Board of Directors

The Rt. Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MBE (Chair)
The Rt. Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MBE has been a Member of Parliament for Barking since 1994. She is the former Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, the first female and elected person to take that role. She currently chairs the APPG on Responsible Tax. She carried out the following roles in the Labour Government between 1998 and 2010:

She was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment and Equal Opportunities, Department for Education and Employment (1998 - 2001); Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Department for Education and Skills (2001 - 2003); Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families, Department for Education and Skills (2003 - 2005); Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform in the Department for Work and Pensions (2005 - 2006); Minister of State for Industry and the Regions in the Department for Trade and Industry (2006 – 2007); and Minister for Culture, the Creative industries and Tourism in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2007 – 2010).

In the 2010 General Election Margaret fought off the challenge from Nick Griffin and the British National Party in her constituency, doubling her majority to 16,555.

Margaret Hodge entered politics in 1973 as a councillor for the London Borough of Islington where she was Chair of the Housing Committee from 1975 to 1979 and Deputy Leader from 1981 to 1982, before becoming Leader from 1982 to 1992. Prior to her appointment to the DfE she was Joint Chairman of the House of Commons Education and Employment Select Committee.

Margaret was educated at Bromley High School and Oxford High School before obtaining a BSc at the London School of Economics.

Rohit Dasgupta

Councillor Joshua Garfield
A Theatre Royal Stratford East trustee since 2019, Joshua is the Theatre’s local councillor, currently representing Stratford on London Borough of Newham Council. Born and raised in Stratford, Joshua has been elected twice by the local community and is a longstanding supporter of Stratford East’s work as a regular panto patron and former young performer with Theatre Train Stratford (2002-2010).

Joshua’s professional background is in project management, business development and education – primarily in a local authority setting – and includes a one-time stint as Head of Drama in a US educational programme, where he directed a youth production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Joshua currently serves as Newham’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning and sits on the National Executive Committee of the Jewish Labour Movement.

Dr Elizabeth Glyn
Dr Elizabeth Glyn (Lizzie) is an investment manager who runs her own firm in London. She has nearly 20 years’ of experience in financial services, with 10 years at Merrill Lynch managing pension funds, and later running a hedge fund invested in global & US equity funds. She now invests across a variety asset classes including equities, distressed debt, VC and start ups. She is a CFA charterholder.

In her other life, she has a PhD on Shakespeare’s Queenship from Kings College London, where she has taught undergraduate courses on Shakespeare and the Early Modern period, and a Masters in Medieval History. Her PhD specifically looked at Shakespeare’s most controversial queens and their techniques of influence; negotiation, intercession and obstruction.

She has been involved in the charitable sector in various ways. She sits on the board of the British Shakespeare Association, an academic committee which oversees the publication of the Shakespeare Journal, and the biannual Shakespeare & Early modern conference. She has 4-year-old twin boys, who can’t wait to explore the wonderful possibilities of live performance as soon as lockdown is over.

Patricia Hamzahee
Patricia is an advisor, investor and philanthropist.

After some 20 years in banking and finance, Patricia now helps social enterprises attract private capital and advises private capital providers on their responsible investment strategies through her consultancy Integriti Capital. As co-founder of Extend Ventures, she also works to improve access to funding for Black and other diverse business owners. As co-founder of Black Funding Network, she supports intentional funding of small, Black-led non-profit organisations.

In addition to being a Trustee of Theatre Royal Stratford East and Chairing the Development Board, she is a Trustee of Ballet Black, Social Enterprise UK, Areté Network and International House New York as well as a Director of the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival CIC. She is a member of Women in Social Finance, and on the Advisory Boards of Money A+E and the Shaw Trust Foundation.

From 2016-2019, she was a Trustee and outgoing Chair of the Development Board of Black Cultural Archives; Senior Advisor with The Good Economy, a social value advisory firm; and a member of BVCA’s Responsible Investment Advisory Group.

Simon Haynes 
Simon Haynes has over 20 years’ experience in Digital Media encompassing brands such as The Telegraph, eBay, Expedia, NME and OK!. An evangelist of the medium, Simon is experienced in the full spectrum of opportunity that the Digital ecosystem provides.

Christopher Hird
Christopher Hird is the founder and managing director of Dartmouth Films (, which he established in January 2008 to concentrate on making independent documentaries, pioneering new ways of funding and distributing them and encouraging new and emerging talent in the industry. A former stockbroker and journalist Christopher Hird has more than twenty-five years’ experience as a television reporter and producer.

