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This is an image of Sue Appleby. She has shoulder length brown hair and is wearing an embracing arts t-shirt. Sue is smiling.


Founder & CEO


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.

This is an image of Claire Sundin. She has shoulder length brown hair and is wearing an embracing arts t-shirt. Claire is smiling.


Creative Director​

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.

This is an image of Katie Hecht. She has brown hair tied up behind her ears. She is wearing a black coat and smiling at us.


Finance Director

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!

This is a photo of Matthew Davidson. He has short brown hair and is wearing a blue hoodie. Matthew is smiling at us.


Marketing Manager


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 Marketing Manager! Matthew is also a Regional Makaton Tutor and works to explore how this language programme can make our projects even more accessible to all!

This is a photo of Laura Kaye Thomson. She has long yellow hair and is wearing a white long sleeve t-shirt and a blue jumpsuit. Laura is smiling at us.


Associate Artist


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.

This is an image of Maria Crawford. She has shoulder length yellow hair and is wearing a black vest top. Maria is looking at us.



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!

This is an image of Sarah Winn. Sarah has red and brown hair which is tied behind her ears. Sarah is wearing a green t-shirt. Sarah is smiling at us.


Creative Consultant

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. 

This is a hoto of Helen Corbett. Helen has long brown hair which is placed behind her shoulders. Helen has glasses and is wearing a black t-shirt. Helen is smiling at us.



Helen trained as an actor at the City Literary Institute before moving into box office management and arts administration, working at some of her favourite venues including The National Theatre, The Royal Court and The Unicorn Theatre.

Leaving London in 2018 to pursue a passion for travel and the outdoors, she has worked as a walk leader and ski host leading groups across the mountains of Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

Having recently completed a qualification in digital marketing, Helen is excited to put her newfound skills to use, assisting with social media and helping to spread the word about Embracing Arts and how we deliver the sensory magic to those who need it.

This is a photo of Simon Rowe. Simon has short brown hair and a short beard. Simon is wearing a black coat and a grey t-shirt. Simon is smiling at us.


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!' (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:

This is a photo of Robyn Olivia. Robyn has long red hair which is tied behind her ears. Her fringe is curled and parted in the middle. Robyn is wearing a grey t-shirt and is looking at us.


Access Consultant


Robyn is a theatre maker, puppeteer and community arts facilitator. Having trained in European Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College, she specialises in devised ensemble-based children’s and sensory theatre. Inclusivity, playfulness and community engagement is central to all aspects of her work. She facilitates and performs regularly with Create, Angel Shed and The Flying Seagulls.


This is a photo of Bar Huberman. Bar has long black hair and is wearing a t-shirt. The photo is in black and white. Bar is smiling at us.


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

This is a photo of Samson Ajewole. Samson has short black hair and is wearing a t-shirt with a striped collar. The photo is in black and white. Samson is smiling at us.


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!  

This is a photo of Dave Hearn. Dave has short brown hair with a long fringe. Dave is wearing a light blue shirt and is looking at us.




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.

This is a photo of Andy Keogan. Andy has a smooth head and is wearing a black suit jacket, a white shirt and a red tie. Andy is smiling at us.


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.

This is a photo of Emma Reeves. Emma has shoulder length yellow hair and is wearing a white frilled blouse. Emma is smiling at us.



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). 

This is a photo of Charlotte Cornish. Charlotte has yellow hair cut just below her ears. She is wearing a white turtle neck t-shirt. The photo is in black and white. Charlotte is looking off to the right and is smiling




Charlotte is a researcher and business consultant – she supports social purpose organisations to understand their impact and plan their strategy. 

Over a career of 35+ years, Charlotte has lived experience of leading businesses and charities as MD, COO and Chair – experience which helps shape her advice.

She is thrilled to become a trustee of Embracing Arts and looks forward to helping them meet their goals. 

This is a photo of David Hull-Watters. Dave has a smooth head and a brown moustache and goatee. Dave is wearing a white long sleeve shirt and a tartan waistcoat and tie. Dave is smiling at us.


Trustee & Safeguarding Deputy

An Inclusion and Wellbeing specialist, David is a former Special Educational Needs and Trauma-Informed educator, who champions the right of every individual to achieve their fullest potential, both personally and professionally. He has won and been shortlisted for several awards within the sector, including a Vodafone World of Difference Award, a National Diversity Award 2014, and Corporate Vision’s Most Dedicated Inclusivity Trainer (2023, UK).


David has previously worked with Embracing Arts and Sonia Friedman Productions to deliver sector-specific training on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Unconscious Bias and Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace, Neurodiversity and Disability Awareness. 


He was originally a performer, and is currently vocalist for psychedelic folk-rock band, SoulBird.

"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

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