Wales & Ireland - Committee
Jordan SpencerRegional Councillor / COUNCILLOR
Jordan began performing at a young age whilst attending a private stage school in South Wales, little did he know that this would see him work professionally on TV and stage. Jordan was also involved in amateur theatre companies where he played a number of leading roles. At the age of 15 Jordan felt that theatre schools were not totally inclusive and therefore he started a group which supported various students from all different backgrounds helping with their physical and emotional needs whilst at the same time teaching them about performing arts.
Aged 14 Jordan made a name for himself within Wales performing on the Clubland circuit working for a leading entertainments agent. At the age of 17 Jordan managed to secure a professional contract and worked as an Assistant Entertainments Manager for a South Wales holiday park before leaving a year later to take the post of Entertainments Manager for a leading holiday company in Southern England.
Since returning home in 2014 Jordan has continued to perform both in theatre and also as a cabaret performer for corporate events and he was fortunate to sign a recording deal for a label in Soho, London. In 2015 he became a Regional Representative for District 6, an area which he served for 18 months before being elected to office as Regional Councillor for Wales and Ireland. Jordan was recognised for his achievements in 2016 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in November 2015.
Currently Jordan is studying at Ridley Hall, Cambridge where he is reading Theology, Ministry and Mission in the hope that he will go on to become a Priest in the Anglican Communion.
Fun fact – Jordan was recognised for his voluntary contribution to society at the young age of 14 years old by the Prime Minister, this saw Jordan and his family attend Number 10 for the reception.
Ian HoggREGIONAL TREASURER / MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY
Lyn EmmersonREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / AWARDS SECRETARY (District W01)
Born and bred in Llandudno North Wales, I followed my Father’s footsteps and joined the former Llandudno Musical Players (now Llandudno Musical Productions) in 1958 whilst still attending John Bright Grammar School, Llandudno, and am now a Life Member. Next year I celebrate 60 years service to Amateur Theatre. Previous to that I performed in plays and church concerts, but in 1956 the Society performed ‘Annie Get Your Gun’. I wanted to be one of the kids but my father who was directing, wouldn’t let me. It was only years later that I realised he would have to take me home after rehearsal instead of going to the pub with the rest of the cast!! – joking!!
I joined the Society as a dancer, chorus member, and then taking minor roles, but my first major role was in Calamity Jane in 1963 when I played the title role – still known as Calam!. Various leading roles followed, Carrie in Carousel, Annie – Annie Get Your Gun, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, and Maria – Sound of Music amongst many others. The 1970’s saw me venturing into Choreography for a host of shows and then later to Directing.
I have directed many musicals in the past, some more than once. The King & I for instance I have directed three times and My Fair Lady three times and enjoyed every minute of the experience. I insist on discipline and punctuality, as I am of the opinion the reputation of your Society goes on your last production. I have had so much fun in whatever I do in connection with Amateur Theatre, whether it be a principle, dancer, chorus, choreographer, director or back stage, one gets out of it what one puts into it.
I was honoured to be made NODA Regional Representative District 1, which was then the Western Area twenty three years ago in 1994, and have met and made some wonderful friends through NODA during that time. I love and have a great rapport with all my Societies and Iam President of Llandudno Youth Music Theatre, a Society very close to my heart.
I have recently been widowed, have two fantastic children, four lovely Grandkids, two supportive step children and four super step Grandkids, who together with family and my wide circle of friends, many of whom I met through NODA, are a great comfort to me.
Sheelagh HobartREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District W02)
I joined Bangor Operatic Society (N.Ireland) in 1972 and was involved on stage, back stage, as production manager, programme compiler, committee member, secretary or chairman every year until the society's 90th anniversary in 2009. The society ran their own "Little Theatre" in Bangor for many years so I frequently also did 'front of house' and served behind the bar!
(Sadly they lost the theatre in 19. and, as Bangor had no other theatre, the society found it very difficult to find venues suitable for presenting musicals. They have struggled to keep going, with members and prospective members joining the many amateur companies in nearby Belfast. I am hoping to encourage a revival to celebrate the centenary in 2019.)
