Committee - East
Tessa DaviesRegional Councillor / COUNCILLOR
Tessa was, originally, a performer; spending 4 years working summer shows, pantomimes and variety shows as a young adult. Having decided that full time performing was not going to make a decent living, she gave it up and switched to amateur theatre as a hobby whilst she pursued a career in Sales and Customer Service.
For the past 40 plus years she has performed in many shows, taking lead roles and smaller character roles. She started directing in 1992 with She Loves Me and has been directing musical shows ever since.
She has directed many productions for various Amateur Companies across the South East. Her sole directing credits include Grease, The Wiz, The Likes Of Us, The Wizard of Oz, Lionel Bart’s Blitz! & Oliver! Anything Goes, Singin In The Rain and many more.
She is one third of the creative team behind The Players Theatre Company. The Players most recent productions, with which Tessa has been fully involved, are Oklahoma (Oct 2018) Priscilla Queen of the Desert (June 2018) Curtains (November 2017) Hans Christian Andersen (December 2016). Earlier Players productions include Copacabana, White Christmas, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Acorn Antiques and many more. The Players Theatre Company was set up in 1999 and Tessa has been part of the creative team from the start.
She runs 3 Stagecoach Performing Arts Schools, in Brentwood, Wickford and Leigh-on-Sea. The schools have an annual showcase which Tessa plans and directs. She is a licensed chaperone and has worked with the National Youth Music Theatre, the BBC and a number of TV production companies.
Richard FittREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E02)
Brought up in Bedford, where his father taught at Bedford School he had his first acting role in the school play playing the Devil in Marlowe's Doctor Faustaus in (he thinks?)1967, Richard was drawn back into Am Dram proper almost decade later, when he lived in New Ash Green in Kent and, after one too many beers one night was asked to play the baddy in a Panto, which had been written by a close friend. He was bitten and has been acting in and directing plays and musicals ever since, and after 28 years in Kent moved back to the Bedford / St Neots Area in 2002 and, apart from a brief sabbatical was the Chairman of St Neots Players from 2006 to 2019, and is now the President. He started covering the odd review here and there for Don McKay, when Don was the area 1 rep, until he was asked to cover district 2 because of the untimely death of the previous rep, Keith Pendle becoming the full time District 2 rep in 2015. And the rest as they say is yet to make history.
Nova HorleyREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E03)
I started dancing classes at 2½ in Hastings, winning a scholarship to the Arts Educational School in Tring when I was 10. When I was 12 I was part of the junior chorus in a production of “Dick Whittington” at the Watford Palace Theatre, where Jimmy Perry was writer/director, I then worked professionally as a singer and dancer doing mainly summer seasons and pantomimes – including Butlins hotels for 2 summers in the revue company and pantomime at the New Theatre, Oxford. Later I did semi-pro cabaret work, whilst working as a dispenser’s assistant in a chemist. I met my husband John in 1968 when we both appeared in a production of “The New Moon” for High Wycombe Operatic Society, and we married in 1970. I worked for the same sales promotion company for 32 years until my retirement in 2015. I became a NODA Rep in 2002, and also review amateur shows for the Luton News. I have two children (both are married) and two granddaughters I love performing in shows either as a principal or in the chorus, and have also choreographed numerous pantomimes, revues and musicals. My main interests outside the theatre are my husband, family, home and books. I love seeing and reviewing shows, and never get tired of going to the theatre – both amateur and professional.
Leslie JuddREGIONAL TREASURER / REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E04N)
My first performance was as a 6 year in an educational film where the director wanted twin boys, I then rested until Grammar School where I was active in several school productions of what would now be called classical theatre. For many years I sang in Church choirs and then in a few Church Pantomimes, eventually joining in the early 1990’s one Am-Dram group in Southend and subsequently 3 more, rehearsing up to four nights a week. It was here, where towards the end of the 90’s that I got involved in Wardrobe, making costumes and became the NODA Rep for the Southend Area. There were performances in numerous Plays, Musicals, Pantomimes and Old Time Musical Hall. Favourite roles include Laurence – Abbigail’s Party, Inspector Rough – Gaslight, Colonel Pickering – both Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, Arvide – Guys and Dolls, Eugene Fodor – Crazy for You, alongside numerous rolls where I was occasionally typecast as a Butler. Annie, Me and My Girl etc. More recently Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast and the Doctor in Goodnight Mr Tom
In 2006 I moved back to Kings Lynn continuing to perform in Southend until 2008, then joining two societies continuing to perform, most recently in 2019 as the King in Cinderella, Mr Brownlow in Oliver and Henri in South Pacific. I become the NODA Rep for the King’s Lynn area in January 2019.
