Our people

None of Coram SSF's impact would be possible without our committed staff team, artistic associates and trustees. Please do email or phone us - we're always happy to talk about our work and answer questions - we love hearing from you!


  • Ruth Brock

    Managing Director

    Prior to becoming Managing Director of Coram SSF, Ruth was a teacher in Tower Hamlets. Her class performed in the 2013 Festival and the impact on her children was so fundamental, Ruth was determined to work for SSF. Before teaching, Ruth relaunched a small inclusive theatre charity and spent six years working in as a parliamentary researcher, media manager and senior press officer for the former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Ruth has an English degree from Cambridge.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Because of her love of feisty, independent people, Ruth aspires to be Beatrice.


  • Mike Tucker

    Head of CSSF

    After four years working the higher education sector Mike joined the Festival Team at CSSF. Passionate about the power of stories to bring together people and communities, Mike works with the theatres and theatremakers who support schools through their Festival journey. He also works to measure the impact of CSSF's work. Mike originally moved to London from South Wales to study law and philosophy, and still ponders why there are rules. Mike aims to be like Horatio because he's friendly, dependable and alive at the end.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Horatio


  • Francesca Ellis

    Head of Creative and Programmes

    Five years ago Francesca was thrilled to discover she could work for CSSF and stop being embarassed about loving Shakespeare. Every day since, she has been inspired by teachers who go the extra mile for their pupils, and by young people for whom the sheer joy of stepping onto a stage is life-changing. She has played Rosalind, from As You Like It, and aspires to her bravery and determination.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Rosalind


Core Team

  • Bethany Appleton

    Programmes Coordinator

    Bethany has always been passionate about Shakespeare and the power of literature, and recently graduated from the University of Oxford with a Master's degree in English. She has run educational charity events for the European Youth Parliament UK for a number of years alongside studying, before coming to Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation as a Schools Outreach Officer. 

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? If Bethany were a Shakespeare character, she would be Beatrice, because she's independent, loyal to her friends and has great chat. 


  • Jonathan Beaumont

    Festival Manager (Operations)
    Jonathan has worked in theatre for 8 years before joining SSF. He has a degree in English & American Literature and Drama from the University of Kent. Jonathan has joined SSF as a self confessed Shakespeare novice and is enjoying being educated by all the eclectic performances that make up the festival.
    What Shakespeare character you would be? Jonathan took a quiz and got Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing because he is "wise, funny and willing to risk everything!"


  • John Chisham

    Outreach Assistant
  • Francis Christeller

    Development Consultant
    Francis was born in New Zealand but is proud to have lived and worked in the UK as an EU migrant for the last 8 years. He has a passion for all things theatrical, having trained in contemporary dance at university and spent a good part of his professional career on the stages and screens of New Zealand, the UK and Europe. In 2015 Francis joined the team at LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) where he began to explore the wonderful world of fundraising. He joined the Shakespeare Schools Foundation team as Fundraising Manager in mid 2019 and enjoys working closely with others in the team on attracting funding from Trusts, Foundations and individuals.
    What Shakespeare character you would be? Benvolio - because Francis is chilled out, super loyal and hopefully will survive right to the end.


  • Ally Couch

    Workshops Officer
  • Craig Dacey

    Sales and Marketing Manager
  • James Fell

    Finance Officer

    James joined SSF at the start of 2016 and works in the Finance Team. He studied Economics at the University of Birmingham and is training to become a qualified accountant. Outside of work, he has a keen interest in sport and spends most of his free time playing cricket and golf. James thoroughly enjoys working at SSF and is looking forward to seeing more performances in future Festivals.


  • Louise De Froment

    Senior Workshops Officer

    Louise began her career working for the Studio and Learning Department at Theatre Royal Newcastle where a passion was ignited for theatre with a social impact. This led her to London where she completed an MA in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths College. Following this Louise threw herself into the freelance arts world working on diverse educational and community projects with charities, theatres, museums and galleries across the capital. Louise joined CSSF in 2018 and is delighted to work for a charity so dedicated to giving young people the best start in life. When she is not raving about CSSF's work Louise can be found Singing, Swing Dancing, Acting in Community Theatre projects or attending a Zumba Class.