I now belong to a local drama group to take part in play readings and social events - no more going on stage as I can't learn new lines nowadays! And my heart lies in musical theatre !
I became NODA Regional Representative in 2006 and still love seeing the great variety of shows in venues from the Grand Opera House in Belfast to small halls holding less than 100. I have made so many friends in so many societies. My travels to attend shows in Northern Ireland range from 4 to 195 miles return! Recently I have welcomed a number of new youth companies to my Noda district and the future looks bright for amateur theatre in N.I.
Dee McIlroyREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / EDITOR (District W03)
Born into a family of musicians, actors and singers, not long before tap, ballet and ballroom dancing lessons and competitions were part of the weekly routine, progressing to drama productions at school and university then amateur stage. My RADA dream turned in to earning ! Arriving in Wales joined Abergavenny AODS in 1987 and never looked back and also the same year became a Noda member.
Performing two shows a year fifty so far, principal roles and ensemble and member of committee, Vice Chair. AAODS Hon.Life Member, 30 year Noda medal.
Directed Dracula Spactacula, Assistant Director Fiddler on the Roof, decided I prefer to be on stage! For a challenge joined a second society Abergavenny Light Opera Company for twenty years, their speciality was G & S and operettas, a totally different world.
Member of WNO Welsh National Opera Community Choir, Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff, show casing modern operas by new composers which included Carbon 12 a work highlighting the history of the Welsh coal mines.
It was an honour to be appointed Noda Regional Representative for Monmouthshire & Blaenau Gwent in 2001 now District 3 and Editor for the region.
Always a great promoter of Noda Theatre Summer School, attended ten including musical theatre courses Evita, Les Miserables, West Side Story, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Directors course, Drama, Video and Film making. The National Operatic & Dramatic Association has launched many careers in theatre in the U.K. and gives so much to this incredible theatre world we are fortunate to be part of. It is a great privilege to witness all the talent in societies working for Noda and keeping in touch with those on a theatre career as they go on their journey. Passionate about Noda and every aspect of theatre, music and being part of the process of a production, enjoy event planning, poetry and play writing, ballroom dancing, and any spare time, playing the ukulele.
Allan MearsREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District W04)
Having first stepped foot on a stage back in 1981 in a production of ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ Allan has appeared in and directed many productions throughout South wales, His 2014 production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ won the NODA Wales & Ireland ‘Best Production’, an achievement he is very proud of.
It has been both an honour and a privilege to act as the NODA representative for District 4 during the very short space of time since my appointment. Allan has for a number of years also been a ‘Appraiser’ for the Glamorgan Drama League and is also a member of ‘The Drama Association of wales’. Allan has also appeared in a number of productions as an ‘Extra’ for both BBC and S4C.
Allan is very passionate about keeping amateur theatre alive and has a passion for nurturing and developing talent, and is looking forward to making lots of new friends within District 4. My ‘goal’ is to never refuse an invitation to a production.
Luke SpencerREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District W05)
Luke was born in Leicester and at a very early age he began singing as a cathedral chorister and it is there that his musical career began. Having been educated at Ratcliffe College, he went on to study voice and organ at the Royal Northern College of Music under Robert Alderson and Ronald Frost respectively and also read music at Cardiff University being tutored by John Hugh Thomas and Kelvin Thomas. His studies also took him to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome where he studied sacred choral music being honoured to have tutoring from His Eminence Cardinal Bartolucci, Director Emeritus of the Sistine Chapel Choir.
Previously Head of Expressive Arts at St. Michael’s School in Llanelli, Luke is now Director of Music at Bishop Vaughan Catholic School in Swansea and has also been the Assistant Director of Music and Diocesan Organist for the Catholic Diocese of Menevia. He is Director of Music at All Saints Church, Mumbles and Artistic Director of The Mumbles Festival of Music and the Arts.
His performing as an organist has taken him far and wide, including recitals at St. Gervais and Le Sacre Coeur in Paris, the Church of St. John Lateran and Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome and St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna as well as many concerts and recitals in British Cathedrals. His singing experience as a soloist has seen him singing with choirs, choral societies and orchestras on the concert platform and in opera and oratorio the length and breadth of the UK.
