North West - Committee
Christine Hunter HughesRegional Councillor / COUNCILLOR / NODA Ltd
I was proud to be elected as Councillor for NODA NW in 2011 having served for the previous 3 years as Regional Representative for District 2. I have literally been involved in theatre my entire life having originally ‘followed in my father’s footsteps’ and briefly joined the Oldham Repertory Theatre as a drama student, but left ‘the rep’ to join the WRNS. Since then I have played a wide range of roles from Lady Macbeth in the Scottish Play, to a Fairy Godmother in pantomime, and all points in between. Now – in the” autumn of my life” I am still inspired by Amateur Theatre and proud of the privileged to serve on Council as the NW Councillor, and a member of Mancom.
Andy McNicholasREGIONAL SECRETARY / MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY
Trevor MillsREGIONAL TREASURER
Kevin ProctorREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW01)
I have trained in the theatre disciplines since a young age, starting at the Kirkham Henry School of Performing Arts (KHSPA) where my passion for dance, singing and acting was exercised through masterclasses and technique training with regular performances in Musicals, Showcases, Dramas and Pantomimes.
During my youth I was always involved in anything theatrical that I could find, wherever an opportunity presented itself, be it taking part in school productions or gathering my mates together to perform the nativity at the local church (whether they wanted to or not). Through my school years I was a member of Malton & Norton AOS and Norton & Malton Amateur Dramatics Society – both NODA affiliated groups. There has never been a time when I haven’t been in rehearsals for something.
I chose to study Performing Arts at college level which is where I discovered an appetite for directing and choreography as well as developing in performance techniques.
After college I went on to work professionally as lead male vocalist for Britannia Hotels and also performed in summer season revues and pantomimes throughout the North East. Wanting to further in higher education I went on to study the arts at Newcastle College where my craft in performance and my creative eye was developed further. Whilst in the North East I was a member of North Ormsby Minstrels – also NODA affiliated. During my time in Newcastle I founded MTS, a student fringe theatre company, directing and choreographing several productions and also attained the knack for creative writing too. This post led to work directing ‘Beautiful Thing’ (drama) and directing/choreographing ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ (musical) for Northumbria University.
Professional theatre credits - UK touring productions of ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ (Bill Kenwright & Really Useful Group), ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ (RSC) and 'The Sound Of Music' (Really Useful Group). In 2008 I made the move to Manchester. Whilst dipping in and out of professional and fringe engagements - as a performer and on production teams - my passion and heart has remained firm with the exciting and innovative societies that Manchester has to offer. I am regularly in rehearsals for something either as a performer, director and/or choreographer which, over the years has seen recognition by NODA, The Manchester Musical Awards and ACT respectively from my time as a member of Hyde Musical Society, Salford Musical Theatre, Horwich AODS, The Altrincham Garrick, Warrington Light Opera and South Manchester AOS (all NODA affiliated) and finally Northenden Players. I am also an active committee member and trustee for South Manchester AOS and continue to be creatively involved with 'Showcase' which is an annual event bringing together local societies to perform at the Salford Lowry to fund raise for a different charity each year.
I was appointed as the NODA North West District 1 representative in 2012 and have introduced / welcomed new societies to NODA, my highlight to the role has come from establishing the annual district 1 awards gala which sole purpose is to recognise and celebrate the talent in this influential and remarkably thriving area.
Chris HigginsREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW02)
Paul MasonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW03)
Budge GrounsellREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW04)
I have been on stage since 1948 as a dancer/ comedian/ singer as well as being involved as a director/writer. I am chairman of Wallasey Musical Theatre Company and work in community radio as well as being NODA rep for district 4.
Liz Hume-DawsonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW05)
I have been involved with dancing and acting most of my life, starting off in Huddersfield doing the circuit of Amateur Dramatic Societies. I went on a NODA course in Bristol doing acting and directing courses, where I was encouraged to go to drama school. As a mature student I went on to do B-Tec in drama and A level Theatre studies and Design and Contemporary Dance, gaining a place at drama school for 3 years. Since graduating in 1997 I have worked in Television and Theatre.
This compliments my work in schools working with GCSE and A- level students and directing locally with adult and youth groups, inc. Farnworth Little Theatre, Summerseat Players and currently, BCMCS. Here, having previously directed for the Youth Group ‘Joseph’ and ‘Honk’, Adult section ‘Godspell’ & The Dream I am currently working on a new piece ‘The Dream’ a musical.
I am very passionate about drama and by being a NODA rep I hope to enthuse and help local drama.
Jim BriscoeREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW06)
Claire AshworthREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW07)
Joe ClarkeREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW08)
Originally from Belfast, Joe has lived in England since training at Guildford School of Acting in 1998, graduating in 2001 with a BA (Hons) Degree in Musical Theatre. Joe has appeared in West End productions of ‘Taboo’ (original cast) at the Leicester Square Theatre, ‘ 125th Street’, Shaftsbury Theatre and ‘Footloose’, European Tour. Joe moved to the North West in 2003 after getting married. He appeared in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks before re-training as a teacher in 2006. Joe recently left teaching to pursue his acting career. He is now a single dad of two beautiful boys Charlie (12) and Billy (9) who have inherited the acting bug from both parents! Joe has been involved in acting since the age of 5 when he appeared on stage with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Rusty Lee at the Ulster Hall, Belfast. He has a vast knowledge of Musical Theatre and has worked in straight theatre and television as a director, performer and choreographer. Joe says: “I am very much looking forward to my role as NODA Rep for District 8”. “My aim is to emulate the amazing, positive and in-depth reviews that Louise Colohan has created for our district and hope to continue the legacy that she has created. “I will work hard to produce a positive and honest review whilst offering praise wherever and whenever it is deserved”.
