Committee - North
Peter OliverRegional Councillor / COUNCILLOR
I have from a very young age loved musical theatre, from a young age I performed in school shows and concerts but it was not until my own family had grown up did I take to performing more seriously. I am an active member of Sunderland Theatre Company and a committee member of Murton Musical Theatre Group which I thoroughly enjoy. I am passionate about our Noda Family and have a particular passion about ensuring the youth members in my District are encouraged and promoted to develop their skills and talent.
Pauline SwannREGIONAL SECRETARY
Fred PiggfordREGIONAL TREASURER / AWARDS SECRETARY / Previous Council Member / PAST PRESIDENT / NODA Ltd
Fred's first major involvement with NODA began in about 1992 when, the then Northern Area Councillor, Ian Wells asked him to take over the position of treasurer from the Past Councillor Harry Low. Fred continued in that post until 1999 when Ian became National President and Fred was elected as Councillor. He served as North Regional Councillor and became a member of the NODA Management Committee until 2011 when he was elected as National President. At the completion of his year as President and subsequently IPP he was elected to remain on Council as an Life Member and subsequently elected as Chairman of Trustees in 2015 but reluctantly resigned in 2016. Fred is now on the Board of NODA Ltd as an Independent Director, thus continuing his involvement with NODA.
Ken AllanREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District N01 - North Tyneside)
Ken is a retired Finance Controller and has over 50 years experience on the amateur stage as actor singer and director.
Previously as a member of Beaconsfield Operatic Society, The Phoenix Theatre Company, Tynemouth AOS and currently Newcastle Musical Theatre Company as principal tenor/baritone he has played virtually all of the popular musical theatre roles for men as well as plays, pantomime, concerts and oratorio.
He retired from the stage following his portrayal of 'Old Deuteronomy' in CATS in 2018 at Newcastle Theatre Royal.
Foster JohnsonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District N02 - South Tyneside)
Michelle CoulsonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / YOUTH COORDINATOR / Youth (District N03 - North West co.Durham)
I have been a performer in amateur theatre since 1979, have been directing for the last 14 years and I have also served on society committees including the roles of Secretary, Chairman and Charity Board member. Being a Noda Representative gives an opportunity to meet a wide variety of people who share our wonderful hobby and I look forward to extending the role of the Youth Adviser in the region and supporting all aspects of youth theatre.
Helen AbrahamREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District N04 - East and South Durham)
Helen has been involved in and with amateur theatre since she was a baby; her mother being a talented choreographer for various groups in the East Durham region and taking her along in the buggy. As such she cannot imagine a life without it.
As such it was unsurprising that Helen was first on stage at age 4 as the “Little Fairy” in pantomime and has continued since then, mainly dancing and performing until she attended the NODA Summer School Directing Course and now has a host of directing achievements under her belt which she is very proud of. Helen has found that she much prefers being off stage rather than on as she got older (not necessarily wiser!) and has also stage managed for a multitude of Societies in her and a wider region and thoroughly enjoys it.
After an approach to gauge her interest in a Regional representative role for NODA, she decided to put herself forward for a new feather under her cap and here we are! She is very much looking forward to embracing her new role and hopefully a positive promotion of all that is wonderful about amateur theatre for all. Helen hopes she can motivate and inspire others to the love of amateur theatre and all its positive attributes.
Michael L. AveryREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District N05 - Tyne Valley)
I have been involved with amateur musical theatre since 1984 when I volunteered to act as Members’ Ticket Secretary for Newcastle upon Tyne Musical Theatre Company (NMTC), then known as Newcastle upon Tyne Operatic Society. Somehow, I became the Secretary, then Business Manager was added, later Vice Chairman and, ultimately, Chairman of NMTC. I am really a paper-pusher, having been a Solicitor (now retired) and have never performed onstage. I did, for a few years, become a supernumerary (extra) for several performances by the RSC at Newcastle Theatre Royal, where NMTC mount their productions. I also “walked the lights” for the Really Useful Group before they brought their travelling version of Jesus Christ Superstar to the Royal. Always well hidden by quite a large number of friends from NMTC and a lot of others, primarily men, I dragged in to swell the din. So that’s my onstage career. For NMTC my first show was Call Me Madam, my last was The Producers, a gradual move from standard musicals to more adventurous productions. I retired as Chairman of NMTC in 2009 and, thereafter, managed to get myself elected as a Regional Rep. for Area 5, NODA North which covers Newcastle and the Tyne Valley. I still work front of house for NMTC during their annual show at the Theatre Royal
John HollidayREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District N06 - North Yorkshire)
John found his love for the performing arts at the tender age of just 10 when joining Richmond Operatic Society to take on the important role of back-end of a dragon in their annual pantomime and has not looked back since.
