Committee - North East
Leslie SmithRegional Councillor / Councillor / Volunteer
Les first joined The Wombwell & District Amateur Operatic Society in 1968, his first show being Oklahoma, following on from Wombwell Les was invited to join Barnsley YMCA Amateur Operatic Society as it was then. The "YM" has in later years become The Barnsley Lamproom MTC.
Les has been involved in many NODA societies for over 50 years in South, North and West Yorkshire and in that time as well as appearing on stage he has worked backstage too in professional theatre.
Les has worked as a follow spot operative, stage manager and also as a flyman, all of this he has thoroughly enjoyed.
Les became regional representative for North East District 5 in 2011 and during his time enjoyed working with the various societies as well as supporting them.
In September 2017 Les was pleased to take on the role of NODA North East Regional Councillor, a role he loves, again being able to support the North East Committee and all the societies within the region. As Les says, his door, or at least his email, is always open and welcomes requests to visit shows or any questions you may have.
Judy McMurrayRegional Secretary / Volunteer
Judy started in amateur theatre at the very early age of 5, attending dancing classes. She also accompanied her parents to rehearsals with Sheffield Teachers Operatic Society (now known as STOS Theatre Co.) as they were both members, her dad often taking a lead part. Judy moved away from Sheffield for 3 years, got married and started a family.
She used to help backstage with props for a few years with Croft Musical Theatre Co.
Judy decided to audition for the ensemble for STOS in 1981 for 'White Horse Inn' and has never looked back She has been Secretary of STOS since 1992.
Her love of the Theatre grows and she never misses an opportunity to support the other amateur groups in Sheffield by watching their productions.
Judy is also very proud to have been Regional Secretary of NODA North East for the last ten years.
David StreeterRegional Treasurer / Volunteer
In 1983 David moved from London to Sheffield. That was when his amateur theatre experience started. He dived in head first and joined three Sheffield musical societies. Two were as a playing member and the third as a non playing member.
He became Treasurer for STOS Theatre Company (previously known as Sheffield Teachers Operatic Society) in 1989 and has just retired from that role after 32 years.
Within the NODA North East Region, he has enjoyed the positions of Regional Secretary and Regional Councillor. After a couple of years rest, he was appointed to the position of Regional Treasurer.
David worked in IT most of his professional life and enjoys watching musical theatre productions – especially Stephen Sondheim material.
He looks forward to meeting everyone during North East Gala Weekends at Bridlington. Please tap him on the shoulder, say hello and discuss how NODA funding might be available for district workshops and NODA Summer School training.
Terry HarrisonRegional Representative / Volunteer (District NE01)
After making his stage debut at the New Theatre, Hull, Terry has been a member of Harrogate Operatic Players and Harrogate Gilbert and Sullivan Society for more than 40 years. He has served on the committee of the latter for many years, including several as either Treasurer or Chairman. Although usually to be found in the chorus, Terry has played some minor principal roles for both Societies, including that of the beggar in “Fiddler on the Roof”, a part considered somewhat appropriate in view of his 35 year career in banking! He enjoys seeing productions, both amateur and professional, in many parts of the U.K. Away from the stage, Terry enjoys watching county cricket.
R AbelRegional Representative (District NE02)
Rosie has been involved with amateur theatre for nearly 40 years, starting her training in ballet and tap dancing at the tender age of 3. Since then she has gone on to take many roles both on and off stage for the local societies in her home town of Whitby, on the North East Coast.
Rosie first joined the regional Committee in 2011 as District 3 Rep, but with the arrival of her son, Thomas, in 2017 stood down. Fast forward 5 years, and with Thomas now in School and already enjoying his own dancing career, Rosie is delighted to be back on the Regional Committee as District 2 Drama Representative.
Outside of the ameatur theatre world, Rosie is a self-employed Chartered Surveyor and runs a successful Property Management Company. She is married to Rob, assists with the day to day administration for their family dairy farm and has even been known, on occasion, to help milk the cows!
