor ITN’s News at Ten, taking a year out to work as ITN’s Washington Correspondent.  Four days after returning from Washington he was sent to Saudi Arabia, to cover the Gulf War.  Alastair was the first British television reporter to broadcast live from the liberated Kuwait City.

Alastair’s experience came to the fore when he provided live coverage of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as the details of the tragedy unfolded.  A two minute news-flash became an unscripted, one hour special programme.

He has presented many of ITN’s other special programmes including the State Openings of Parliament, numerous by-elections and the Royal Weddings of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York.

In 2006, he was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his work in broadcasting and for charity.

Andrew Sachs

Close up photograph of Andrew Sachs, he has white hair and beard and is wearing glassesAndrew Sachs is an actor, perhaps best loved for his BAFTA nominated role as ‘Manuel’ in the cult TV comedy, Fawlty Towers.

He made his television debut in the 1960s, appearing in TV shows such as The Saint and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

More recently, Andrew has appeared in Coronation Street, Casualty and Silent Witness. Andrew has performed many comic roles in theatre in plays as varied as Educating Rita, Kafka’s Dick and Twelfth Night.  He also collaborated with concert pianist Victor Sangiorgio on Life After Fawlty, a two man-show set to the music of Richard Strauss.

Andrew has recently finished filming Quartet, a comedy set in a home for retired opera singers, directed by Dustin Hoffman. 

He has enjoyed a prolific career in radio and has starred in numerous BBC radio plays, including The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and Dixon of Dock Green. He has written his own radio plays, including Revenge, for Radio 3, and was the voice of the children’s animation series Star Hill Ponies and Wiggly Park.

Bobby Baker

Photograph of Bobby Baker, she is wearing a blue and black top and silver necklace. She has short grey hair and is looking upwards and to the leftBobby Baker is a woman, and an artist.  She lives in London, England.  She was trained as a painter at St Martins School of Art but, on leaving, found cake and performance more effective ways to express her ideas.

Since the early 1970s she has produced an extensive repertoire of work based on her personal experiences of life.  She works in a variety of media including performance, food, site-specific installation, radio, TV, painting and drawing.

Major works include An Edible Family in a Mobile Home (1976); Packed Lunch (1979); Drawing on a Mother’s Experience 1988; The Daily Life Series 1-5 (1991-2001), commissioned by LIFT; and How To Live, funded by a Wellcome Trust Sciart Production award and ACE and launched at the Barbican, London, in 2004.

Bobby Baker’s acclaimed Diary Drawings exhibition was first shown at the Wellcome Collection in London in 2009, and continues to tour internationally.  It comprises 158 images selected from over 700 drawings created by Bobby between 1997 – 2008, charting her struggle to overcome mental and later physical illness.  Following her critically acclaimed exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in 2009, Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me, and the subsequent Mind Book of the Year Award winning book (2011), her work now focuses increasingly on the area of mental health and its relationship with the arts.

Her company is called Daily Life Ltd, part of the Arts Council National Portfolio, and is based in East London.

Baker has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Queen Mary, University of London.

Alison Balsom

Photograph of Alison Balsom, she has light blonde hair and is wearing a black dress and holding a trumpetAlison Balsom has been a professional classical trumpeter since 2001 and is considered one of classical music’s great ambassadors.  She has been honoured with numerous awards by Classic FM, Gramophone and ECHO Klassik, and is a triple Classic BRIT award winner.

In 2009, Alison headlined The Last Night of the BBC Proms, a concert which reached its biggest ever global television audience, with viewing figures at an estimated 200 million.

In 2010, she made her US television debut, appearing with the Orchestra of St Luke’s, on The Late Show with David Letterman.

As part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, Alison performed Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major and Ástor Piazzolla’s Libertango, (arrangement: Julian Malone for trumpet) with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and in August 2012 she will play with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

A committed advocate of musical education for children and young adults, Alison is Patron of the Mayor’s Fund – a scheme providing music scholarships for hundreds of London schoolchildren, and is Visiting Professor of Trumpet at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Dame Barbara Windsor

Photograph of Barbara Windsor, she has blonde hair which is piled on top of her head. She is wearing a pink dress and sitting on a gold chair smiling.Dame Barbara Windsor is a film, TV and stage actress and an iconic Londoner, born in Shoreditch.  She made her stage debut at the age of 13.

In 1959, she joined Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop, based at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, and appeared in the hit production Fings Ain’t What they Used To Be, before going on to stop the show in Sparrows Can’t Sing and appearing on Broadway in Oh, What A Lovely War.

Between 1964 and 1974 Barbara came to the public’s attention with her roles in the Carry On … film series.  Although she only appeared in 9 of the 31 films, her impact was such that she is still strongly associated with them in the public’s mind.

In 1994 Barbara took the opportunity to reach a new audience when she was cast as ‘Peggy Mitchell’, the formidable landlady of the Queen Vic, in the popular BBC soap Eastenders.  Her first appearance attracted 27 million viewers.