Ed McGeeREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW10)
I joined Workington AOS for their Diamond Jubilee production of ‘Patience’ My brother persuaded me to ‘have a go’, as there was a shortage of men, and I became immediately hooked. I was a chorus member for a couple of years, and played my first leading role in ‘Showboat’ in 1969. I was a founder member of Whitehaven Theatre Group in 1970, and was instrumental in them becoming members of NODA. I played leading roles in Whitehaven as well as still being a member of Workington, my most challenging role being Nikki in ‘Kings Rhapsody’ I became a member of the Workington management team, and continued to take active roles on stage and with the society’s administration.I became society Artistic Director in 1997, and directed ‘Singing in the Rain’, and I have since done nineteen consecutive shows for the company, and also directed shows for other societies in West Cumbria. I became a NODA Rep in 2006 on the death of the incumbent Rep Peter Hendren, and have enjoyed every minute of the role. My specific highlight being winning best show for WAOS for their production of CHESS in 2007. I received my NODA gold bar in 2015, and continue to enjoy this wonderful hobby of ours.
Martin CraigREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District NW11)
Martin has been involved with local theatre for over forty years. During that time he has been involved in around 150 productions across South Cumbria and North Lancashire, with around 100 “treading the boards”. Martin began his theatrical career at age 8, playing Tiny Tim in a school production of A Christmas Carol. Since then he’s played everything from “second chorus member at the back” to Judas (Jesus Christ Superstar), Bill Snibson (Me and My Girl), Lumiere and The Beast (Beauty and the Beast), Harold Hill (Music Man) and Che (Evita). Though he prefers musical theatre, Martin is a regular in panto and has been known to appear in plays, concerts and Gilbert and Sullivan productions. His home society is Barrow Operatic and Dramatic Society, which he has been an active member of from 1978 to the present day. During this time he has served as a committee member for around sixteen years and chaired the society. Martin was awarded Life Membership of “BODS” in 2011 for his commitment to the society. When off the stage Martin is an experienced Stage Manager, Set Designer, Set Construction Manager, Producer and Director. More recently he directed WJAOS’s Me and My Girl, Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables — between them earning 20 NODA NW nominations. Martin is passionate about amateur theatre in all its forms and is delighted to represent District 11.
Nick CollingeWEBSITE EDITOR / AWARDS SECRETARY
Nick has been a consistent member of Abbey Musical Society now for 33 years, starting at the age of 12. In his time in the society Nick has been invovled in 33 shows and over 40 concerts. During this time he has undertaken many roles both on and off stage and is currently Chairman and has been for the last 6 years, Nick also takes the role of show Producer and has so far produced Footloose, Grease, Hairspray, White Christmas, Barnum, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and in March 2020 Shrek.
In September 2018 Nick also started an Abbey Musical Youth theatre group for 11-18 year olds.
Rob GemmellMagazine Editor
Originally from the South East of England I took my first steps on stage with Stock Drama Group in November 2001 performing in “One O’clock from the House”. Many performances followed that over the next 3 years including “Pardon Me, Prime Minister”, “Beyond a Joke” and “Deathtrap”. In 2004 I moved from the South East to the North West of England and with the move came the continued desire to perform. I joined Lytham Anonymous Players where I performed over the next six years in various plays “The Ghost Train”, “Habeas Corpus”, “Brassed Off” and “Murder Mistaken” to name but a few. In 2011 I welcomed my first child into the world and my commitments soon changed. I was still determined to continue to support the arts however and in 2013 I began writing reviews and features for local theatre groups to feature on Lancashire Life’s website. I have been blessed to see many great plays and wonderful performances from both amateur and professional theatre all across the North West and have had the pleasure to interview some of the most well-known playwrights, producers, actors and directors in the region. I wanted to continue to promote amateur theatre, not just in the North West, but all over the country and that was when my association with Noda began and I envisage a beautiful journey ahead for the arts.
Jenny KingYOUTH ADVISER / Youth
I became the Youth Advisor for the North West when the scheme first began around 10 years ago and have really enjoyed visiting so many wonderful Youth productions.
My first appearance in theatre was a very long time ago (age 3) as a daffodil in a local dancing school show. I went on to preform in Panto and other local Operatic shows. I first became involved with Youth Theatre in 1985 when my daughter took part in a production of 'Annie' and then joined a Youth Theatre Group. I started making costumes for this group, then worked backstage on props and finally became Chairman. In 1999 we became an independent group and we continue to thrive.
During my time as Youth Advisor I have had wonderful support from the NW Committee, mainly with setting up the Youth Awards event, which is attended by over 350 people each year. I have also been involved with organising all day youth workshops throughout the region.
Youth Theatre really is flourishing in the NW region and I am very proud to be part of it .
David SlaterREGIONAL COMMITTEE MEMBER
Having joined Burnley Light Opera's youth society in 1986, 2016 is my 30th year of involvement with amateur theatre in one way or another. That first appearance on stage in 'The Boy Friend' as a gendarme (with a broken arm in plaster during show week!) obviously whetted an appetite for amateur dramatics which is still as sharp today. I have appeared in and directed many amateur productions all around the North West during that time and, like the rest of us am dram fiends, find that there's always something to learn and fresh experiences to be gained from each new theatrical challenge. Over the years, I have turned from being the kind of fool who loathes G&S with a passion, to being something of a proselytiser for the Savoy Operas and the glories of Gilbert and Sullivan: I'm not sure how it happened but I shall be eternally grateful that it did!
It has been both an honour and a privilege to act as the NODA representative for District Three for the last five years and the amount of talent on display whenever I'm invited to attend local productions never ceases to amaze. Both my partner Stuart and I send our kind regards and best wishes for continued future success to everyone in District 3 - and the wider NODA family in general of course.