Morag KinnesRegional Representative (District NE03)
John ParsonsRegional Representative / Membership Secretary / Volunteer (District NE04)
John has been involved with NODA and amateur theatre for 47 years in Scunthorpe and Birmingham.
During this time he has actively been involved in both plays and musicals, performing principal roles and also ensemble (chorus as most like to call it).
John is the Regional Representative for Region 4 and also Subscriptions Secretary for the North East.
Ashley BookerRegional Representative / Volunteer (District NE05)
Ashley has been performing with Dinnington Operatic Society in South Yorkshire for 24 years. His first show was The King and I back in 1997 and has never looked back.
Ashley studied dance with Adele’s School of Dance from an early age and studied singing with the University of West London. In 2003, Ashley was male vocalist for Burnham On Sea Holiday Village working alongside The Four Tops, The Krankies and Bucks Fizz to name a few.
As well as Dinnington, Ashley has performed with Rotherham Musical Theatre Company, RTSA, Wickersley Musical Theatre Comoany, Wales Community Theatre Company, CAOS Musical Theatre Company and Wakefield West Riding Musical Theatre Company.
Ashley has played many and varied roles during his time on stage including; Miss Hannigan in Annie, Tony in Copacabana , Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Scarecrow and TinMan in The Wizard of Oz, Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music plus many others. His favourite role however is Bernadette in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
In 2013, Ashley decided he would give directing a go, after being the Assitant Director for many years. His directing credits include; Thoroughly Modern Millie, Acorn Antiques the Musical, Sister Act, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, 9 to 5, Crazy For You, Babes In The Wood, Sleeping Beauty and Around the World in 80 DOS which was presented at the NODA North East Gala Weekend in 2016.
Philip SmithRegional Representative / Volunteer (District NE06)
Philip has been involved in amateur theatre in Sheffield for over twenty years, with musical theatre societies and theatre companies.
He assists in the running of a youth theatre society and has a full chaperone licence.
He has worked on both amateur and professional productions, at the Crucible and other theatres in Sheffield.
Philip had the privilege of chaperoning for a few days on “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, the movie.
Noel RiggRegional Representative / Volunteer (District NE07)
Noel was involved in the textile trade for most of his working life. He is married to Dorothy who he met on the stage during a performance of Rose Marie. They have 2 daughters and a son and six grandchildren, 4 boys and 2 girls. Noel's mother and father were both involved with the Operatic Society at his local congregational chapel. He became involved with amateur operatics when his father became President of Dewsbury Collegians A.O.S. in 1957, where he has now been a member for about 60 years and has been awarded the NODA 50 year long service medal. He has been a NODA Rep for 29 years and is now an Honorary Life Member of NODA.
Jo SykesRegional Representative / Youth Coordinator / Youth / Volunteer (District NE08)
Jo has been a member of St Giles with St Mary’s Pantomime/Theatre Society since the age of 11 and has played principal roles in their productions for over 30 years (from Dorothy to the Wicked Witch) and she was the Society Secretary for 23 years. She was very proud to be made a Life Member in 2015 and values the fabulous opportunities and friendships amateur theatre has given her. She directed her first pantomime for the society in 2016 and enjoys being the societies Producer. She has also performed with NormantonMusical Theatre Society and Crigglestone Community Theatre Company where she is very happy to be singing and dancing in the chorus. Her husband and daughter are both involved and her proudest moment was seeing her daughterplay Marta in The Sound of Music.
As Youth Co-ordinator she is committed to supporting societies to offer opportunities to young members and is keen to get to know more youth societies and those societies with youth membership in the North East. Jo feels the opportunities presented by amateur theatre are far wider than just the chance to ‘be on stage’ and develop theatre craft – team-work, negotiation, commitment, confidence and hard work are all part of the skill set needed to be involved in amateur societies and these are attributes which can be used across daily lives and in careers.
Professionally Jo has managed services in Education, Community Safety, Cohesion and Preventing Violent Extremism for local authorities across South and West Yorkshire. She is currently working to improve resettlement outcomes for young people leaving custody across South and West Yorkshire.