I have over the years been a Trustee of a Community Theatre in Southend, in the Am-Dram world I have variously been a Business Manager, Treasurer, Secretary, Wardrobe Master, worked back-stage and Directed. I am currently Treasurer of King’s Lynn Players, help with a children’s drama group, make costumes, assist with wardrobe, do make-up having attended a Make-up course at NODA Summer School and am a Registered Chaperone. I continue to perform, work shifts allowing.
Julie PetrucciREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY (District E04S)
I have been involved in the amateur drama scene in this region since 1979 and for 40 years a member of the committee of Cambridge's foremost production company Combined Actors of Cambridge, mainly as secretary. On their behalf I edit Combinations, a small monthly amateur drama magazine. In this capacity I travel round local (and not so local) societies reviewing productions and therefore know and am known by a large number of amdram groups in and around the region. As I am aware I do not have the natural ability to act, I direct and stage manage among a number of other things and together with my long-time Partner Chris have written about 16 pantomimes several of which have been published. I also organise the Sawston one-act drama festival in March each year.
In September 2012 I became a Regional Representative for NODA East. My District (4 South) covers societies in villages in, around and through Cambridge out to Suffolk taking in Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds also covering Hockwold, Weeting and Brandon. I am very proud to represent both NODA East and my societies in District Four South.
Susan DupontREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E05)
Following a lack-lustre (tall and awkward) performance in back-row chorus in Bedfordshire, it was suggested ‘go backstage and try all disciplines to see where to fit in’, the best advice ever received: scenery, lighting, properties, some costume, the chance to work with other groups backstage, trips to Waterford. A move back to Norfolk with job as research scientist and looking for a group (temporarily in a make-up team) and found mid-sized company covering genres musical, play, pantomime. How fortunate that new director (professional theatre stage director and Anglia TV floor manager) was looking for an assistant to train as stage director (combo stage manager/ production secretary), what an opportunity. Also guesting with other Norfolk groups as needed backstage. Encouragement to attend NODA Operatic Summer School at Ripon with a chance to work with the 3 professional directors as Stage Manager Excerpts, a link with crew and classes for about ten years. As Regional Rep. District 5 (28 societies) cover a wide area mostly rural with centre at Norwich: ‘rooms’ or village halls through smaller theatres up to professional Theatre Royal; so many differing skills and disciplines, talents abounding in unlikely venues, and so many friends. With societies now frequently doing more than one production per year, continuing stage crew but timing means no longer stage management. Add 2 days a month as volunteer guide for Sainsbury Centre Arts at UEA. In 2014 received NODA President’s Cup as a Regional Rep, and 2016 saw NODA Gold (50 years) and the award Hon. NODA Member for 25 years as a Regional Rep.
Sarah MeersREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E06)
My name is Sarah and I am the district 6 Noda Representative for the East.
I have been performing since the tender age of 5 in both amateur and professional theatre, having trained at Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts in London for 3 years and am passionate about the stage and all things musical.
My experience within the industry has taken me on many journeys and I am also the founder and director of my own amateur theatre society. Outside of performing and choreographing in theatre, I entertain residents in care homes and just love seeing the smiles on their faces that music and song brings.
Decia RangerREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E07)
A life-long love of theatre eventually brought me to my local musical theatre company with the intention of just singing in the chorus. It wasn’t long before I was Membership Secretary and then Secretary. I have also been involved with publicity and marketing, programme and poster design, helping to run the box office, and was Production Secretary/Co-ordinator for several shows as well as being on stage.