In 2000, she was made an MBE in the Millennium Honours List and was inducted into the first BBC Hall of Fame, in 2010 she was given the Freedom of the City of London and in 2015 in the Queen’s New Year Honours list she received a Damehood for her services to charity and entertainment.

Lord (Colin) Low

Photograph of Colin Low, he has dark and grey hair. Colin Low is a disability rights campaigner, law scholar and life peer.

Blind since the age of three, he is dedicated to increasing the involvement and profile of disabled people in society.

Throughout his varied and fascinating career he has chaired and led a number of organisations campaigning for the rights of blind and disabled people.  He has been President of International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) since 2010 and is a Vice-President of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), having been Chair from 2000-2009.

He is President of Visionary and Disability Rights UK and has undertaken a range of important roles in organisations including the National Federation of the Blind, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal and the Disability Rights Commission.  He was President of the European Blind Union (EBU) from 2003 to 2011.

He taught Law at Leeds from 1968 until 1984, was Director of the Disability Resource Team and Senior Research Fellow at City University.

He was made a CBE in 2000 and appointed to the House of Lords in 2006, where he serves as a crossbench member.

Alison Steadman

Photograph of Alison Steadman, she has a grey bob hair cutAlison Steadman received her drama education at East 15 Acting School in Debden, and began her professional life in repertory theatres where she consolidated her skills.  Although she has been quoted as saying she feels most at home onstage, she also has a formidable array of TV and film roles to her name.

A collaboration with her then-husband, the director Mike Leigh, produced the classic TV film Nuts in May, and she went on with him to create the character of ‘Beverly’ in the play Abigail’s Party – a part that is still remembered with affection by the public despite having just reached its 35th anniversary.   Alison scooped the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress and the piece was captured on film as a BBC Play for Today.  In 1992 she originated the part of ‘Mari’, ‘Little Voice’s’ larger-than-life mother in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and won the Olivier Award for Best Actress.

Latterly Alison has enjoyed great success for the TV comedy series Gavin and Stacey, playing Gavin’s mother, ‘Pamela’.  She was awarded an OBE in the 1999 Honours List for services to drama.

Bettany Hughes

Photograph of Bettany Hughes, she has long dark hair and is smiling. Bettany Hughes is an historian, author and broadcaster.  She grew up in West London with her brother the cricketer Simon Hughes.  Her parents were in the theatre: she learnt early the importance and delight of sharing thoughts and ideas with a wider public.

Bettany won a scholarship to read Ancient and Modern History at Oxford University and then continued her post-graduate research while travelling through the Balkans and Asia Minor.  In recognition of her contribution to research, Bettany has been awarded a Research Fellowship at King’s London.

Bettany lectures throughout the world.  She has been invited to universities in the US, Australia, Germany, Turkey and Holland to speak on subjects as diverse as Helen of Troy and the origins of female ‘Sophia’ to concepts of Time in the Islamic world.  She considers her work in the lecture hall and seminar room amongst the most important, and rewarding she does.

She has written and presented a number of documentaries for television including When The Moors Ruled Europe, Helen of Troy and The Spartans for Channel 4.  For BBC 1 she has recently made ‘The Day Jesus Died’, ‘What is The Point of Forgiveness’ and for BBC 2 ,’The 7 Wonders of the Buddhist World’, and ‘Atlantis: The Evidence’.

Her 2012 series Divine Women, investigating the role of women in religion through history made world headlines and sparked international debate.

She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of York in recognition of Bettany’s ‘outstanding qualities as a historian and communicator.  In particular her enthusiastic advocacy for the public understanding of the importance of history.’

In awarding the Norton Medlicott Medal for History 2012/13 the committee commented particularly on ‘the outstanding scholarship of Hughes’ books, TV shows and radio programmes.’

Bettany will take up her role as Professor of Cultural Understanding in the Centre for Humanities, Utrecht University, later this year.

David Lammy MP

Photograph of David Lammy making a speechDavid Lammy was born in Tottenham and is one of five children raised by a single mother.

Now a Labour MP, David served 9 years (2001-10) as a Minister in the last Labour government and was made a Privy Councillor in 2008.  He is now an active backbench MP.

Since the last general election, David has raised a number of issues in Parliament and elsewhere, including:

He has campaigned for the economic regeneration of Tottenham to solve the unemployment crisis that grips the area.

He has established and now chairs the all party group on Fatherhood and has raised the importance of black fatherhood in the 21st Century.

He has campaigned for a reform of the Independent Police Complaints Commission so it can respond better to deaths and serious injury that follow Police contact.

David is also the author of Out of the Ashes: Britain after the riots a book about the reasons behind the 2011 riots and what has to be done to prevent them ever happening again.  All author proceeds of the book are being donated to Tottenham-based charities.

David Harewood

Black and white photograph of David HarwoodActor David Harewood has enjoyed success on stage, television and film.

A graduate of RADA, David has been earning praise for his work since the beginning of his career in 1990.  He’s appeared at the National Theatre in such plays as Othello, Henry IV and His Dark Materials.  On Celebrity Mastermind in 2008 he gave His Dark Materials the trilogy of novels by Philip Pullman as his specialist subject.