Christine CastleRegional Representative / Volunteer (District NE09)
Christine has a wealth of experience in amateur theatre, covering six decades both in her home city of Ealing, London and then West Yorkshire.
She began as a dancer from the age of three and wished to take her talents on to the professional stage. Wise parents advised a ‘proper job’ to maybe fall back on – and thus her dual career started – hairdresser/beautician and subsequent television make-up artist/designer in the day, amateur theatre at night.
Theatre credits are long and varied – principal roles in many musicals, favourites being Rose in ‘Gypsy’, Golde in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’(5 times!), Dolly in ’Hello Dolly’ ....... the list goes on! Now, content to play a selection of award-winning mature ladies, both comedy and serious, Christine still gets a thrill from ‘being involved’. Last name-drop – she played Jacqueline in ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ with Danny La Rue at the Leeds City Varieties – and thereby hangs a very long tale........ She has also directed, choreographed and lectured on theatre make-up – in fact, there is only one job in theatre she has never done – that was on follow-spot – she has been told she would rather be in the spot light than working it!
Jane MarescauxRegional Representative / Volunteer (District NE10)
Jane was introduced to the world of community theatre at a young age by her parents, and her early memories are of watching them in productions such as Student Prince, Merry England, Half a Sixpence and Hello Dolly. She started dance classes aged just 2 and took her first major role in a dance show at the age of seven as the Blue Rabbit in a production called Three Beautiful Days of Spring at Bradford Alhambra. She was soon hooked and loving every moment.
She has been fortunate to be involved with a number of societies over the years, whether performing, choreographing, leading summer schools or in project and stage management and has met some very talented people along the way who have shaped the way she sees and values what we love about theatre. Some of the amazing productions she has been involved with are Can Can, West Side Story, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Jesus Christ Superstar, Our House, Titanic, Chess and Sweeney Todd.
Her ‘real life’ took her abroad, both performing and teaching dance and then she moved into arts development across the regions here in the UK. She has worked with many arts organisations – theatre companies, dance organisations, music festivals, venues and local authority departments - both professionally and via community arts, and is proud of how her work has shaped the lives of some of those companies and individuals. Nowadays she loves to see and be part of the progression of members of local amateur societies, whether on stage or behind the scenes.
Jane loves how theatre gives us a place to be part of a glorious jigsaw, how it can take us out of ourselves and help us find who we are, allowing us to develop new friendships with people we wouldn’t ordinarily meet. She is conscious there is always more to share, learn and experience and hopes she can continue to inspire and support others.
Sally HolmesRegional Representative / Volunteer (District NE11)
Sally’s first real recollection of Amateur Operatics was in 1973 - when she was 9 years old!
After helping out ‘front of house’ and backstage for many years, she started ‘treading the boards’ in 1980, appearing in the chorus and taking a few minor principal roles initially.
She was also proud to perform in the NODA Cabaret at Bridlington’s’ Spa Theatre in 2001 and then twice in 2018 - probably the most nerve wracking moments of her life…to date!
Having always been interested in the administration side of Society life she has also served on Society Executive and Social Committees
She received the 35 year NODA Long Service Award for services to Amateur Theatre in 2015, and her 40 year award is now a little overdue!
Sally has attended the NODA North East Gala weekend, at the Spa Complex in Bridlington, for many years – a weekend which she looks forward to immensely.
Sally is also on the sub committee for the NODA Summer School bursary awards.
Giles AtkinsonRegional Representative / Volunteer (District NE12)
Giles has been involved in amateur and professional theatre for over 30 years and after training and working in the profession he went into teaching. He is, at present, Head of Department for Creative and Digital Industries at Craven College in Skipton but still works as a freelance producer and director.
He has been on The NODA NE Committee since 2008 firstly as Youth Advisor till 2014 and then as the NODA NE Weekend Co-Ordinator till 2022.
