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    Our Team

    Top Left to right: Sarah Gobran | Matt Pinches | Ant Stones | Beth Sweeney

    Top Left to right: Francesca McInally | Eli Murton | Saffron Waller


    Sarah Gobran - Co-Founder & Producer

    Favourite biscuit: One with cheese on it 

    If you could be a character from history/literature, who would you be? Miss Piggy!  

    Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter? Summer/Summer 

    First single you bought? Agadoo by Black Lace! 

    Muesli or bacon roll? I'm a vegetarian so muesli, but I'm more savoury than sweet so please can I have marmite on toast?

    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!


    Matt Pinches - Co-Founder & Producer

    Favourite biscuit: Malted Milk 

    If you could be a character from history/literature, who would you be? Horatio Nelson 

    Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter? Autumn/Winter  

    First single you bought? I Think We’re Alone Now by Tiffany (but don’t tell anyone!) 

    Muesli or bacon roll? Bacon every time...smoked please!

    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 continues to act outside of the company and as well as acting and producing, leads talks and lectures on Shakespeare. In the summer of 2016 he walked the 146 mile Shakespeare Way from Stratford to The Globe in London. He is now working on a film about the walk for the GSC Education Department.
     
    He’s extremely proud of GSC and all it has achieved. He's an avid baker, gin collector, walker and hopes one day to own a 2CV.


    Ant Stones - Head of Education

    Favourite biscuit: The last one I just ate.

    If you could be a character from history/literature, who would you be? I dunno… Wolverine? No, not him…

    Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter? Autumn/Winter. Big Christmas jumpers.

    First single you bought? Everyone’s Free To Wear Sunscreen. Pathetic effort.

    Muesli or bacon roll? How is this a choice?

    Ant studied English and Theatre at Warwick, before training on the Birkbeck directing course. He fell in love with open-air theatre after performing The Capulets and Montagues (a take on the Shakespeare classic) with the RSC as part of their Complete Works Season. He currently lives in Farncombe with his wife Bella and their son, Alfred The Great.


    For GSC, Ant has adapted three of their professional productions, The Wind in the WillowsAlice in Wonderland and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. He has also directed their schools tour of Macbeth. Before joining the company, Ant directed and wrote his own productions for a variety of theatres, including The Bush Theatre, Theatre Delicatessen, Theatre 503, The Old Red Lion and The Underbelly.

    Ant has been creating and running workshops for over ten years and enjoys working with the huge amount of children (and adults) who take part in our clubs, classes and workshops. It doesn’t matter how often he may look at a play, he always discovers something new and exciting by putting them on their feet. 


    Beth Sweeney - Company Stage Manager

    Favourite biscuit: Jammy dodger 

    First single you bought: Whenever, Wherever by Shakira

    If you could be a character from history/literature, who would you be?: Matilda from Roald Dahl's Matilda

    Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter: Spring/Summer 

    Muesli or bacon roll?: Bacon roll every time!

    Beth trained at the Guildford School of Acting, graduating in 2010 with a First in Professional Production Skills. Since then she has been working as a freelance Stage Manager, with such companies as Northern Broadsides, Qdos, Creation Theatre and Headlong.

    Beth first met Matt and Sarah back in 2011, as the Assistant Stage Manager, on their production of Hamlet and she enjoyed it so much she kept coming back! Alice In Wonderland which was staged across Guildford in October 2015 was Beth’s 10th production with GSC.

    Personal highlights include plumping Richard III’s back hump, making cucumber sandwiches in a shed during The Importance of Being Ernest, operating Dolly the sheep’s bleats in As You Like It and dressing up as Robert the Scout (with woggle) for The Merry Wives of Windsor.

    Beth is thrilled to be taking on the full time role of Company and Technical Stage Manager and is looking forward to many more fantastic years with the GSC team.


    Francesca McInally - Education Officer

     

    Favourite biscuit: Oreo or ginger nut, depending on how cheeky I am feeling.

    First single you bought: Macarena – I spent a lot of time at Butlins as a child and I pride myself on knowing all the classic 90s dance routines.

    Favourite Shakespeare play: Hamlet or Macbeth, I like the tragedies.

    If you could be a character from history/literature, who would you be? Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

    Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter: I can’t decide… I love the fact that we have four distinct seasons and I enjoy snuggling up under a duvet, watching a film as much as I enjoy sitting in the park, having a picnic.

    Muesli or bacon roll?: Muesli, I always start the day off well and then it tends to go downhill after that.

    Tell us a little bit about your background...Norwich gal and moved to the big smoke to study at East 15 Acting School and subsequently in the Meisner Technique with Scott Williams at The Impulse Company. I have worked professionally as an actress and a director at a number of theatres including; Richmond Theatre, The Tristian Bates Theatre, The Minack Theatre, The Tabard Theatre, The Theatre Royal, Norwich, The White Bear and The Questors Theatre. Favourite roles: Title role in The Hieress and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Favourite shows directed: Love and Money by Dennis Kelly and Breathing Corpses by Laura Wade.

    What were you up to before joining GSC?

    I have been facilitating for over eight years in a variety of roles from weekly drama clubs at The Questors Theatre, to sustained Pupil Premium placements in schools across the Brent Borough to Forum Theatre projects with young carers for Richmond Theatre Trust. This summer I represented Great Britain in Denmark, directing and collaborating on a devised piece created by the young people and performed at EDERED, which is an international theatre festival that promotes intercultural work with young people through drama -  it was an incredible experience!

     

    GSC’s Education Department is a busy one, can you explain a little bit about what your role involves?