On film, David played the Prince of Morocco in the 2004 screen version of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons; and ‘Captain Poison’ in Blood Diamond, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly.

On British television, David was a regular on such series as The Vice, Robin Hood and Babyfather.  He was cast as Nelson Mandela in the TV film Mrs Mandela, and has been a guest in a number of series, including Doctor Who. He is currently in the acclaimed US drama Homeland.

He supports a number of charities and in 2007 donated his bone marrow for transplant and helped to launch the ACLT (The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust).

David was appointed an MBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours for his services to drama.

Joely Richardson

Black and white photograph of Joely RichardsonJoely Richardson trained at RADA.  Her first professional job was ‘Miss Julie’ (Liverpool Playhouse).

Other THEATRE credits include a season at the RSC, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ( The Old Vic ) ‘Saxon Shore’ (Almeida), Lady Windermere’s Fan (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Madam Melville (Promenade, Broadway), & “Steal Magnolias” in the West End.

In 2011 Joely returned to the NY stage in Michael Wellers ‘Side Effects’ at the Lucille Lortel Theatre to rave reviews and delighted audiences with her portrayal of “Ellida” in Ibsen’s ‘Lady From The Sea’ at The Rose Kingston at the start of 2012.

Joely made her FILM debut with Sir David Hare’s ‘Wetherby’. She also appeared in Peter Greenaway’s ‘Drowning by Numbers’, ‘Shining Through’, ‘King Ralph’, ‘Event Horizon’, ‘101 Dalmations’, ‘The Patriot’, ‘Maybe Baby’, ‘Sister my Sister’, ‘Affair of the Necklace’ and ‘ Under Heaven’.

In 2011 Joely was seen playing the young Queen Elizabeth I in Roland Emmerich’s film ‘Anonymous’ , then David Fincher’s ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’.

In 2012 Joely was seen in ‘Red Lights’ with Robert De Niro, and ‘Thanks for Sharing’, opposite Tim Robbins.

Joely’s work over six seasons on Nip/Tuck merited two Golden Globe nominations for her performance as ‘Julia McNamara’ and a Golden Globe win for the series.

Other TV Credits include Ken Russell’s ‘ Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, Poliakoff’s ‘The Tribe’, ‘Wallis & Edward’, Lies My Mother told Me’ and ‘The Tudors.

Julie Etchingham

Photograph of Julie Etchingham wearing a black suitJulie Etchingham is a journalist and newscaster and co-presents ITV’s News at Ten.

She began her journalistic career with BBC Midlands, presenting the evening edition of Midlands Today.  Her first break into network news came when she hosted BBC’s Newsround in 1994.  In 1997 she presented two BBC holiday programmes – Holidays Out and Holiday ’97.  She went on to present and report for BBC Breakfast News and BBC News 24 and reported for BBC Knowledge on their arts show Culture Fix.

Julie joined ITV to front the re-formed News at Ten in December ’07, and the following year she co-presented ITN’s American Election coverage from New York.

In April 2011, she co-hosted ITV’s coverage of the Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and in 2012 she and Philip Schofield co-presented the same channel’s reporting of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Julie Etchingham was voted “Presenter of the Year” at the Royal Television Society Journalism Awards in February 2010.  She is the first woman ever to win the award.

Dr Christoph Vogtherr

Photograph of Christoph Vogtherr wearing a suit and tieDirector of the Wallace Collection since 2011, Dr Vogtherr was previously Curator of Pictures pre-1800 (2007-2011) and Acting Head of Collections. Before joining the Collection he was Paintings Curator at the Foundation of Prussian Palaces and Gardens, Potsdam, Germany (1998-2007) and Research Assistant at the Berlin Academy of Arts (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Künste) (1995-1996).

He studied art history in Berlin, Heidelberg and Cambridge; MA (Berlin), Ph.D (Berlin, Freie Universität). His Ph.D. thesis examines the early history of the Berlin State Museums in the decades around 1800.

He is specialized in French eighteenth-century painting and the history of collecting in Europe, mainly in the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries.

Jude Kelly OBE

Photograph of Jude Kelly wearing a black jacket and blue topJude Kelly is the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, Britain’s largest cultural institution.

She founded Solent People’s Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, and was the Artistic Director of the York Festival and Mystery Plays.  She later became the founding director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.  In 1997, she was awarded the OBE for her services to the theatre.   She has directed over 100 productions for organisations that include the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, the English National Opera, the Châtalet in Paris and venues in the West End.

Jude left the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002 to found Metal, which through its artistic laboratory spaces provides a platform where artistic hunches can be pursued in community contexts.  It has creative bases in Liverpool and Southend-On-Sea.

Jude is chair of Metal, a member of the London Cultural Strategy Group, and is Visiting Professor at Kingston and Leeds Universities and the Shanghai Centre for the Performing Arts.  She is a member of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board.

Gary O’Donoghue

Photograph of Gary O'Donoghue standing outside wearing a suitGary O’Donoghue is a BBC Political Correspondent, covering political news for national radio, television and online.