Whilst the majority of his time has been spent with ROS where he is currently Chairman (stepping down from this role in Jan 2021), he has also thoroughly enjoyed many productions with Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society and also a solo outing with Darlington.
A regular visitor to many amateur shows and frequent West End trips inspired him to direct a number of shows and over the last few years even write a number of shows that have been used by ROS and more recently Chester Le Street.
John is looking forward to visiting all of his District’s societies, to meet all of the fabulous people involved and to be a useful link between yourselves and NODA
Jean Scarlett-CarrREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District N08 - Teesside)
I have been involved in Amateur theatre since 1987 as a performer, backstage crew, stage manager, committee member and sec, and youth leader, involved mainly in musical societies but also plays. As I am currently still involved with several of the groups in our area I am unable to complete those society's reports and so have enlisted the help of assistant rep to serve our district too, and we hope together to be available for you. We have not had much experience directly with NODA until I joined in 2015 and am taking this opportunity to learn and broaden my knowledge. I am enjoying meeting with area members in the district and feel privileged to see the performances as Area Rep. I work full time as a metallurgist/commercial customer service in the Steel industry, and have a daughter Holly, who has joined me in the theatre world and makes me proud always.
Kathryn CurryREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District N09 - Northumberland and Borders)
Whilst at school I went to see my first 'Musical Theatre' production, it was 'West Side Story'. I was hooked from then on. I have been involved in amateur theatre for 32 years, both performing and directing and loved every minute. I love playing character roles and the latest one being Aunt Eller in Oklahoma....3rd time but this was by far the best at Duns Operatic Society. Travel far and wide to see both amateur and professional theatre. I have made so many new friends in my district so being a NODA rep has been a wonderful experience for me.
Jo-Anne SmithREGIONAL COMMITTEE MEMBER / Assistant Regional Rep (District N08 - Teesside)
Jo trained in dance and musical theatre and has been performing since the age of 6. She has been a member of the Nunthorpe Players since childhood and has also worked with Middlesbrough Amateur Operatic Society, Redcar Operatic Society, Guisborough Theatre Company, North Ormesby Minstrels and Middlesbrough Little Theatre. She has appeared in many musicals, pantomimes, plays, festivals, short films and on radio. Jo particularly enjoys playing challenging roles that you would not expect an actress to play. Her favourite roles include the "Beast" in Beauty and the Beast and "Frankenstein" in Frankenstein the Panto! Jo is Head of Dietetics for a local NHS Trust and is passionate about nutrition and mental health. When she is not performing, she loves to surf at Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
Gordon RichardsonWEBSITE EDITOR / COUNCILLOR / Vice President
Gordon has been involved with amateur theatre since before he was born - his mother taking him to shows and his local society rehearsals whilst she was pregnant - it was a matter of assumption rather than informed choice that once he become old enough to take to the stage he did so - his first experience being as a young prince in 'King and I' at the age of 8. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since those first steps onto the stage and now some almost 60 years later he has received his 45 year LSA and well on the way to his 50th.
In those years he has appeared in more musicals than he cares to mention and a multitude of plays. He is the first to admit that given his singing voice (somewhere between the cracks of the keys...) his first love is drama and loves nothing better than to act.
His other love, somewhat masochistically, is the politics of amateur theatre and hence the role of Regional Councillor was such a great fit for him as he loves the 'cut and thrust' of committee discussion and decision making. Although Gordon has been interested in NODA since he joined his local society over forty odd years since it is only in 2010 when he was elected as a regional rep (having twice lost out to other opposition). In 2012 in Cardiff at the national AGM he was honoured to receive the 'Presidents Cup' by then retiring president Fred Piggford. This inspired and motivated him to standing for election to the Regional Councillor position in 2013, a role he was proud to be elevated to.
Now he has stood down as Regional Councillor to take up the role of Vice President, hoping to ascend to President in September 2021
He continues to love the friendships he has made through visiting societies and will continue as long as he is able.
Fun Fact - he once shook hands with the, then, President of the USA.
Emma ScottMagazine Editor
I have been involved in amateur theatre since I was eleven years old, after being brought up watching my Mum on and off stage amongst a theatre group which I now consider family. I’m mainly on the stage myself, and have been lucky enough to play some incredible roles in musicals, pantomimes and plays over the years, but I’ve also worked as stage crew, front of house, and a chaperone for various theatre groups and schools. I’m a current Member’s Representative on my home theatre group’s committee, also undertaking the tasks of creating branding, posters and programmes, designing and running our website, and managing social media. I’m fiercely passionate about amateur dramatics and all that it brings to those involved, and look forward to sharing that through this opportunity with NODA.