    What Shakespeare character would you be? Viola


    Louise is currently away on maternity leave. For workshop enquiries, please contact Ally Couch: ally.couch@coramshakespeareschools.org.uk

  • Alistair Foylan

    Senior Programmes Coordinator

    Prior to joining CSSF Alistair created and produced theatre, devising shows inspired by the location and architecture of its performance space. He has also worked in market research, managing projects for public and private sector organisations, and has worked on various youth and outreach programmes across the UK. Alistair is proud to work for CSSF and is passionate about the power theatre and the arts have to build relationships and create communities.

    What Shakespeare character you would be? A quiz said Alistair would be Falstaff – although he doesn’t necessarily think of himself as vain, cowardly and fat he isn’t one to question the integrity of a BuzzFeed quiz.


  • Rebecca Francis

    Programmes Coordinator
  • Bee Harrison

    Foundation Assistant
  • Maddie Short

    Schools and Resources Manager

    Maddie trained as an actress at Mountview Academy before qualifying as a teacher and teaching for six years in North London and Hertfordshire. Joining Shakespeare Schools Foundation in 2015 brought together her passion for Shakespeare in performance and inspiring a love of learning. Maddie feels strongly that Shakespeare is for everyone and her role at SSF, overseeing the work with schools and developing resources to support teachers, gives her the exciting opportunity to tap into its relevance for young people. She feels especially passionate about using Shakespeare when working with disengaged learners and is very proud of the work SSF does with students in Pupil Referral Units.    

    What Shakespeare character you would be? Viola


  • Alex Swain

    Senior Marketing and Development Officer

    Alex was initially drawn to Shakespeare by Twelfth Night which blew away his misconceptions of Shakespeare as a boring, serious playwright, and he’s been a fan ever since. He is immensely proud of the work Shakespeare Schools Foundation does and has made it one of his favourite pastimes to tell anyone who’ll listen about some of the inspiring stories he has seen unfold as part of the Festival.

    Which Shakespeare character would you be? King Lear


Artistic Associates

  • John Lightbody

    Senior Artistic Associate

    John is an actor, voiceover artist and freelance director. Among his many classical roles he has played Richard III, Benvolio and the Ghost of Christmas Present. He has delivered SSF’s workshops for over ten years, and most recently in the role of Senior Artistic Associate has overseen the devising of Teacher Workshops.

  • Timothy Allsop

    Artistic Associate

    Timothy is an actor, writer and Creative Director of Turn of Phrase, an educational firm focusing on gender and LGBTQ work. He studied History at Oxford before training as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he teaches on the summer programme. As an actor he has performed at both the National and Shakespeare's Globe and has played roles such as Richard III, Horatio and Oberon. His publications include: Open, The Smog and his short stories appear in Grist and Bedford Square. He loves working with SSF, helping to deliver the teacher workshops and as a staff director for the Festival.

  • Rachel Ellis

    Artistic Associate

    Rachel is an actor, director and theatre tutor. As well as working in the mainstream as an actor Rachel has developed her interest in more experimental work involving physical theatre. She is currently Head of Drama at Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts and has her own theatre company - Faculty of Wonder.

  • Jordana Golbourn

    Artistic Associate

    Jordana is a theatre maker and facilitator working with community artists. She has a decade of experience working with companies such as Almeida Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, and Old Vic Theatre. She is the director of Almeida Academy, a programme that gives 5 to 14-year-olds the opportunity to work with theatre professionals to devise and stage brand new plays.

    Jordana has also trained with Oily Cart on making theatre for young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

  • Guy Hargreaves

    Artistic Associate

    Guy's experience of watching Shakespeare on stage varies greatly. He has seen both some of the most thrilling, vital & exciting nights in the theatre, along with some of the most dull & boring. Guy is very skilled at remaining optimistic and making an idiot of himself. He works for SSF because young people's take on the stories and language can be at the 'thrilling, vital and exciting' end of things.

  • Kate Hughes

    Artistic Associate

    Kate (stage name Kate Middleton) is an actor based in London and originally from the West Midlands. She performs in theatre and on screen, and has a penchant for anything period. 

  • Iain Jones

    Artistic Associate

    Iain is an actor, director and practitioner. As a director he has worked at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, Greenwich Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and Edinburgh Festival. He was introduced to Shakespeare at school and loved it. “He's a great storyteller and takes us on adventures that are full of extraordinary characters.” His favourite character is Puck, because he has so much fun.

  • Brian Mullin

    Artistic Associate

    Brian works as a writer, deviser and dramaturg. He studied Theatre at Yale and went on to research Elizabethan theatre at Oxford. He loves SSF's approach to Shakespeare, letting young people jump into the imagination of the world's greatest dramatist.