He has been a reporter for the Today programme on Radio 4, a presenter for BBC World Service, a presenter/reporter on the BBC2 disability magazine programme “From The Edge”, and an occasional presenter of In Touch on Radio 4.

As well as covering British news, he has reported from Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States, and has made documentary programmes for Radio 4, and films for current affairs programmes on BBC television.

Gary has been totally blind since childhood.

Karl Johnson

Black and white photograph of Karl JohnsonKarl Johnson is a stage, television and film actor.

He is one of Britain’s most prolific theatre actors and has undertaken an impressive array of roles in Frankenstein, Animal Farm, Uncle Vanya, Glengarry Glen Ross, Hedda Gabler, Amadeus, Don Quixote and

A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

He is a familiar face on television, having appeared in Merlin, Small Island, Larkrise to Candleford, and The Rise and Fall of Rome.

Karl’s most recent film role was alongside Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea, released in 2011 and directed by Terence Davies.

Throughout his career, Karl has worked with some of the UK’s leading film directors and auteurs including Davies, Steven Poliakoff, Stephen Frears and Derek Jarman.  He collaborated with Jarman frequently and played ‘Ariel’ in Jarman’s version of The Tempest, the title role in Wittgenstein and ‘Sphinx’ in Jubilee.  In 2012 Karl appeared in the Old Vic’s production of Michael Frayn’s multi award winning comedy, Noises Off.

Baroness Julia Neuberger

Photograph of Julia Neuberger wearing brightly coloured clothesBaroness Neuberger is a rabbi, social reformer and a life peer.

She became Britain’s second female rabbi in 1977 and served the South London Liberal Synagogue for twelve years.

Dedicated to the reform of social care and education at both community and policy level, Baroness Neuberger has chaired the Camden & Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust, was Chief Executive of the independent health charity, the King’s Fund, and was Chancellor of the University of Ulster from 1994 -2000.

From 2007-2009, she was the Prime Minister’s Champion for Volunteering and this year was invited to join the European Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace.  Committed to championing women’s rights and healthcare ethics, she is the author of several books including,

Not Dead Yet – a Manifesto for Old Age.  Her latest book, Is That All There Is? Thoughts on the meaning of life and leaving a legacy, was published in 2011.

Baroness Neuberger was created a Life Peer in 2004 and became Senior Rabbi of the West London Synagogue in 2011.

Lady Cobham

Photograph of Lady Cobham wearing a black polo neckLady Cobham became Chairman of VisitEngland in April 2009.

For 20 years she was responsible for restoring and opening to the public her home, Georgian Hagley Hall in the West Midlands.  She developed a successful corporate entertaining and outside catering business to defray the costs of running the last great Palladian house to be built in England.

She served on the boards of the English Tourist Board, English Heritage, the Countryside Commission and Historic Royal Palaces before moving to act as the Special Adviser on tourism and heritage in the newly created Department of National Heritage in 1992.  Subsequently, she was appointed to the boards of the V&A, British Waterways and the London Docklands Development Corporation, where she led on tourism.

She was Deputy Chairman of VisitBritain from 2005 to 2009.

In the private sector, for 14 years, Lady Cobham chaired regional radio station 100.7 Heart FM, the largest station outside London.  Between 2000 and 2009 she chaired the British Casino Association, steering the industry through the period of the 2005 Gambling Act.  She has been a consultant with accountants Ernst & Young and lawyers Farrers, Park Resorts and Citi Private Bank.

She has been Chairman of the UK’s largest arts prize, the Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries for ten years.

She currently chairs the Advisory Board of Highland Group International and is a member of the Advisory Board of Pagefield Communications.  She is also a director of The Leadership Agency.

Baroness Lola Young, OBE

Photograph of Lola Young wearing a headscarf and long earringsAfter an acting career in theatre and television, Lola Young became an arts administrator, later moving on to become professor of Cultural Studies at Middlesex University, a writer, cultural critic, public speaker and broadcaster.

After a period as project director leading a major initiative at the Black Cultural Archives, Lola subsequently became Head of Culture at the Greater London Authority. She currently advises arts and cultural agencies and organisations on policy, diversity, leadership and strategic planning and continues to write and produce creative events such as the highly acclaimed national programme of arts and cultural programme, Freedom and Culture.

Lola has sat on the Boards of several national cultural organisations including the South Bank Centre, the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, and The National Archives.  She has been involved in a number of judging panels, including Chairing the Orange Prize for Literature, the Caine Prize for African Literature and the Art Fund Prize.

A member of the House of Lords since 2004, Baroness Young is an Independent Cross Bench peer and has been involved in campaigns criminalizing and combating modern forms of enslavement. In addition, she is a member of the House of Lords EU Select Committee and its sub-committee on International Affairs and Defence.

As an Ambassador for Cotton Made in Africa, the Ethical Fashion Forum and MADE-BY, Baroness Young promotes ethical, sustainable fashion. She has recently been appointed a Commissioner at English Heritage and been made a Freeman of the Tallow and Chandlers Livery Company.

Loyd Grossman

Photograph of Loyd Grossman smilingLoyd Grossman is Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust and Chairman of the Heritage Alliance.