    I will be facilitating all our in-house classes and directing our youth shows. I will also be working closely with schools to ensure we offer the best workshops to support the students and the teachers in attaining top results and making Shakespeare accessible and fun to all.

     

    What do you enjoy most about working with Young People?

    I love collaborating with young people because of the energy and excitement they bring into the rehearsal room; they constantly challenge what theatre is and together we create the weird and the wonderful. I am inspired daily by their openness, their curiosity and their braveness. They always keep me laughing and even after teaching for all this time I still look forward to every class as I never know what will happen next - their imaginations are limitless.

    What are you most looking forward to in the months ahead?

    I am excited to be part of the GSC family and working in a living, breathing theatre company. I look forward to facilitating more outreach projects within the community and getting our vision of ‘exciting, engaging and accessible’ Shakespeare out there. I enjoy using modern approaches to engage children with Shakespeare and I love seeing their pride when they understand the text for the first time and realise that Shakespeare isn’t just for the intellectual elite. In January, we will be touring Macbeth around ten disadvantaged schools in the area and I can’t wait to see this spark ignite.


    Eli Murton - Front of House Manager

    Favourite biscuit: Milk chocolate malted milk

    First single you bought: Salt’n’Pepa - Push it

    Favourite Shakespeare play:  A Midsummer Night’s Dream - it was the first one I saw.

    If you could be a character from history/literature, who would you be? Bilbo Baggins

    Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter: Summer

    Muesli or bacon roll?: Bacon roll

    Tell us a little bit about your background...I grew up in Leicester  where I attempted to spend as much time as humanly possible at the Leics Haymarket Theatre. I moved to Guildford for drama school. I have 3 boys, I home educate the kids, I grow veg, I keep pigs and chickens and ducks as well as the house pets - two cats and a dog. I also hoard fabrics & wool and have far too many craft projects on the go at the same time. 

    What were you up to before joining GSC? I 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 I sold novelty loo seats! 

    Can you explain a little bit about the role of Front of House Manager. I work with a wonderful team of volunteers and we are the first people the audience meet. We make sure the audience is safe, in the right place at the right time, manage the bar, sort out any problems and generally make sure everyone feels welcomed, relaxed and ready to enjoy the show.  

    What do you enjoy most about your role within GSC? The people. I get to work with the people I choose to hang out with during my free time. GSC has a very special vibe and it’s wonderful to see new company members realise they are working somewhere really special.  

    What are you most looking forward to in the months ahead? Everything! The Legend of King Arthur is set to be fantastic with a spine tingling script and I love the Spiegeltent.


    Saffron Waller - Company Administrator

    Favourite biscuit: Chocolate digestive

    First single you bought: The Frog Song by Paul McCartney (Don’t judge me, I was 5!!)

    Favourite Shakespeare play: Much Ado about Nothing

    If you could be a character from history/literature, who would you be? Sherlock Holmes. It might be nice to be that clever.

    Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter: Spring/Summer. Though I have a soft spot for roaring winter fires!

    Muesli or bacon roll?: Bacon roll…with ketchup.   

     

    Tell us a little bit about your background

    I grew up in Ash, Cranleigh and Guildford, and attended Guildford College of Technology. I now live in Whitehill, Hampshire, with my partner Craig and young son, Seth – which means I’m getting to know the A3 very well!  

     

    What were you up to before joining GSC?  

    Before joining GSC, I 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! 

     

    Can you explain a little bit about the role of Company Administrator 

    I help to ensure the smooth day to day running of the GSC office. I also help out with marketing, social media, press nights, administration of our GSC Friends Scheme and booking tickets. It’s a very varied role, with no two days the same. 

     

    What do you enjoy most about your role within GSC? 

    Working with such a lovely bunch of creative people, who have been very welcoming, and getting to see all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. I have loved the theatre for such a long time and it’s a real thrill to be working within a professional theatre company.  

     

    What are you most looking forward to in the months ahead? 

    I’m very much looking forward to seeing The Legend of King Arthur come to life, as it’s one of my favourite legends!

     

    Trustees

    In alphabetical order...

    Alex Brayshaw (Chair)

    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 is currently a partner at OgilvyOne dnx.

    His passions are travelling, cars and being organised!

    His favourite Shakespeare play is The Merchant of Venice only just ahead of Henry V.

     

    Peter Gordon

    A politics graduate (York) and trained journalist (Highbury) Peter is Guildford born and bred, was educated at Cranleigh School and has been on radio in the local area for more than 25 years!

    Originally starting with County Sound Radio, Peter launched Eagle Radio in January 1996 and has been the Programme Director and Breakfast show presenter ever since. He carries out programming management duties for Eagle’s parent company, UKRD, which has a number of radio stations and media interests throughout the UK.

    Peter also frequently appears in the pantomime at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud theatre – roles have included Ugly Sister and Nurse Nellie!

    Peter became a Trustee in April 2015.

     

    Kate Nathoo

    Kate is the Office Director of Thesis Asset Management PLC Guildford office, and has worked in central Guildford for 25 years.

    Kate also lives in Guildford  and, when not travelling for work, she really appreciates her local walk to work!

    Kate and Thesis have been proud to support the work of GSC through corporate sponsorship.  This has enabled them to take clients to theatrical productions of an exceptional standard ranging from Sonnet Walks to King Lear.

     

    Favourite Shakespeare play is King Lear – for the poignant beauty of the language and reminder that hope, love and forgiveness can overcome a bleak world. 'Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say’.

    Kate became a Trustee in February 2015.

     

    Jane Shepperd

    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.

     

    Dana-Leigh Strauss (Vice-Chair)

    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!


     

    Karin Walker

    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.

     

    Joanna Read (currently Principal of LAMDA) is our President