  • Richard Weinman

    Artistic Associate

    Richard is an Associate Director at the Lyric, Hammersmith, where he recently directed Passin’ Thru as part of the Evolution Festival of work by young people. He has been an Associate for the National Youth theatre and the National Theatre Connections project. He is interested in theatre as a way to social inclusion and works frequently with hard-to-reach groups such as NEET young people and young offenders.


  • James Dray


    James is a partner at Brunswick, the strategic advisory firm. He helps to lead Brunswick's work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he completed a 12-month secondment leading communications in Europe and the Middle East. He has also worked with Wellcome Trust, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the Global Financing Facility (GFF). James earned a Doctorate as a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he also taught politics. He is a former President of the Oxford Union and World Universities Debating Champion.

  • Guy Davies

    Vice Chair

    Guy is a chartered accountant, a trustee at the Social Business Trust and a trustee at Parents and Children Together, an adoption charity. Previously he was a partner and head of financing at Permira, an international private equity firm. He has been a trustee of SSF since 2016.

  • Suba Das

  • Dr Carol Homden CBE

    Chief Executive, Coram and Company Secretary

    Carol is Chief Executive of Coram, a group of specialist children charities reaching 2.5 million children, families and professionals every year. Formerly a member of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, she served on the Adoption Leadership Board for seven years and is also a continuing member of the Children’s Interagency Group and the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Carol is Chair of the National Autistic Society, which operates seven specialist schools and multiple adult services and delivers national accreditation. Carol was awarded a CBE in 2013 for her contribution to services for children and families. Having started her career setting up print media enterprises in East Anglia as a freelance arts journalist and editor, she was previously Director of
    Marketing and Development at the University of Westminster, the first Director of Marketing and Public Affairs at the British Museum and Commercial Director for the Prince’s Trust.

  • Petrina de Gouttes


    Petrina is an English teacher at an East London secondary school where she leads the department's enrichment programme. Prior to teaching, she worked in operational and project management roles for notable organisations such as the Young Foundation, UpRising Leadership and Future First. Before joining SSF in September 2017, she served on the operational board of a teacher training school and was a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth’s Youth Inspiration Group advising on youth policy.

  • James Hadley


    James is a partner at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm, having joined the firm in 1996. He leads their Strategy Practice in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region. James is also an advisor to the Social Business Trust and a member of its Investment Committee. He has been a trustee of SSF since 2016.

  • Dr Glenda Jones

  • Jill Pay


    Jill’s background is business management.  Jill became the first female Serjeant at Arms in the House of Commons in 2008. Her passion is to help people to develop, grow and succeed, from primary school children struggling to learn to read through to female entrepreneurs finding their way in business and female senior managers seeking to join the Board.

    Jill is Chairman of Trustees of the Coram Beanstalk literacy charity. She is a founder and an active member of Savvitas, a businesswomen’s network affiliated to Parliament. She chairs the Savvitas Senate.

  • Chloe Surowiec-Allison


    Chloe is a Civil Servant and currently heads up DCMS’ Volunteering Strategy Team. She draws on ten years’ experience in government and charity sectors, including a significant amount of time working with social entrepreneurs and charity leaders to scale up social enterprises in the education sector. Chloe is passionate about the importance of education as an agent for social change and improving outcomes for all children and, prior to joining CSSF’s board, she spent five years as Vice-Chair of Governors at a large school in London.

  • Vicki Wienand


    Vicki is joint Series Editor of the Cambridge School Shakespeare Series published by Cambridge University Press. She has taught English in the UK and abroad and is now a freelance writer. Before joining the SSF board in 2018, she was a trustee of two charities seeking to improve the mental health of young people.

young people of all abilities and ages took part in our 2020 Festival

With us, young people from all walks of life get the chance to shine through the unique power of the arts.

About our impact
of teachers say their students' academic attainment improved thanks to the Festival

We give young people a chance to learn in a fun and collaborative environment.

About our impact
of teachers said that their students were resilient as a result of the Festival

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
of teachers reported that their students were better able to empathise with each other

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
of teachers said that their students increased in confidence

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
of teachers agreed that their students were better at working together as a team

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
of teachers say their students improve academically

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
More than
young people have taken part in the Festival

Our flagship project is the Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact

Coram SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork - giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.

Learn more about us