Committee - North East
Leslie SmithRegional Councillor / COUNCILLOR
I have been involved with Noda societies for almost 50 years, during that time I have worked with many societies in both South and West Yorkshire plus understudying for one North Yorkshire society.
I have been a Regional Rep. for Noda North East for 6 years until becoming Noda North East Councillor in September 2017.
Judy McMurrayREGIONAL SECRETARY
I started with the Amateur Theatre from a very early age, of 5, attending dancing class, I also accompanied my parents to rehearsals with Sheffield Teachers Operatic Society (now known at STOS Theatre Co.) as they were both members, dad often taking a lead part. After moving away from Sheffield for 3 years, having got married and starting with a family, I then used to help backstage on Props for a few years with Croft Musical Theatre Co.
I decided to audition for the ensemble for STOS in 1981 for 'White Horse Inn' and I have never looked back, and have been Secretary of STOS since 1992. My love of the Theatre grows and I never miss an opportunity to support the other amateur groups in Sheffield by watching their productions.
I am also very proud to be Regional Secretary of NODA North East for the last five years.
David StreeterREGIONAL TREASURER / Previous Council Member
In 1983 I moved from London to Sheffield. That was when my amateur theatre experience started. I dived in head first and joined three Sheffield musical societies. Two were as a playing member and the third as a non playing member.
I became Treasurer for STOS Theatre Company (previously known as Sheffield Teachers Operatic Society) in 1989 and have just retired from that role after 32 years.
Within the NODA North East Region, I have enjoyed the positions of Regional Secretary and Regional Councillor. After a couple of years rest, I was appointed to the position of Regional Treasurer.
I have worked in IT most of my professional life and enjoy watching musical theatre productions – especially Stephen Sondheim material.
I look forward to meeting everyone at North East Gala Weekends at Bridlington. Please tap me on the shoulder and say hello.
Terry HarrisonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NE01)
After making my stage debut at the New Theatre, Hull, I have been a member of Harrogate Operatic Players and Harrogate Gilbert and Sullivan Society for more than 35 years. I have 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, I have 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 my 35 year career in banking! I enjoy seeing productions, both amateur and professional, in many parts of the U.K. Away from the stage, I enjoy watching county cricket.
Geoffrey HaywoodREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NE02)
Tony HarrisREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / Magazine Editor (District NE03)
Having taken part in a number of school and junior productions my real grounding in theatre was gained when I joined my first society, The Kentainers Revue Society in Tunbridge Wells. I stayed with them until I moved north at the end of the 1980s and joined what is now Hessle Theatre Company. Work moves then took me around the country where I performed in, or directed, shows in places such as Winsford, Knutsford, Hexham, Ipswich, Grayshott, Haslemere and, more recently, Driffield, Beverley and Bridlington.
John ParsonsREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY (District NE04)
I have been involved with NODA and amateur theatre for 47 years in Scunthorpe and Birmingham.
During this time I have actively been involved in both plays and musicalsperforming principal roles and also ensemble (chorus as most like to call it).
I am the Regional Representative for Region 4 and also Subscriptions Secretary for the North East.
Ashley BookerREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (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 (District NE06)
Noel RiggREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NE07)
I was involved in the textile trade for most of my working life. I am married to Dorothy who I met on the stage during a performance of Rose Marie, we have 2 daughters and a son and six grandchildren 4 boys and 2 girls. My mother and father were both involved with the Operatic Society at our local congregational chapel. I became involved with amateur operatics when my father became President of Dewsbury Collegians A.O.S. in 1957 where I have now been a member for about 60 years and have been awarded the NODA 50 year long service medal. I have been a NODA Rep for 29 years and am now an Honorary Life Member of NODA.
Christine CastleREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NE09)
I have a wealth of experience in amateur theatre, covering six decades both in my home city of Ealing, London and then West Yorkshire.
I began as a dancer from the age of three and wished to take my talents on to the professional stage. Wise parents advised a ‘proper job’ to maybe fall back on – and thus my 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 ofaward-winning mature ladies both comedy and serious, I still get a thrill from ‘being involved’. Last name-drop – I played Jacqueline in ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ with Danny La Rue at the Leeds City Varieties – and thereby hangs a very long tale........ I have also directed, choreographed and lectured on theatre make-up – in fact, there is only one job in theatre I have never done – that was on follow-spot – I have been told I would rather be in the spot light than working it!
Jane MarescauxREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NE10)
I have so many wonderful memories of my life in amateur theatre, not that I intend to pack away my rehearsal gear just yet, there is always more to share, learn and experience.
My amazing parents introduced me to this treasured world we inhabit; from early days watching them in the likes of Student Prince and Merry England, to taking my first major role in a dance show at the age of seven as the Blue Rabbit, I was soon hooked and loving every moment.
