Tobacco Factory Theatres has announced that Bertel Martin will become their new Chair of the Board. Bertel takes over from Sarah Smith MBE who is standing down after 13 years.
Bertel Martin has been involved in Bristol’s voluntary sector and arts scene for over 30 years, as a director, producer, manager and freelance writer. He has worked for the Black Voluntary Sector Development Unit, Bristol Old Vic and Kuumba and sat on the board of Circomedia, Albany Centre, Bristol Broadside, Theatre Bristol, Come the Revolution, Nilaari and Bristol Short Story Prize. A founding member and coordinator of Bristol Black Writers Group that helped change the perception of Black arts in Bristol, his national work has included being director of Plymouth International Book Festival. He has sat on Arts Council England advisory boards for developing Black theatre in England and he currently works as Finance & Operations Manager for acta Community Theatre.
Speaking of his appointment, Bertel Martin said: “I am thrilled to be joining Tobacco Factory Theatres at such an exciting time in the organisation’s journey. I must take this opportunity to thank the outgoing chair, Sarah Smith, for her incredible work over the last 13 years and for her support as I begin my journey as Chair of the Board for this special organisation.”
During her time as Chair, Sarah Smith has overseen a transformation in the organisation’s development. From the expansion of the staff team to deliver a programme of training, education and participation schemes for both artists and members of the community, to new seating in The Factory Theatre and the introduction of a second performance space, The Spielman Theatre. Sarah was awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours, for her services to theatre in Bristol and Cornwall, earlier this year.
Speaking of her time at Tobacco Factory Theatres, Sarah Smith MBE said: “It has been a privilege to work with such a dedicated and passionate team at such an iconic building. The organisation has gone from strength to strength, and I have been humbled by the huge support that we have received from audiences, members, benefactors, funders and my colleagues on the board. I shall miss it greatly and I will certainly be a regular attender at the wonderful productions presented here.”
Artistic Director and CEO of Tobacco Factory Theatres, Heidi Vaughan said: “We are delighted to welcome Bertel to the TFT family with his wealth of experience in the arts sector across the Southwest and nationally. We are, of course, very sad to see Sarah leave us and thank her for all that she has done for TFT.”
Posted on 10 October 2023