As a director and choreographer his work has included Oklahoma, Pyjama Game, West Side Story, Vackee's, The King and I, Dick Whittington, Boogie Nights, Mack and Mabel, 42nd Street, Little Shop of Horrors, Jesus Christ Superstar, We Will Rock You, High School Musical, Rent, Annie, Guys and Dolls and The Full Monty working with a wide range of companies in a broad range of venues from a Working Men's Club and a cattle auction to a 2000-seater theatre in London’s West End. He has also worked as Production Manager for productions such as “Blind Faith”, “Find Me” and “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”. Television work includes work for the BBC, YTV and Granada Tees Television in productions such as “Emmerdale”, “Heartbeat”, “Love and Reason”, “Scarlett and Black” and “Coronation Street”. He made his “West End” debut as a director on “The Long and Winding Road” at the Dominion Theatre London and then at the Manchester Palace Theatre in Manchester.
Sue CoxRegional Representative / Awards Secretary / Volunteer (District NE14)
Since first treading the boards at the tender age of six as Baby Snow in Carousel, Sue reckons she has appeared or been involved with over 120 musicals and plays either as a dancer, chorus member or in principal roles. She qualified as an IDTA dance teacher and has choreographed several musicals at the Lyceum, Montgomery and Crucible Theatres in Sheffield. Sue has been involved with STOS Theatre Company (Sheffield Teachers) for a number of years, both on and off stage. Sue is also a member of Denys Edwards Players and Stannington Players in Sheffield, and has been involved in many productions, either directing, back-stage work as well as taking on a number of acting roles. She has been fortunate to take roles in When We are Married, Night Must Fall, Blythe Sprit, just to name a few, and recently Say It with Flowers, so her love of gardening was very helpful.
In April 2018 Sue became Regional Representative for Drama, in Area 14, and is looking forward very much to visiting drama groups in the area and encouraging other groups in the area to join NODA. Sue is also a holder of the long service NODA award for 50 years, and loves visiting the theatre, plays, musicals, and not forgetting her dancing years the ballet.
Sue recently become the Long Service Awards Secretary for the Region.
Bryan CravenRegional Representative / Website Editor / Volunteer (District NE15)
Bryan has been involved in all aspects of amateur theatre for almost 33 years.
He is an honorary Life Member of both LIDOS and Cosmopolitan Players, having been Chairman of the former from 1990 to 2000 and of the latter from 2007 to 2015.
Bryan has been a staunch supporter of NODA for many years and has been managing the NODA NE website and their Facebook page for the last 3 years. He is looking forward to the challenges of being a regional representative, and keeping the “D” in NODA.
Bryan has directed plays, pantomimes and musicals, including Gypsy, Dad’s Army and the award winning Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
Bryan has played leading roles in plays, pantomimes and musicals with various local societies. Hehas received acting awards from both the Leeds Civic Arts Guild and the Wharfedale Festival.
Bryan’s TV credits include Touch of Frost, Emmerdale and the forthcoming Victoria. He also performs regularly as part of a professional murder mystery company.
Darren SmithAssistant Regional Rep (District NE08)
A relative new comer to amateur theatre Darren accidentally auditioned for a production of Me and My Girl in 2015 with BATS (Batley) whilst reading in for his wife Alison and was given the part of Gerald. Completely bitten by the bug he threw himself head first into grabbing as much experience as possible. In the last 7 years Darren has played many leading and supporting roles throughout West Yorkshire (22 productions to date) and feels incredibly lucky to have performed at some amazing venues like the Halifax Victoria, Guiseley Theatre and Twice at the Alhambra in Bradford. Some of Darren’s favourite roles have been Lawrence in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Carlinghow MTS) Scrooge (Batley ATS) Tooley Made in Dagenham (ButtershawSPAODS) Lord Oakley in Anything Goes (Normanton MTS) and Jerry in The Full Monty twice (Guiseley GTP Heckmondwike Players)
However Darren’s performing highlight was at the 2019 NODA Gala Weekend when he took part in the saturday night showcase with GAOS for A Chorus LIne. It’s a night he will never forget.
Off stage Darren is an Operational Fireighter and Training Instructor with North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and a keen charity fundraiser. He hopes that he can bring his enthusiasm and willingness to help others succeed from his work life an asset to not only District 8 but the the entire NODA family.