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THE EMBRACING ARTS TEAM
Founder & Artistic Director
Sue is an actor, singer, musical director and singing teacher with over 20 years experience in the performing and coaching industries. She has performed in over 25 countries, at the National Theatre, The Royal Albert Hall, London's West End and in UK tours.
She runs her own singing teaching practice and also teaches on the BA course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Sue founded Christmas for Kids in 2009 and is thrilled with the charity's expansion into Embracing Arts.
Claire graduated from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). She is an actor, singer, freelance drama facilitator and one of the founding members of Embracing Arts. She has toured theatres all over the UK, and has performed in the West End and New York.
As a freelance drama facilitator, Claire works with children aged 2-18 yrs teaching curriculum-based subjects and encouraging children to learn and explore through the medium of drama. She has over 20 years of teaching experience and working with children who have Special Educational Needs.
Katie trained as an actress at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
She worked for 20 years, appearing in West End Plays and Musicals, Rep Theatres around the UK, Radio Drama for the BBC and abroad, The London Film Festival and Prime Time Sunday nights on ITV. She still enjoys the occasional acting job within the Corporate, Medical or Events sectors.
Since taking over the running of the Embracing Arts finances she is now working towards full Accountancy accreditation. She enjoys marrying her passion for the Arts to her skills with a calculator.
Katie is so proud to be an integral part of the Embracing Arts team!
Social Media Co-ordinator
Matthew first joined Christmas for Kids back in 2017, after graduating from the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. His first tour for C4K was with our production 'Benson’s Christmas Letter'. He loved the job so much that he has been involved in several Christmas for Kids productions since!
Matthew’s roles have continued to adapt over the years, as our charity has expanded. From performer to choreographer, and most recently to social-media co-ordinator! He is currently studying Makaton to explore how this language can make our shows that more accessible to all, as well as continuing to be our media manager for all things Embracing Arts and Christmas for Kids.
LAURA KAYE THOMSON
Laura is an actor, singer and theatre maker who has performed with Christmas for Kids across our 2018 and 2019 tours. She also co-wrote our 2020 digital show.
She has worked for Zoo Co since 2018 where she is Head of Children’s Work and an Associate Artist. She has composed music for their main children’s show, co-written their show 'Ladies in the Van' and performed in their outdoor immersive work with the National Trust. She also runs her own company, Music Box Theatre, which focuses on music-led theatre and has written and developed 3 musicals, 1 short play and 2 outdoor family shows.
She is a keen facilitator, loves songwriting and is particularly interested in environmental theatre, both as a subject and in her own theatre practice. She is currently working towards her BSL Level 2.
Designer & Bespoke Props Maker
Simon was born and raised in Worcester and trained at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). As an actor, Simon has worked on national and international tours, regional theatre, London's West End and in television.
Art credits: Scenery and props for Christmas for Kids, props, puppets and poster art for Ripley Theatre Productions; 'The Little Tempest' (Edinburgh festival), 'Rumpelstiltskin', 'Jack and the Beans...talk!' (Brighton festival), set and puppets for Zara Nunn's short film 'Don't Look Behind You' and, most recently, fabrication of Macbeth's head for 'Macbeth' Epstein theatre, Liverpool.
Simon's website is: www.siromakes.com
Caitlin is an educator and performer specialising in creative education partnerships.
After graduating from Oxford University, she swapped a literary life for the limelight, training with Fourth Monkey Theatre Company.
She is the Lead Partnerships and Programme Officer for the City of London Education, Culture And Skills team. She is also the voice of several BBC Bitesize animations.
Caitlin was part of the Christmas for Kids hospice tour in 2016 and is delighted to be part of the Embracing Arts team!
Sarah Winn - Embracing Arts Facilitator
Sarah Winn trained at the Oxford School of Drama and The School of Physical Theatre. She has led and been involved in various community theatre projects, including Pinpoint Create, "South End remember us" and Runcorn Passion. During her time with Ten Ten Theatre, she created theatre with young offenders and vulnerable adults.
She has worked for Embracing Arts as workshop assistant for the last 2 years and is passionate about sensory, fun and interactive performance.
Maria is a performer, a keen adventurer, a general optimist, an eco-warrior and most of all, a lover of the arts, who also wants to have a positive impact on lives of other people. She has been working with Embracing Arts since summer 2020, involved with admin, outreach and fundraising - working behind the scenes to get our fabulous Christmas for Kids shows seen by as many people as possible. Maria is thrilled to be a part of the team, knowing we’ve been able to bring festive joy to so many children and families who really need it!
Fiona joined the Embracing Arts team in 2021.
Fiona spent fifteen years working in education, in both primary and secondary schools. She holds the National Award for SEN Coordination and has been a special educational needs coordinator in both mainstream and specialist schools, as well as working independently as an SEN assessor and consultant. Supporting the work of Embracing Arts in creating inclusive and accessible art and productions for children with complex needs is a cause close to her heart.
Fiona supports Embracing Arts as an SEN/D advisor.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Bar is a principal employment law editor at XpertHR, making employment law and HR good practice guidance accessible for HR professionals.
She was previously a solicitor at a leading law firm in Brighton.
Since joining the Embracing Arts board of trustees at the start of 2020, Bar has been blown away by the dedication of the rest of the team, and has been keen to use her skills to support the charity's amazing mission
Trustee & Safeguarding Officer
Samson Ajewole is an Actor, writer and singer. He has worked for over 8 years appearing in west end plays, theatres around the UK and on our TV screens.
After working with children with special educational needs last year and seeing the positive impact the Christmas for Kids show had on the children, Samson was keen to get involved and and is thrilled to be part of the Embracing Arts team!
Dave is an actor and a founding member of Mischief Theatre. He has been performing in comedy for 14 years on stage and screen and has taken Mischief's shows all over the world including the West End, Broadway and the BBC.
Dave teaches workshops in improv, clowning and physical comedy and he is really excited to bring a little Mischief to Embracing Arts.
Also, he was a Stormtrooper once.
Emma's writing and adaptation work for stage includes: 'The Snow Child' (Tutti Frutti), adaptations of 'Hetty Feather' (Olivier Award nomination, West End and touring), 'The Worst Witch' (West End and tour), 'Cool Hand Luke' (West End and Off-Broadway), 'Carrie's War' (West End and tour), 'Anne of Green Gables' (Lilian Baylis), 'Little Women' (West End).
TV work includes 'Eve' (co-creator and lead writer), 'Hetty Feather', 'The Story of Tracy Beaker', 'Tracy Beaker Returns', 'The Dumping Ground', 'Doctors', 'Belonging', 'Dead Gorgeous', 'Sadie J', 'Young Dracula', 'Chuggington', 'The Murder of Princess Diana'.
Radio includes 'Leaving This Land', 'On The Cusp' and 'Clinging to Lord Nelson' (Radio 4), 'Something for Nothing' (BBC Radio Wales).
Trustee & Treasurer
Andy is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and a seasoned finance, audit and risk professional. He has many years experience as a Chief Auditor in the financial services industry, and has advised Boards and Executive Management teams on good governance and business operations.
Away from work, Andy lives with the joy, wonder and challenge of neurodiverse children and is an advocate of helping them and others with neurodiversity to reach their potential and live life to the full. Andy is thrilled to be able to support the mission of the charity and improve the life of other children with needs.
"We cannot stress how important the effect of what you do is for the hospices, not just the children who need the service, but the families and the carers who work there. They all really loved it and the feedback from the families was very positive. All age groups who attended were fully engaged in the whole show. It was fantastic! I felt that for the children that use our service it was very uplifting." Senior Carer, Shooting Star Chase