I’ve 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 I’ve met some very talented people along the way who have shaped the way I see and value what we love about theatre.
My ‘real life’ took me abroad teaching dance and then into arts development across the regions here in the UK. I have worked with many arts organisations in my time, both professionally and via community arts, and nowadays I love to see the progression of members of local societies, whether on stage or behind the scenes.
Theatre gives us a place to be part of a glorious jigsaw. It can take us out of ourselves and help us find who we are, givingus a huge buzz and allowing us to develop new friendships with people we wouldn’t ordinarily meet.
Theatre is so exhilarating on so many levels.
Long may it continue.
Sally HolmesREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NE11)
My first real recollection of Amateur Operatics was in 1973 - when I was 8 years old!. I spent the whole half term holiday lying on the beach learning my dad’s lines and songs for his part of Tevye in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ – I came back from holiday word perfect - unfortunately Dad didn’t!
After helping out ‘front of house’ and backstage for many years, I started ‘treading the boards’ in 1980, appearing in the chorus and taking a few minor principal rolesinitially.
I was also proud to perform in the NODA Cabaret at Bridlington’s’ Spa Theatre in October 2001 - this has probably been the most nerve wrecking moment of my life…to date!
Having always been interested in the administration side of Society life I have also served on Executive and Social Committees
I received my 30 year NODA Long Service Award for services to Amateur Theatre. My 35 year award is now a little overdue!
I have attended the NODA North East Gala weekend, at the Spa Complex in Bridlington, for many years – a weekend which I look forward to immensely. As part of the organising committee for this event, is does tend to be a 12 month “rolling role” that I enjoy immensely.
Giles AtkinsonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NE12)
I have been involved in amateur and professional theatre for over 30 years and after training and working in the profession I went into teaching. I am, at present, Head of Department for Creative and Digital Industries at Craven College in Skipton but I still worked as a freelance producer and director.
I have been on The NODA NE Committee since 2008 firstly as Youth Advisor till 2014 and then as the NODA NE Weekend Co-Ordinator a position I still hold today.
As a director and choreographer my work has included Oklahoma, Pyjama Game, West Side Story, Vackees, 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 Mens Club and a cattle auction to a 2000 seater theatre in London’s West End. I havealso 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”. I made my “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. I appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar at Bradford Alhambra Theatre playing the part of Judas and has also directed “The King and I” and “West Side Story” at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2003 I won the “Best Actor in a Leading Role” for my performance in “Annie” in the role as Daddy Warbucks. Recent productions have included Calamity Jane, Rent and Evita for which I was awarded “Best Director” at the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre. Probably the highlight of my directing career has been to take two shows to the NE NODA Weekend in Bridlington, “Shout the Musical” and “Fifty Years at Brid!”
Sue CoxREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (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.
Bryan CravenREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / WEBSITE EDITOR (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.
Joanne SykesYOUTH COORDINATOR / Youth
I have been a member of St Giles with St Mary’s Pantomime/Theatre Society since the age of 11. I have played principal roles in their productions for 30 years (from Dorothy to the Wicked Witch) and was the Society Secretary for 23years. I was very proud to be made a Life Member in 2015and value the fabulous opportunities and friendships amateur theatre has given me. I produced my first pantomime for the society last year and am looking forward to future productions. I have also performed with 5Towns MusicalTheatre Society and Crigglestone Community Theatre Company where I am very happy to be singing and dancing in the chorus. My husband and daughter are both involved and my proudest moment was when Elizabeth played Marta in The Sound of Music.
As Youth Adviser I am committed to supporting societies to offer opportunities to young members and am keen to get to know more youth societies and those societies with youth membership in the North East. I feel the opportunities presented by amateur theatre are far wide 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 societiesand these are attributes which can be used across our daily lives and in our careers.
Professionally I have managed services in Education, Community Safety, Cohesion and Preventing Violent Extremism for local authorities across South and West Yorkshire. I am currently project manager working to improve resettlement outcomes for young people leaving custody on behalf of the Youth Justice Board.
"From April 2020 Jo Sykes is working with Les Smith, Regional Councillor, to 'caretake' District 8 in the hope of finding someone from the District interested in taking on this exciting opportunity.
Jo is the Youth Adviser for Noda in the North East. She has been a performing member in a Pantomime Society in District 7 for nearly 40 years, serving 23 years as Secretary until she became the Societies Director/Producer 5 years ago. She is also a member of two other local Musical Theatre Groups and enjoys performing in their summer musicals and recently secured a part in a play in a Drama Group. Jo is passionate about youth involvement in amateur theatre and has been the Noda NE Youth Adviser since 2015. Professionally she works in youth criminal justice across South and West Yorkshire. She lives in Wakefield with her husband and teenage daughter who are both involved in amateur theatre and enjoy accompanying her on show visits. "