The Rt. Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MBE (Chair)
The Rt. Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MBE has been 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.
Andrew Cowan is a Partner and Head of Social Housing at Devonshires, a law firm based in the City of London.
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 is the founder and managing director of Dartmouth Films (www.dartmouthfilms.com), 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.
Deborah has more than twenty years’ experience of providing clients with research based strategic advice. In that time she has worked with global businesses, major charities, international governments and senior politicians. She is particularly well known for developing innovative ways to bring decision makers closer to their stakeholders. Before co-founding BritainThinks, she jointly ran the Chime Research and Engagement Division. She was also pollster to Gordon Brown, firstly as Chancellor of the Exchequer, then as Prime Minister. One of Britain's leading commentators on public opinion, Deborah frequently writes and broadcasts about the mood of the nation. In 2010, she published Talking to a Brick Wall - the story of the New Labour years through the eyes of the voter.
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.
Owen is a co-founder of Arc, which helps organisations to develop and embed new mindsets, behaviours and ways of working for the digital age. Owen is a senior digital strategist with over 20 years of experience across cultural, media and NGO sectors, having led digital departments at ITN, Sky, Southbank Centre and Amnesty International, where he was Global Director of Digital Communications. Owen is also on the Digital Advisory Board for the University of Nottingham, a Non-Executive Director of Culture24, a Mentor for the Greater London Authority Digital Leadership Programme and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Peter Wilson MBE, DL
Peter has had a longer career in Theatre. His is currently chair of Propeller Ltd and was previously chair of Hightide Festival productions.
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.
Josephine Melville, a local girl was born and went to school in Newham. Coming from a dancing background, she has a variety of performing credits on TV, Film and Radio and began her acting career on Stratford East stage in Moon on a Rainbow Shawl in 1986.
Josephine's career path led to performing, writing, directing, producing and curator of an MLA (museums Library and Archives) award winning exhibition called Posters & Poetry. Co-founder of various production companies including The BiBi Crew, Aarawak Moon and Eye 2 Eye Productions. She is often asked to do Inspirational and Empowerment presentations, in corporate and educational institutions and has created and facilitated bespoke workshops for The Royal Opera House, The Ministry of Justice (Formally, The Department for Constitutional Affairs) and The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).
Josephine has been a Board Member since 2009 and having developed and grown at Stratford East, it is her second home. Josephine enjoys the opportunity to encourage, stimulate, strengthen and mentor the talent of the community and be a part of a team that gives them a voice.
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 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.