His conducting experience includes conducting the Festival Orchestra of Wales, the Chamber Orchestra of Wales, the RNCM Choral Society, Cardiff University Chamber Orchestra, Cantorion Pontyclun, the Gower Chorale, Morriston Tabernacle Choir and he is delighted to have been appointed as conductor of the Cardiff Bach Choir.
As a theatre performer he has had much experience both on and off stage. His first production was at the age of 10 on that stage of the Leicester Market Theatre and he then appeared professionally for the first time at the age of 15 as Mr Bumble in Oliver! Amongst his performances have been Ibsen, Pinter and Wilde plays, Rogers and Hammerstein, Kander and Ebb and Sondheim musicals and he has been musical director for numerous professional, amateur and school productions, most recently Pirates of Penzance, Beauty and the Beast, West Side Story and Hairspray.
Sharon DaviesREGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District W07)
I started a more organised foray into performing arts 23 years ago after several years of very amateur "village hall" concerts. Like a lot of people I did not realise the amount of talent and experience that was out there. My first show was Half a Sixpence and my abiding memory is that of the musical director obviously tiring of the tempo of "The Old Military Canal" and upping said tempo without warning the chorus and we were left playing catch up. I have performed in various shows taking both principle and chorus parts. I was asked to assist a director, and from then on I assisted a director by the name of Paul Chandler who taught me so much, the first two lessons being that you don't have to follow the stage direction exactly, but you do need to give the public what they want and expect.
Since then I have directed nine musicals about 13 musical revues and various fundraising events including Old Time Musicals and Rat Pack shows.
Since becoming a NODA representative I have had the privilege of seeing many talented shows and performers and I feel that I have a good rapport with my societies and I alway try to write fair and honest show report. I look forward to meeting more of our members as I move around district 7.
Jackie TitleyREGIONAL SECRETARY / REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE (District W1A)
Matt HampsonYOUTH ADVISER
Matt is an Arranger, Orchestrator, Conductor and Musical Director from Cardiff. He trained at The Royal Military School of Music and The Royal Academy of Music with Professor Veronica Clayton. He also work as conductor and orchestrator has taken him across the UK and Ireland working with some of the worlds leading artists including Lorna Luft, Kerry Ellis, Jai McDowall, Joe McElderry, Adam Garcia & Christina Bianco.
As an arranger, Matt has orchestrated for many leading musical theatre artists and his choral arrangements have been sung and commissioned by choirs across the UK. Matts is the principal orchestrator for The Glamis Prom & Tonight from the West End, a concert series based in Scotland. He is also Jai McDowall's (Britain's Got Talent winner 2011) musical director and arranger.
As a conductor Matt has led some of the UK and Irelands leading orchestras to include – The Irish Philharmonic Orchestra, The British Sinfonietta and The Welsh Session Orchestra.
Since taking a step back from his professional work, Matt has since settled in Neath and has started working with many of the societies in the area to include- Melyn AOS, Port Talbot AOS, Stage 8 Theatre School and The Performance Factory.
Matt also teaches music privately - covering piano, voice and GCSE / A Level music tuition & by day teaches Expressive Arts and PE within primary education.
As musical director his credits include – Little Shop of Horrors, Les Miserables, Avenue Q, Me & My Girl, Fiddler on the Roof, Gyspy, Baby The Musical, Annie, Oklahoma, Godspell, Chess the Musical, The Full Monty, A Christmas Carol, The Wedding Singer, Annie, Grease, Legally Blonde & Hairspray. Future productions include Sister Act, the Welsh Adult Adult Premiere of CATS and the regional premiere of Made In Dagenham.
Guy WoolesWEBSITE EDITOR
Guy started on the stage at the grand old age of five. Being the son of Frank and Netta Wooles, founders of Cardiff’s Orbit Theatre, he didn’t have much choice! A member of the youth section of Orbit, ‘Junior Orbit’, from it’s inception in the early 1970’s to it’s conclusion in the late 1980’s, Guy worked both onstage and backstage for both Orbit and Junior Orbit until his retirement 20 years later.
Now an artist and designer, he lives and works in Penarth, just outside Cardiff.
He is also the artist and creator behind the world famous Paper Penguin Project!