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Our team

The staff structure is organised into teams with specific responsibilities:

Audiences and Facilities MORE LESS

The Audiences and Facilities team is responsible for all visitors to the building, whether audiences, visiting companies, or contractors. They also take care of the fabric of the building.

Communications MORE LESS

Our Communications people are often the first point of contact for someone coming to us for the first time – they generate all the print and advertising, press releases, and they look after this website. The Communications team also looks after the box office, and vital fundraising.

Stage and Performances MORE LESS

The Stage and Performances team are behind every single performance at the Queen’s Theatre, and provide sound, lighting, props, costumes, and flying.


Finance takes care of banking, budgeting, cashflow, accounts and planning

Learning and Participation MORE LESS

Our Learning and Participation team organises the massive suite of outreach work done by the Queen’s Theatre, from Baby Sensory events for the very youngest and our brilliant Youth Theatre company to our huge, incredibly popular community musicals.

Production Workshops MORE LESS

The Production Workshops team create all our wonderful scenery. They’re also available for outside projects from time to time.

Administration MORE LESS

Administration looks after programming, scheduling, internal communications and office support. They make sure the Executive team are in the right place at the right time.

The Queen’s Theatre is run by a charity, the Havering Theatre Trust Ltd.




The Board meets five times a year and delegates the day-to-day running of the Queen’s Theatre to the Executive Director, Mathew Russell.

The Executive Team work closely together. The Artistic Director sets the overall artistic vision for the company, selecting shows to produce, and their directors and casts; the Executive Director makes sure that the Trust has resources (financial and otherwise), to realise this programme

The Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees who are recruited according to the skills and networks required by the Trust. Of course this changes from time to time.

Trustees usually serve for a maximum of two three-year terms.

After a period of extraordinary growth and achievement, and despite current COVID-19 related challenges, ‎Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch (London Theatre of the Year 2020) has a very exciting vision for the next chapter.

The Board

Sara Thompson (Interim Chair) MORE LESS

Sara grew up in Havering. She works as a legal adviser and senior official in the civil service. She is also a local amateur theatre maker, acting, writing and producing for several groups in Havering and Essex.

David Shearing (Interim Deputy Chair) MORE LESS

David is an award-winning artist who creates immersive multimedia performances and events. He is founder of design studio Variable Matter specialising in transformational co-creation projects.  He has a PhD in ‘Audience Immersion and the Experience of Scenography’ (University of Leeds) and is Lecturer in Performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He is a committee member for the Society of British Theatre Designers.

Julie Parker (Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee) MORE LESS

Julie joined the board as a Trustee in 2017. She is currently a non-executive director at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust. Julie has a background in local government having been a Director of Resources and Finance at the London Boroughs of Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Barking & Dagenham. Julie lives in Essex and has had a lifelong passion for theatre and the performing arts.

Sonja Lahiff (Chair of the Fundraising Board) MORE LESS

Sonja is an experienced fundraiser, having worked in the arts and culture sector for 10 years, and is passionate about securing transformational funding for innovative organisations. She has been at English Heritage since 2015 and in that time has raised significant donations for projects around the country. Before that she worked across marketing and fundraising at Polka Theatre. From a young age, theatre was a passion – visiting local and regional theatres regularly, where the Queen’s Theatre was always a favourite destination, as well as taking on voluntary roles at the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford for many years. Now residing in Hornchurch, in her spare time Sonja is a keen performer with local amateur dramatics groups.

Andrea Cunningham MORE LESS

Andrea is Assistant Regional Director at Metal in Southend. Metal is an arts organisation which supports and encourages artists across disciplines from all walks of life.  She is a trained art historian with a background in learning and interpretation in museums and galleries including as Head of Learning & Skills at V&A Museum of Childhood and Head of Informal Learning & Access at the National Maritime Museum.  Andrea’s practice is characterised by audience-centred, socially engaged and participatory approaches to creativity. Originally from East London she now lives and works in Southend and values the importance of people and place in the creative landscape.

Dominic Hedges MORE LESS

Dominic is a theatremaker from East Ham, with over ten years’ experience creating work with children and young people.  His focus is on combining excellence and accessibility in the arts and the boundaries of what youth can say on stage.  He has worked with theatres and schools across the country, including Polka and Angel Shed.  He was a member of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme and is a PhD candidate at the University of Kent.

Dr Neha Issar-Brown MORE LESS

Neha has over 15 years of experience across the medical research, strategy, governance and policy sectors. A Havering resident, Neha has lived and worked in four countries across two continents and sees creative and performing arts as foundations of a healthy society. Director at one of UK’s biggest medical research charities, Neha’s voluntary work reflects her broader commitment to diversity, including being an RCOG women’s voices panel member, a STEM ambassador and a school Governor.

Amanda Smethurst MORE LESS

Amanda is an independent consultant, coach and facilitator with a particular interest in organisational development, change, and strategic planning within the arts and cultural sector. Originally trained in Fine Art, throughout her career she has held several senior leadership roles within local government, Arts Council England and arts organisations in Yorkshire and London. Amanda is a Clore Fellow, and has also held a number of non-executive board appointments, including the Chair of Up Projects, and the London Arts and Health Forum.

Tim Walford Fitzgerald MORE LESS

Tim is a partner with the Chartered Accountancy firm HW Fisher, where he specialises in Private Client taxation, trusts and probate. He lives in Hornchurch and has been a Trustee since 2017.

Cllr Paul McGeary MORE LESS

Paul is a ward councillor for the Gooshays Ward of Harold Hill and is currently Head of Estates at North East London NHS Foundation Trust. Paul was first elected as a Councillor for the London Borough of Havering in 2010, serving a 4 year term to 2014 in the Heaton Ward of Harold Hill, and was re-elected in 2018. He is also Vice Chair of Governors at the Learning Federation covering Broadford and Mead Primary Schools and a former Governor at both The Campion School and St Ursula’s Primary School. He is a keen theatre goer and has seen many productions at QTH.

Cllr Christine Smith MORE LESS

Christine was born and grew up in Hornchurch.  At the age of sixteen Christine started work as secretary to the editor of a monthly magazine located in Covent Garden. She entered the family Hornchurch based retail florist business in 1973 through until 2014, relinquishing the reigns to retire. In retirement Christine took advantage of training to become a care worker in the local community for Carers Trust Havering from 2015 – 2018.  Christine was elected as a Councillor for the London Borough of Havering in 2018.  She is currently Chair of the Individuals Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee and Member Champion for the Over 50’s.

Cllr Melvin Wallace MORE LESS

Melvin Wallace left school at the age of 16 and took up employment with Messrs Cazenove & Co, the City Stockbrokers. He worked in most departments of the company until he became Chief Cashier and subsequently became Partnership Secretary and Company Secretary to various companies attached to the Partnership for the last 6 years of his employment. Melvin retired from Cazenove in 2002 after 41 years employment. In 2006 Melvin was elected as a Councillor for the London Borough of Havering.


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