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Forest Forge Board of Trustees Biographies
Forest Forge has a vibrant and dynamic board of Trustees, made up of lively people from the world of arts: theatre, dance and music; those with extensive educational experience; as well as those with strong strategic and business skills. We have ten full board members, and our two major funders sit in as observers on our quarterly board meetings.
Our Board members join us for the formal quarterly meetings - though we are not really very formal. Some are involved in sub-groups, giving their time to help us think through issues such as our artistic profile and values and our financial management.
We are always keen to hear from individuals who share our enthusiasm and pride in Forest Forge, and who may have skills and knowledge that they could bring to our table.
Dr Miranda Whitehead
Forest Forge and I go back to a performance of Jane and The Dragon in Fordingbridge Town Hall. A revelation! That was probably twenty five years ago as the small children I took are now earning their own livings, and still coming to and supporting Forest Forge.
Some years ago I spent a couple of years as a member of the Nuffield Theatres New Writers group which gave me a deeper insight into the workings of theatre, and an increased respect for anyone associated with live drama.
I have seen the value of drama in my work as a doctor in hospitals, hospices, in nursing homes and out in the community. I have learned the value of Forest Forge’s outreach programmes working with people excluded from society through disability or difference. I have seen the value of drama in my work as a district councillor where we have used it to engage young people, to give them a voice and to bring generations and communities together. Mention Forest Forge and people immediately remember a particular show they cherish, and offer suggestions for the company’s direction.
We live in challenging times for The Arts, one of our countries greatest assets, but challenge is what theatre thrives on and when we do our best work. Our excellent Board, shortlisted for the NCVO’s national Winifred Tumin prize for Good Governance in 2011, works hard to keep our thriving company in a solid financial position.
Forest Forge is a greatly loved and valued Hampshire institution, and believe me, chairing our Board is a responsibility that I take extremely seriously.
Miranda is Chair of the Board, after being elected in July 2010.
Cllr Stephanie Stokes
Stephanie is a bio-psychologist by education and training and has had a career as a teacher in Secondary and Further Education and as a lecturer with the Open University. After moving to live in the New Forest in 2007 she retired and became more involved with voluntary work.
Appointed to the Board of Forest Forge as the Ringwood Town Council representative - and now as Vice Chair - Stephanie is an experienced charity worker with an involvement spanning two continents and 35 years. Beginning her experience in the USA as the Co-President (Chair in UK language) of Parent and Child St Louis Inc., she has gained wide experience of leadership, change management and charity governance. She was for three years Chair deafPLUS a charity for the deaf and hard of hearing and is currently Chair of Community First New Forest.
Stephanie has a long association with Hampshire as she grew up locally and despite living some years abroad retained family connections. In her youth she was active in amateur dramatics and she currently sings with a local choir. Her experience of enjoying theatre ranges from Broadway to the West End and she has an eclectic taste. Since joining Forest Forge she has become enthusiastic in helping it achieve its mission to bring professional live theatre to local communities so they can experience it's delights.
Junior trained at Ballet Rambert in London and performed with the London Festival Ballet (now English National) before working for the Ulmer Ballet Company (Germany). On his return to the UK he began work as a freelance dance artist and choreographer. He has performed and choreographed pop videos, has appeared on several TV shows and TV commercials both here in the UK and abroad, was a regular dance artist on The Clothes Show Live in the 1990s and regularly worked in fashion shows and trade shows across Europe and the UK.
In 1996 he founded Wise Moves Dance Ltd delivering educational dance workshops into schools and has since become one of the best known dance artists in education in Hampshire and Dorset ss well as having taught extensively in other counties in England.
Over the past 10 years Wise Moves Dance Ltd has extended its services nationally in England and Wales and is probably best known for its multicultural richness in delivering into schools arts-based workshops in the field of dance, music, drama and the visual arts.
In July 2006 he launched the Wise Moves Dance Performance Company which celebrates cultural diversity. The show is called Planet Steps and is touring schools across the UK from the spring with an exciting programme of dance and music from Africa, Asia, Europe, America and China.
Roger Finn is a presenter and reporter for BBC South.
He was born and brought up in Hong Kong. He was sent to school in England, developed a love of theatre and became a member of the National Youth Theatre. After gaining a degree in psychology at Bristol University, early jobs included theatre-in-education actor, milkman, boatbuilder and kung fu film dubber. He then joined Radio Television Hong Kong where he specialised in making environmental documentaries.
In 1985 he returned to Britain and joined BBC TV’s Newsround as main reporter. Following John Craven’s departure, Roger took over aspresenter for five years.
In 1993 he started work with BBC South where he became Environment Correspondent and later co-presenter of South Today alongside Sally Taylor.
Roger has now moved onto general reporting and frequently presents South Today’s breakfast and lunchtime bulletins. He also presents ’Finn’s Country’ a regular feature on South Today which celebrates rural life in the south.
Roger is the father of three sons, two of whom are keen members of the Forest Forge Youth Theatre. He became a board member in 2007.
Peter is a Barrister by profession and currently sits as a Deputy District Judge. He is a member of the Lord Chancellor’s committee which recommends local candidates in Hampshire who wish to serve as Magistrates. Outside the law, Peter is a District Councillor at New Forest District Council and served on The Council’s Cabinet for 6 years as lead member for housing. He was producer/presenter at British Forces Radio and Television in Germany, Cyprus and Gibraltar. He was also a producer with BBC North in the 1990s and worked in commercial radio as a freelance news editor at Metro Radio and Century Radio in Newcastle and TFM radio in Teesside. He lives in the New Forest with his wife and three children.
Cllr Barbara Woodifield
Cllr Steve Rippon-Swaine
Amanda has worked as an actress both in the U.K and the U.S. and for more than twenty years has facilitated classes and workshops in personal and professional development, movement, leadership and creativity, theatre, and coaching for actors.
Whilst in California she sat on the Board, Executive Committee and the Parent Steering Committee of Oak Grove School and was actively involved with fundraising and event organisation.
Since returning to England, Amanda's son has been an enthusiastic member of Forest Forge. From the first show she watched, Amanda was greatly impressed by the quality of the performances, and the skill with which Lucy works with young people to build trust, physicality, co-operation and creativity.
Over the years Aanda has seen how theatre can transform lives, giving young people a sense of achievement, building confidence, communication and collaborative skills, and giving them a safe place to come together to create. She is pleased to now be serving on the board of Forest Forge to add her support to the team.