He was born in Boston and educated at Boston University, the London School of Economics and Magdalene College, Cambridge.

As a deviser, presenter or producer he was involved in some of Britain’s best known television programmes including Masterchef and Through the Keyhole.

A lifelong ‘foodie’ he created what has become one of Britain’s most successful premium food brands.

Loyd has had a long involvement with museums and the historic environment. He is a former Commissioner of English Heritage and of the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England; he was Deputy Chairman of Liverpool, European Capital of Culture and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Loyd is a keen guitarist and has performed at a number of music festivals, most notably Glastonbury.

Lynne Featherstone

Photograph of Lynne Featherstone smilingLynne was born and brought up in North London and has lived in the Hornsey & Wood Green constituency for over 30 years.

Before getting into politics, Lynne ran her own London design company and was the strategic design consultant for the UK’s largest transport consultancy. She also worked at University College Hospital and was the director of an electrical business with ten branches across London.

Lynne first became involved in politics when she helped form a residents’ association in order to fight council plans to introduce a parking scheme. She was a councillor on Haringey Council (Muswell Hill ward, 1998-2006), where she was Leader of the Opposition for four years.

Lynne also served on the London Assembly 2000-5, before stepping down after being elected as MP for Hornsey and Wood Green. Lynne won the seat with a 15% swing from Labour in May 2005 and then held the seat with an increased majority in May 2010.

Lynne was promoted to the party’s Shadow Cabinet as International Development spokesperson in December 2006. In December 2007, after Nick Clegg’s election as party leader, she switched to the role of Youth and Equalities Spokesperson in the Shadow Cabinet.

Lynne became a Home Office minister in May 2010, and was appointed Minister in the Department for International Development in September 2012.

Marcel Jenkins

Photograph of Marcel Jenkins waving and smilingMarcel Jenkins was one of the 8,000 Torchbearers for the London 2012 Olympic Games, running through packed crowds in the London Borough of Lewisham in the weeks before the Games begun.

He was nominated to carry the Torch for his work with the Friends of Blythe Hill Fields over the last 7 years.  The Friends is a small community group dedicated to promoting the increased use and enjoyment of a beautiful open space through making sustainable improvements, organising activities and producing an annual Festival.  Blythe Hill Fields [www.blythehillfields.org.uk/images/localmap.jpg] is a small, yet remarkable park in South East London, nestled between Catford, Honor Oak Park and Forest Hill with incredible views across the City of London.

Professionally, Marcel has worked in public funding roles with Arts Council England (ACE), both regionally and in London, administered the Contemporary Music Network, ACE’s  contemporary music touring programme and over the last 10 years has managed musicians, independent choreographers and a range of small dance companies including Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company and Jonzi D Productions.  He is currently a professional bookkeeper working with a number of arts organisations including VocalEyes.

Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance wearing brown hat and red shirt smilingMark trained at RADA under Hugh Cruttwell and The Glasgow Citizens Theatre gave him his first job in 1980, a year in repertoire, a trip to the carnival in Venice with Goldoni, and an equity card. His subsequent and ongoing vocal training has been with Barbara Bridgemont and Stewart Pearce.

Recent theatre includes: Johnny “Rooster” Byron in Jerusalem directed by Ian Rickson (Royal Court, The Apollo, West End and The Music Box, Broadway); Valere in La Bete (The Comedy and The Music Box, Broadway); Hamm in Endgame directed by Simon McBurney (The Duchess with Complicite);  Robert in Boeing Boeing directed by Matthew Warchus (The Comedy and The Longacre, Broadway); Peer Gynt directed by Tim Carroll (Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis). In 2007, he wrote his first play, I Am Shakespeare, which premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Matthew Warchus.  He has worked for the RSC, RNT, the Bush, The Tricycle, Shared Experience, TFANA (New York), and for his own companies, The London Theatre of Imagination and Phoebus Cart.  He was the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (1996-2006) and during his career has acted in 48 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. 

Film and television work includes: Anonymous, The Government Inspector; The Grass Arena; Intimacy; Angels and Insects, Nocturne, and Institute Benjamenta by the Brothers Quay.

Mark is an honorary bencher of the Middle Temple Hall, chairman of The Shakespearean Authorship Trust, an ambassador of Survival, and a patron of Peace Direct, working for non-violent resolution of conflict.

Mark is appearing at Shakespeare’s Globe this summer (2012) in Richard III and Twelfth Night.

Matthew Taylor

Photograph of Matthew Taylor Matthew Taylor became Chief Executive of the RSA in November 2006.  Prior to this appointment, he was Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister.

Matthew was appointed to the Labour Party in 1994 to establish Labour’s rebuttal operation.  During the 1997 General Election he was Labour’s Director of Policy.  His activities before the Labour Party included being a county councillor, a parliamentary candidate, a university research fellow and the director of a unit monitoring policy in the health service.

He was the Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research between 1999 and 2003, Britain’s leading centre left think tank.  Matthew has written for publications including The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, New Statesman and Prospect and is a regular contributor on Radio 4’s Moral Maze.

Michael Elwyn

Black and white photograph of Michael ElwynMichael Elwyn is a prolific stage, television and film actor.

