Here at Tobacco Factory Theatres we are well supported by a fantastic board of trustees. Read on to find out more about who our trustees are.
SARAH SMITH – MBE (CHAIR)
Sarah is a professional business manager, with over 30 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors. As a Director of Elev8 Ltd she currently specialises in management consultancy, business development and project management working in the private and public sectors. Prior to this her roles included Development Manager, General Manager and, for three years, CEO of the Bristol Old Vic as well as being General Manager of the Hall for Cornwall Trust. Sarah was Project Director for the Redevelopment of Bristol Old Vic’s Georgian auditorium, rehearsal rooms and back of house completed in 2012.
Joe is a Digital Producer with a particular interest in immersive & interactive media. He has produced a range of innovative and award-winning digital projects, many during 7 years spent at the BBC. As an associate for The Space, he supported over 60 arts organisations develop and produce their own digital projects to build online audiences, and with his company, Sideburn Panda, delivered a wide variety of projects for the arts & heritage sector. He is currently a Senior Producer at Aardman Animations working on Wallace & Gromit’s first feature in VR.
Sam was a Theatre Sound Engineer for many years, in London and Southampton, working in venues including the Royal Court, Young Vic, National Theatre, and latterly as Head of Sound and Video at the NST Theatres in Southampton. Sam also spent a number of years teaching Sound Design and Engineering at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and LAMDA. Sam is an elected Salisbury City Councillor, and sits as an observer on the board of WIltshire Creative. Sam brings the benefit of his experience in technical theatre and local Government to the Tobacco Factory Board of Trustees.
Ally’s professional mission is to tackle educational inequality and she has been teaching and leading in ‘challenging’ schools for 20 years. She is a Teach First alumnae and has worked nationally to affect change, improve outcomes and transform communities. She co-founded an Ofsted Outstanding free school in Feltham, London in 2012, and joined Oasis Community Learning upon moving to Bristol. She has held Senior Leadership positions in two Bristol schools, has improved Oasis schools nationally, and has developed the new Oasis free school on Silverthorn Lane. Ally is a keen ambassador for partnership working and has worked with Bristol’s Learning City Partnership on employability, and has held Trustee positions for Teach First and Clifton College. Ally is a keen supporter of the arts, and is delighted to join the board of Tobacco Factory Theatres.
Mike is a retired Chartered Accountant. After qualifying in Bristol with one of the major accountancy practices, he worked for twenty years in the financial services sector (insurance and banking) before moving to the charity sector for the following ten years. He was finance director of the YHA for five years, and then held director of resources posts at a number of smaller charities, before retiring in 2013. He brings strong financial skills and significant charity experience to the board of trustees, of which he has been a member since 2018.
LAURA MORA KNIGHT
Laura Mora Knight is a British/Latinx theatre producer, specialising in Theatre for Young Audiences. She is Incubator Producer at The Egg, Theatre Royal Bath’s playground for developing, producing, and programming work for and with children and young people. Laura is an advocate for the rights of children and young people and is passionate about ensuring they have access to high quality arts experiences. Prior to her work at The Egg, Laura taught English at secondary school level and worked in Community Outreach for Oxford Playhouse and a variety of different arts festivals across the country.
Ewen is an adopted son of the West Country having moved to Bristol (from his home town in the north of Scotland) in 1989. He is a solicitor and a partner at TLT, within the firms nationally recognised alcohol and gambling licensing practise. Ewen represents a number of nationally recognised clients (as well as significant number of independent operators) in the retail and hospitality sector, including theatre operators. He has previously undertaken other voluntary roles within the city including being a trustee and board director at the Trinity Centre. Over the years Ewen has enjoyed numerous productions at the Tobacco Factory, notable amongst them Othello, Jigsy (Les Dennis – a revelation!), Living with the Lights On and the wonderful Christmas productions.
Rick is a senior engineer for a leading insurance company with over 30 years experience in the Motor, Insurer and Customer Service industry.
He returned to his native Bristol in 2020 after a 15 year hiatus in Devon where he developed a love of local theatre gained after years of backstage assistance and chaperoning. He was naturally drawn to the history of the building and both the quality and affordability of the productions. He shares the TFT desire to promote theatre to the whole community making it a safe, inclusive place for all.
Despite not having a professional background in theatre, his eclectic taste in genre and passion for diverse production types means he brings a vital ‘audience perspective’ to the board.