I became an Assistant Rep in 2015 and took over from my predecessor as the Regional Rep at the beginning of 2016.
In a former life I was a Secretary for many years before taking time out to bring up my two children, one of whom now lives in Sydney. In more recent years I worked as a GP Receptionist. I am married to a very busy man and although his diary is always full to overflowing, he too is a theatre lover and enjoys accompanying me when I review shows.
My other hobby is gardening. I read all the books and then do it my way, which I find usually works!
Christine DavidsonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E08)
Christine has been involved with NODA since starting Danbury Players over 20 years ago. She has performed on stage at many theatres including The Old Court, The Headgate and The Mercury. Christine has directed many NODA award winning productions and theatre is one of her great loves. She goes regularly to NODA Theatre Summer School and loved the new venue this year where she took the course Devising Drama with the fabulous tutor Sarah Osborne.
Vicki AveryREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E09)
I was born in Peterborough, just round the corner from the old NODA H.Q but we wont go into that!!!!
My mother had a hairdressing business and my father was a part time female impersonator doing the circuit at nights and working with my mother during the day. I suppose my love for the theatre was in-bread. My great Aunt Tassy was a music hall singer and dancer, my grandfather played the bones and was a song and dance man and my grandmother was a Bluebell Girl at the Windmill in London.
When I was 4 years old my parents decided to move to the beautiful Island of Jersey and it was there I lived until at 18 years of age I came to England to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The degree course I followed allowed me to teach as well as perform and I became a Licentiate and an Associate by the time I was 21. It was whilst studying in London I had my first professional contract playing Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. As well as the degree course I also won a music scholarship and was given singing lessons at the Guildhall at no extra cost.
However, during this time I also met and married my husband John. A professional life on stage for me was not going to suit us so I made the decision to teach Theatre Arts and continue my love for the stage and performance to the am-dram world.
This I have done for the past 41 years, juggling teaching, performing, directing and bringing up a family all at the same time. That’s called multi-tasking the things you love and making it work.
I have been fortunate, in that volunteering as a rep’ for NODA, I have been privileged to witness some outstanding good practice throughout my district and continue to learn more whenever I represent the association. Thank you.
Zahna HullREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E10)
Zahna has been involved in school and amateur theatre from her childhood. She is passionate about theatre. She studied Drama and English at Middlesex Poly and also completed a degree in Youth Work at Canterbury Christchurch University.
Zahna has facilitated drama workshops for young people and previously worked in a local Primary school; part of her role involved being affiliated to the Royal Opera House and helping to facilitate the Arts Awards. Zahna is currently a Youth Worker for a Charitable Trust Bar’N’Bus
She has experience back-stage, performing and directing, and is a long serving member of Cast & Crew Theatre Workshop.
Hazel HoleREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E11)
HAZEL HOLE MBE
My interest in the stage started at an early age, but once I left school, my interest in live theatre was limited to attending local productions as my career and family took first place. After we moved to a local village, I joined the, fledgling, Orchards Players in 1973. I was privileged to be the producer and director for their first three pantomimes. Since then, I have been an active member taking the Chair role for many years, with spells as Treasurer, Publicity Officer and Secretary, a post which I still hold. I also appeared in most of the twice-yearly productions, taking both leading and chorus roles.
During the 1990s, I was a judge for the ESTAA (East Suffolk Theatre Amateur Awards) Group. In 2018 I was approached by the then NODA Regional Representative for District 11 inviting me to become an Assistant Regional Representative, which I agreed to do. Following her retirement in 2019. I was appointed Regional Representative for District11. Since then I have established good relationships with all the societies in the District and regularly review their productions. My husband shares my love of theatre and is a very willing partner in this and is keen to be supportive.
Other interests include my family, ongoing work with the NHS, other voluntary activity, travelling and reading.