He made his television debut in the 1970s, appearing in the popular soap Crossroads.  He went on to star in cult TV shows such as Dr Who, The Avengers, Colditz, and Rumpole of the Bailey, and has made recent appearances in Robin Hood and The Tudors and the Sky drama series, Stella.

Michael has acted in numerous films, including the famous literary adaptations Decline and Fall and The French Lieutenant’s Woman.  He has starred alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names – most recently, Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady.

He has played seminal roles such as Macbeth and Richard II and appeared in Rope at the Almeida, Three Sisters at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, and The Solid Gold Cadillac at London’s Garrick Theatre.

This year he premiered Ripping Rhymes, a one-man show he wrote himself, exploring the narratives of dramatic poems using a combination of humour and special effects.

Michael is currently filming Da Vinci’s Demons, a new series for BBC Worldwide, and is a regular reader for BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please and With Great Pleasure.

Mike Brace

Photograph of Mike brace wearing a grey suit and tieMike Brace, CBE was born in Hackney London, and at the age of ten, was blinded in a firework accident.  His love and involvement in sport were the main aids to his adjustment to life without sight.

Mike has had 2 parallel careers – one working in local government/voluntary sector and the other competing in, and administering, sport.

After 27 years, Mike left his last social work post as an Assistant Director in 2001, to become Chief Executive of VISION 2020 UK, from which he retired in June 2012.

He competed in 6 Winter Paralympic Games, was Chef de Mission in Nagano, and then Head of Delegation at a further five Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, including Beijing 2008.

In 2003 he was appointed to the Bid Board for 2012, and led the Paralympic part of the successful submission.  He was Chairman of Paralympics GB from 2001 to 2008, a Board Member of London 2012 until February 2009, and is a member of the board of United Kingdom Anti-doping (UKAD) and has successfully managed sports teams in Athletics, Skiing and Cricket.

His first book “Where There’s A Will” was published in 1981, the same year as he was featured as a subject on “This is Your Life”.

He was awarded an OBE in 2005 and a CBE in 2009 for services to Disabled Sport.

Mike Gatting

Mike Gatting is a former English cricketer who captained Middlesex and England.

He is now Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Mike made his debut for Middlesex in 1975 and played his home cricket at Lord’s until his retirement in 1998.  He made his Test debut against Pakistan in Karachi in the 1977/8 season and in Madras in 1982, achieved a test score of 207, making history with his fellow team member, Graeme Fowler, who had just completed a double century before him.  These were the first and second double centuries and the only time (so far) that two English batsmen made double centuries in the same Test innings in India.

Mike captained England to an Ashes series victory in Australia in 1986/87.  When he retired from cricket, he had 94 centuries to his name.

He was made Director of Coaching at Middlesex in 1998 and he currently sits on the committee of the world’s most famous cricket club, the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club).

In his current role at ECB, Mike works to bring the game to different audiences and produce more Test-quality players.

He was awarded an OBE in 1987.

Peter Murray

Photograph of Peter Murray wearing black rimmed glassesPeter Murray (Hon. FRIBA. FRSA) is an architect and journalist who has made a career in architectural communications and surface design.

He studied at the RWA School of Architecture and the prestigious Architectural Association School of Architecture.

He is a past editor of Building Design and the RIBA Journal.  In 1983 he launched Blueprint magazine, followed in 1990 by Eye, the international review of graphic design, and Tate magazine for the Tate Gallery.

As an architect, Peter has worked on major projects around the world including Broadgate in the UK, Union Square in Hong Kong, and Avant Seine in Paris.

In 2004, he launched the first London Architecture Biennale (now the London Festival of Architecture).

Peter sits on the Board of Trustees at UK charity Article 25, a development and disaster relief charity who design, build and manage sustainable buildings in some of the most unstable, under-developed regions of the world.

He is Honorary Secretary of the Bedford Park Society and the Architecture Club and director of the Cycle to Cannes Charity Challenge which aims to raise £500,000 a year for good causes including the promotion of urban cycling and sustainable transport systems.

Rob da Bank

Rob da Bank with jeans and stripy jumper, sitting on a chair with antlers above itRob da Bank is a BBC Radio 1 DJ and founder of the Sunday Best  empire, which includes the Sunday Best record label and the leftfield festivals Bestival and Camp Bestival. 

A BBC Radio 1 broadcaster for ten years, Rob is a filter for independent and eclectic music and is credited with promoting bands such as Florence and the Machine, Black Kids and The Ting Tings, years before their music hit the charts.  His current Radio 1 show, Rob da Bank, is broadcast every Saturday from 5am to 7am. 

Rob is committed to supporting independent music and is the founder of the Association of Independent Festivals, set up to help redress the balance in the corporate festival world.  The Bestival festival was voted Best Festival in 2010, ahead of Glastonbury, Reading and V. 

Rob’s Sunday Best label launched the careers of Groove Armada and Lemon Jelly in the 1990s and most recently attracted the recording rights to the debut album of cult film-director David Lynch.