Francesca Moody
Francesca Moody MBE is an Olivier award-winning and Tony nominated Theatre Producer. She has produced theatre on and off London’s West-End, at the Edinburgh Festival, on tour in the UK and internationally. She is best known as the original producer of the multi-award winning FLEABAG by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which she has produced globally on behalf of DryWrite. In 2020, Francesca led and coordinated the Fleabag for Charity campaign and later the Theatre Community Fund, raising over £2,000,000 to support theatrical artists and professionals whose livelihoods and creative futures have been threatened in the wake of Covid-19.

Martin Pilgrim MBE
Martin Pilgrim began his working life as a local government accountant but for most of his 39-year career he worked for bodies representing local government on a wide range of policy issues. His last job before retirement in 2007 was Chief Executive of London Councils, the body which brings together London’s local authorities.

Since his retirement, Martin has had non-executive roles with a variety of fields.  He has been on the board of Film London, London’s strategic film and media agency (2005-2011).  He was involved with The Prince’s Trust (2007-2013) in positions including Trustee, Chair of the England Council, Chair of the London Regional Council and member of the UK Advisory Board.  He has also had NED / trustee / treasurer roles in bodies involved with childcare, sustainability and drug and alcohol abuse.  In his current portfolio, he is Chair of Family Rights Group, Hon Treasurer of the Young Women’s Trust (formally YWCA England and Wales), and a trustee and finance lead of the Diana Award and of the Early Intervention Foundation. Martin is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and has a Master’s degree in management from the University of Kent.

Bryan Raven
Bryan has been at technical supplier, White Light Ltd, since 1987. As a former Forest Gate resident, Bryan has been a visitor to Stratford East for over thirty years.  In addition to being the Managing Director of White Light, he is also involved in various industry initiatives involving subjects including apprentices, climate change and recognition for the technical theatre industry.

Paula Roberts

Robert Whiteman
Rob Whiteman is an experienced non-executive director and trustee. He is presently Chair of NHS University Hospitals Dorset and Residential Secure Income (ReSI) plc. He has strong links to East London and serves on the Council of Queen Mary University London (QMUL) and is a former Chief Executive of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Rob is an accountant by training and held other CEO roles at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) and, as a senior civil servant at the Home Office, the UK Border Adler Agency (UKBA).   

Francesca Hutchin (Young Trustee)
Francesca (She/Her) is a Climate and Social justice campaigner, researcher and organiser. She currently is finishing her Masters degree in Climate Change Policy and has a wide range of experience of co-ordinating and supporting on Climate action and community projects. She also has worked in community, theatre and arts outreach, as well as being an Involving Young People consultant specialising in youth advocacy and participation. She is interested in the intersection between Climate change and the arts. She first got involved with Stratford East as a participant of their Learning and Participation project ‘Future Leaders.’

David Olaniregun (Young Trustee)
David is an actor, director and producer. In July 2022, David performed in painkiller at Stratford East as part of the theatre's Young Company, where he also recently also starred in, co-wrote and produced the play RUN.

David holds a degree in Film Studies from Queen Mary University.

Honorary Council

Derek Joseph
Derek Joseph is Chair of Aquila Services Group a quoted consultancy group for whom he is heading initiatives to set up affordable housing organisations in Africa and was for nearly 30 years Managing Director of HACAS Group, a major quoted research and consultancy company. He now acts as a non-executive director of a number of property, financial and business incubator companies. Derek Was till recently Chair of A2Dominion, one of the largest Registered Housing Associations, is Chair of Deptford Reach a day centre for people needing support and a Trustee of the London Housing Foundation. He is also an avid theatregoer and supporter of Watford FC.

Paul O'Leary
Paul O'Leary has managed and executive produced over one hundred theatrical productions both in the UK and overseas since establishing his own company in 1992. He is currently associated with Michael Codron Plays Ltd as General Manager of Productions & Consultant for Nederlander Theatres (Aldwych) Ltd. Prior to 1992 Paul was Production Manager at Theatre Royal Stratford East for three years, having earlier worked for both the scenic construction company Kimpton Walker Ltd and the Royal Adelphi Theatre London as Technical Manager. Paul is a Member of the Society of London Theatre.

Mark Pritchard
Mark is the longest serving Board Member of Pioneer Theatres, including a spell as acting Chair. He worked with Joan Littlewood for 10 years starting with Oh! What A Lovely War and in various capacities including Production Manager, Set and Lighting Designer. He has pursued a successful career as a Lighting Designer, lighting over 40 productions in the West End and working at most of the major regional theatres, throughout Europe, in the U.S.A., Canada and Australia.

He has also worked at drama schools including RADA, LAMDA and Central, both in a designing and teaching capacity. Together with Joan Littlewood, Mark is responsible for resolving the problems of the freehold of the Theatre Royal Stratford East and forming the Theatre Workshop Trust, to hold the freehold. He is the Chair of Theatre Workshop Trust and of Stratford East Trading Ltd, the trading subsidiary of Pioneer Theatres Ltd.




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