Dana-Leigh Strauss (Chair)
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!
Jane Shepperd (Vice Chair)
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.
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.[/expand]
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. (Photo Steve Porter)
CJ called Los Angeles, California home before moving to Guildford over 18 years ago to study Theatre and Media. With degrees in Stage Management and Technical Theatre, Film and Media, and Theatre Arts, CJ has over 20 years’ experience with many theatre facets including Youth Work.
CJ is also an advocate for mental wellbeing and has been a Diversity Consultant for schools, encouraging access to diverse resources on campus and in the workplace.
CJ adores living and working in Guildford, and can often be found getting props or crafting supplies in town. She has had the privilege to work behind the scenes with Guildford Shakespeare Company on several shows and joined the Board in August 2022.
CJ loves Marvel, puns, and spending time with her family.
Her favourite Shakespeare play is ‘The Comedy of Errors’.
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 (Honorary President)
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.
Her previous roles include Chief Exec & Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse, Associate Director of the Octagon Theatre, Bolton and Head of Education & Participation for Birmingham Rep.
We're delighted that in January she will be returning to Guildford as the new Chief Executive and Director of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.