Sandy Nairne

Photograph of Sandy Nairne wearing a suit and tieSandy Nairne is currently Director of the National Portrait Gallery.  He was Director: Programmes at Tate for eight years, and has worked previously as Assistant Director, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, Director of Exhibitions at the ICA and Director of Visual Arts for the Arts Council of Great Britain.  He is Chair of the Fabric Advisory Committee of St Paul’s Cathedral.  Sandy has lectured widely and chaired numerous conferences and seminars in Britain and abroad.  His most recent books are The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery, 2006, and Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen TurnersReaktion, 2011.

Shami Chakrabarti

Photograph of Shami ChakrabartiShami Chakrabarti is the Director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties).  She joined Liberty as In-House Counsel in 2001 and rose to become Director two years later. 

Since joining Liberty, Shami has written, spoken and broadcast widely on human rights and civil liberties being an essential component of a democratic society.

She played a primary role in Liberty’s engagement with the “War on Terror” and with the defence and promotion of human rights values in Parliament, the Courts and wider society.

A barrister by background, Shami was called to the Bar in 1994 and worked as a lawyer in the Home Office from 1996 until 2001.

She is currently the Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, a Governor of the British Film Institute, and a Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, in addition to being a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple.

She was recently invited to be one of six independent assessors advising Lord Justice Leveson in his Public Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the UK Press.

Shami was awarded her CBE in 2007.

Siobhan Davies

Photograph of Siobhan Davies sitting on a benchSiobhan Davies CBE (born London, 1950) is an acclaimed British choreographer, founder and artistic director of Siobhan Davies Dance.

After dancing with London Contemporary Dance Theatre, she made her first work in 1972, forming her own company in 1988. Since then, Siobhan Davies has created over 40 works to critical acclaim (Olivier Awards, South Bank Show Award) becoming a key advocate for the wider recognition of dance as a significant art form.

Her creativity stems from her belief in dance as a wellspring of ideas, knowledge and forms.

Recent work has seen her commissioning, curating and working with artists from other disciplines, and presenting work in gallery and studio spaces.

Siobhan Davies Dance has its own space, Siobhan Davies Studios in London, a RIBA award-winning building offering a curated programme of performances, talks, visual art exhibitions and classes.

Sir Derek Jacobi CBE

Photograph of Derek Jacobi, he has a white moustacheWe at VocalEyes are proud to have Sir Derek Jacobi as our patron.

Called one of the finest actors of his generation, Derek Jacobi has earned a singular place in the affections of theatre goers both in Britain and America.

A Cambridge graduate, he first joined the Birmingham Repertory Theatre before being invited by Laurence Olivier to be a founding member of the National Theatre.  He was a celebrated ‘Hamlet’, touring extensively with the play, and is also to be frequently found in London’s West End from his debut in Breaking the Code andBecket up to recent successes, Schiller’s Don Carlos, John Mortimer’s A Voyage Round my Father, and Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Film credits include The Day of the Jackal, Henry V, Dead Again, Up at the Villa, Gladiator, Gosford Park and Nanny McPhee.

On television he played Augusto Pinochet in Pinochet in Suburbia, and achieved a career dream playing a villain in Doctor Who.

Among his many awards are a BAFTA for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his role as the Emperor Claudius in I, Claudius, a Tony Award for Much Ado About Nothing (Best Actor in a Play, 1985), Emmys for The Tenth Man (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special, 1988–9) and Frasier (Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, 2001), and Evening Standard Awards for Little Dorrit (Best Film Actor, 1988) and Love is the Devil (1998).

He was made a CBE in 1985 and knighted in 1994.

Sir Nicholas Kenyon

Photograph of Nicholas Kenyon standing against the London skylineSir Nicholas Kenyon became Managing Director of the Barbican Centre in October 2007.

He was a music critic for The New Yorker, The Times and Observer, and editor of Early Music 1983-92.  He was appointed Controller of BBC Radio 3 in 1992, was responsible for the award-winning seasons Fairest Isle and Sounding the Century.  He oversaw the BBC’s programming for the Millennium and then ran the BBC’s Live Events and TV Classical Music departments.  He was Director of the BBC Proms from 1996 to 2007.

Sir Nicholas has continued to write and lecture on the arts, publishing books on Bach, Mozart, Simon Rattle, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and early music.

He is a member of Arts Council England, a board member of English National Opera and Sage Gateshead, and a Trustee of the Dartington Hall Trust.

Sir Nicholas was knighted in the 2008 New Year Honours; he is married with four children and lives in London.

Sophie Thompson

Black and white photo of Sophie ThompsonSophie Thompson has worked in film, television, theatre and radio, and has narrated a number of audiobooks.

She made her debut in 1978, at the age of 16, starring in A Traveller in Time, before going on to study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Big-screen roles include Four Weddings and a FuneralEat Pray LoveEmmaDancing at Lughnasa, and Gosford Park.  She appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2010, as Mafalda Hopkirk and Hermione Granger disguised as Hopkirk.

On TV she has appeared in PersuasionMidsomer Murders, Eastenders and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

She played Miss Bartlett in Andrew Davies’ 2007 adaptation of E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View and also appeared in the last episode of series 4 of Doc Martin.