Catherine DixeyREGIONAL SECRETARY / REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District E12)
Catherine has been involved with amateur theatre for probably around forty years in total, more than she cares to remember! She appeared in numerous musicals, plays and pantos, (including some NODA award winners) with several local Societies before hanging up her dancing shoes. She has also been involved with a variety of jobs on the production side of theatre, including directing, producing, managing FOH and on local committees.
She joined the NODA committee in 2007 as Membership Secretary and is currently Regional Secretary. She took over as Rep of District E12 in 2019, covering a large part of Suffolk around Ipswich and the surrounding towns and villages. She thoroughly enjoys meeting up with lots of old friends, making new ones on her travels around the District; and the joy of watching the children growing up over the years, gaining in confidence and becoming fine young actors. She also feels very privileged to witness the excellent talent, and fabulous, high standards of some of the productions from her Societies and looks forward to many more in the future.
She is married to Derek who was also a local amateur actor; has 2 grown up married children and 2 lovely grandsons. When not busy with all her theatre work she loves walking, spending time at her holiday home on the North Norfolk coast and designs wedding flowers for friends and family.
Jamie JohnAssistant Regional Rep (District E01)
DeeDee DokeAWARDS SECRETARY / Assistant Regional Rep (District E04S)
Appointed Assistant Representative - East District 4S in 2016. I manage publicity/marketing for two very different musical theatre societies in Cambridge, and have the great honour of performing in both musicals and plays. The daughter of a theatre director, I'm a lifelong participant in and student of theatre, and have performed on stages in Germany, the US and Thailand -- as well as here. By day, I'm a content creative (editor/writer) and BSI [the British Standards Institute]'s Emerging Standards Maker 2016. Met husband Steve in a production of "The Crucible". He later ran a theatre my father had founded when I was a child.
Martyn RolfeAssistant Regional Rep (District E05)
Amanda GreenAssistant Regional Rep (District E07)
Katherine TokleyAssistant Regional Rep (District E08)
Angie FrostAssistant Regional Rep (District E09)
Richard LovelockAssistant Regional Rep (District E09)
Jess PetherAssistant Regional Rep (District E10)
Mary WilliamsonAssistant Regional Rep (District E11)
Alexandra BerrimanWEBSITE EDITOR
When Alex was 10, she produced her first show at her primary school ‘Perform for Bosnia’ a fundraising variety show. She started on stage when she was 3, dancing with her ballet school and performed regularly for around 20 years. In 2009, Alex founded KYDS Youth Drama Society, a group in Tiptree for 11-18 year olds which she has an active role in as Artistic Director and Producer.
Alex currently works as Events, Wedding and Conference Co-ordinator for the local council. Previously, she has worked in various theatres as Ticket Sales Manager, Creative Learning & Talent Manager, Executive Assistant and Theatre Manager. Alex also works as a Body Shop at Home consultant and is trained in some holistic therapies including Indian Head massage.
Alex is trained in Business Management and Sport, Technical Theatre, Event & Wedding Planning; with short courses in Digital Marketing, Customer Service, and Fundraising. She is a ‘geek’ when it comes to customer service and data, and loves analysing trends in sales vs promotion.
Alex has been on the Summer School committee for several years, and one of her roles is to co-manage the NODA Theatre Summer School Facebook page ensuring that students past, present and future are engaged and interested in the school. Alex has recently taken over the role of Webmaster for NODA East, having taken over from June who is retiring after being a NODA volunteer for a long time, thank you June for all your work.
In her spare time, Alex enjoys going to theatre (unsurprisingly!), baking, and dancing.
Caroline RansonYOUTH COORDINATOR
Caroline trained with the London College of Music and is now an Associate (ALCM) She worked for the leisure industry and fulfilled many contracts which saw her as a backing singer for Rod Stewart and Daniel O’Donnell. Caroline works as a Tutor for LCM, RW Productions and Teaches Music and Drama at Westley Middle School. Caroline has taken many lead roles over the years with and can be seen treading the boards, directing or choreographing around East Anglia. She is also the Principal of Stagecoach Bury St Edmunds, with over 100 youngsters in training at her schools.
Zelda RolfeYOUTH COORDINATOR / Youth
Julia RymerMagazine Editor