She was nominated for an Olivier Award for her role as Amy in Company at the Donmar Warehouse in 1996, and in 1999 won the Olivier for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as the ‘Baker’s Wife’ in Into the Woods.  She appeared as Mrs Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer at the National theatre.

Steven Berkoff

Photograph of Steven BerkoffSteven Berkoff is a native Londoner, born in Stepney.  In a rich career spanning the cinema, television and stage, Steven has written and directed ground-breaking theatre and played iconic roles on stage and in celluloid.

His first original stage play, East, was presented at the Edinburgh Festival in 1975 and his latest production, On the Waterfront, enjoyed wide critical acclaim during its recent run in London’s West End.

Steven has starred in seminal films such as Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Antonioni’s The Passenger, and appeared in television productions, including War and Remembrance, Beloved Enemy and New Tricks.

Kafka and Shakespeare are enduring influences on Steven’s work and he has directed and toured productions of The Trial, Metamorphosis, Coriolanus, Hamlet and Macbeth both in the UK and around the world.

A prolific writer, Steven has produced plays, short story collections, essays, travel writing, autobiography and poetry. His latest book, Tales from an Actor’s Life, is a series of semi-fictional stories charting the nuances of the acting profession.

Baroness Susan Greenfield

Photograph of Susan GreenfieldBaroness Susan Greenfield CBE is a scientist, writer, broadcaster and member of the House of Lords.  Specialising in the physiology of the brain, Baroness Greenfield has spent her professional life researching how the brain generates consciousness and exploring novel approaches to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

She has written several non-specialist books on issues relating to the mind and brain for the general reader.

She appears regularly on radio and television, gives talks to the public and private sector and is a forthright speaker on the impact of 21st century technologies on the mind.

In 1994, she was invited to be the first woman to give the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, then sponsored by the BBC.  Four years later she became Director of the Royal Institution until the position was discontinued in 2010.

In 2000, she was awarded the CBE for services to the public understanding of science, and was created a life peer in the following year, taking the title Baroness Greenfield of Ot Moor in the County of Oxfordshire.

She serves as a crossbench member, having no political affiliation.

The Right Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster

The Right Reverend Dr John HallDr John Hall was installed as the 38th Dean of Westminster on 2nd December 2006. He is Dean of the Order of the Bath.

He was brought up in Eltham, and ordained in Southwark Cathedral in1975. After seventeen years in Southwark parishes, he was Director of Education for the diocese of Blackburn, and then from 1998 the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, responsible for the Church’s strategy for church schools and the support of parish-based and voluntary education.

He has written widely and debated publicly on educational matters and was instrumental in a significant expansion in the number of Church of England secondary schools.

He is a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Roehampton.

His book Queen Elizabeth II and Her Church was published by Continuum in March 2012.

Sir Tony Robinson

Photograph of Tony Robinson with his face in his handOver the last few decades Tony Robinson has emerged as Britain’s foremost face of popular history, the creator of a worldwide comedy icon, and an award winning writer of children’s books and television.

Tony presents Channel 4’s archaeology series Time Team, and played ‘Baldrick’ in Blackadder.  He devised and wrote four series of the BBC’s Maid Marian and Her Merry Men in which he played the ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’, made two series of The Worst Jobs In History and an acclaimed documentary about the elderly, entitledMe and My Mum.

His first professional appearance was at 13 in the original version of the stage musical Oliver!  After training at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he spent several years in rep, and worked for two years as a theatre director.

He has made TV documentaries on a host of different subjects including The Da Vinci Code, The British legal system and The Peasants’ Revolt.

He has extensively toured his one-man stage show Tony Robinson’s Cunning Night Out, including sell-out performances at the Edinburgh Festival.  He also gave the BBC 1 Dimbleby Lecture about assisted dying on behalf of Terry Pratchett.  As a children’s television writer he has won two RTS awards, a BAFTA and the International Prix Jeunesse.  He has written eighteen children’s books and several books for adults.

He was awarded a knighthood in the Queens’ birthday honors list 2013 in recognition of his public and political service.

Zoë Wanamaker

Photograph of Zoe WanamakerThe actress Zoë Wanamaker was born in the USA but London has been her home since she was a child. 

Her father, the actor / director Sam Wanamaker was blacklisted during the McCarthy witch-hunts and brought the family to the UK when Zoë was three years old.

After training at the Central School of Speech and Drama Zoë began her career in the theatre and from 1976 to 1984 was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Her stage work has brought her an Olivier Best Actress award on two occasions, in 1979 for Once in a Lifetime and in 1997 for Sophocles’ Electra.

On screen, Zoë’s face has become familiar to a whole generation of children with her role as ‘Madam Hooch’, the flying instructor of Hogwarts in the first film of the Harry Potter series.  TV audiences know her as ‘Susan Harper’ in BBC TV’s sit-com Our Family, a role she played from 2000 to 2011.

In 2000 she was awarded a CBE by the Queen in the New Year Honours list.

She is Honorary President of the Globe Theatre, which was founded by her late father.