Sarah King (2012) (Chair) Non-Executive Director
Sarah King is an independent director, serving on the boards of commercial and not-for-profit organisations as well as providing senior level counsel on corporate strategy and communications. As well as being Chair of Polka Theatre, Sarah serves on the Council of Royal Holloway, University of London and was until recently the Executive Chair of Hillgate Public Relations. She is also a mentor, working with young people in the charity and service sectors. Sarah’s background is in journalism and PR/communications, working for a wide range of clients, from government agencies and international corporates to media companies, not for profits and new start-ups. She has served on the boards of leading London agencies in a variety of senior roles, including as managing director. A lifelong theatre lover, Sarah first experienced the work of Polka’s founder, puppeteer Richard Gill, as a child aged 9, before becoming a Polka parent herself. Sarah lives in Wimbledon with her husband and the youngest of their three children.
Victoria Aspden (2021) Creative Learning Producer & Project Manager
Victoria is a Creative Learning Producer and Project Manager with over 17 years’ experience working in the arts and education sectors. Most recently at Eastside Educational Trust as Senior Producer where Victoria was responsible for working with Southwark Council in offering all primary school children in the borough the chance to visit the theatre for free, every year for three years. Prior to this Victoria worked at the Royal Opera House (ROH) for 6 years and was responsible for launching a new daytime events programme as part of the ROH’s capital redevelopment and managing its Insights programme, producing live and broadcast learning events. Before this Victoria worked for 6 years at Society of London Theatre in several audience engagement and partnership roles. Victoria is a qualified secondary school teacher and trained as an actor whilst living in Sydney. A passionate theatregoer, Victoria started visiting Polka with her mum as a child in 1984 and is delighted her 2 daughters are now following in that tradition.
Michael Bradley (2019) Head Teacher
Michael is head teacher at Merton Abbey Primary School in South Wimbledon. He trained to teach in East London, specialising in working in multicultural communities and in teaching children who speak English as an additional language. Most of his career has been spent in schools with high numbers of disadvantaged pupils. Michael wants all children – whatever their family background – to benefit from London’s artistic and creative opportunities. He and his partner are foster carers and live with a very naughty small dog.
Mairi Brewis (2012) Strategist
Mairi is Senior Director, Content and Strategic Projects at Hotels.com, an Expedia Group brand. Prior to joining Expedia, Mairi headed up Strategy for BBC Television and worked as a strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, consulting to a range of clients in media and other sectors. Mairi has been a Polka audience member since early childhood and now as a parent, and is delighted to be able to contribute as a Trustee. She has a keen interest in theatre, having previously produced four productions, and served as a Trustee for Metta Theatre Ltd.
Vivienne Creevey Mather (2012) Publisher
With a background in educational and children’s publishing, Vivienne worked with Penguin Books for many years, before heading up the HarperCollins children’s division. She co-founded VotesforSchools in 2016, the voting platform for children and young people which is loved and used in schools in the UK and beyond. She is an advocate of the positive effect great storytelling has on children’s development, and believes it’s the best way to build their confidence, voice and understanding of the world . She is delighted to serve on the board of Polka Theatre as Deputy Chair.
Nigel Halkes (2014) Non-Executive Director
Nigel is a Chartered Accountant, former resident of Wimbledon and a past Polka parent. In a 36- year career with Ernst & Young, he held a variety of senior roles in the firm, culminating in the role of Managing Partner UK & Ireland Markets. He retired from EY at the end of 2013 to develop a non-executive career spanning the public, private and charitable sectors. As well as the Polka Theatre, Nigel’s non-executive portfolio has included five public listed companies, the Visit England Advisory Board, the V&A Development Advisory Board, the EY Foundation and Rowdeford School, a special needs school in Devizes. Nigel is also Chairman of the Hugo Halkes Charitable Trust, a long-term supporter of the Polka Theatre. Nigel lives in Wiltshire and London. His interests include Arts, Theatre, Travel & Sport.
Alison Harpur (2020) Publishing
Alison has been involved with books all her working life, first in publishing and then as a Children’s Librarian, she now works for a specialist Children’s bookshop. Alison spent 25 years living and working around the world and returned to south London 8 years ago and was extremely happy to discover that Polka Theatre was still a thriving concern as she remembers many happy visits with her children in the 1990s. Alison is a keen theatregoer and a passionate believer that children need theatre.
Mic Lord (2022) Theatre Maker
Mic is a London born, Texas raised Theatre Maker, MC, recording artist, Teacher, Lecturer and Community Advocate. Since 1993 his Hip hop Freestyle Performance Company Ghetto Gramma has toured extensively across the nation devising theatre in marginalised communities. He’s directed over 100 plays and musicals with his most recent theatre work including Jaberwocky at New Wimbledon Studio and Evita at Epsom Playhouse. Mic is the former Head of Drama at Ursuline High School, Wimbledon. In 2007 he was the recipient of South London Press Hero Teacher Award. Since 2018 he has been the Head Coach at Five ASide Theatre CIC a community theatre training company. He’s also the founder and Artistic Director of The Peoples Writes a community theatre devising company. Mic is a Governor at Ursuline High School working on the Sub Committee on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. He’s a Trustee at Apples and Snakes Poetry and Sutton African Caribbean Cultural Organisation. Mic has chaired Polka’s Community Working Group since 2021.
Katy Manuel (2022) Arts Marketing Consultant
Katy is a freelance marketing consultant with over 25 years’ experience in the performing arts sector. She began her career in festivals before being awarded an Arts Council bursary in marketing, specialising in touring. Katy has worked with most large and medium sized theatres around the country, as well as a number of dance or theatre companies, both national and international. She has held positions in several major regional repertory theatres, been a consultant to a range of organisations devising audience development and communications strategies and delivered training courses around the country. She was most recently Head of Marketing at Dance Umbrella and works regularly delivering research and marketing plans. She lives in west London and has two sons who were regular Polka visitors when younger.
Fiona Mclaren (2021) Lawyer
Fiona is an experienced lawyer with over 25 years’ experience with FTSE 100 companies, combining this with roles as professional disciplinary panel member, chair of governors and charity trustee, reflecting her interest in education, open justice, and commitment to public service. Fiona worked as Director of Legal for Sky UK for 17 years, focusing primarily on employment issues, but latterly was responsible for the delivery of legal advice across a range of areas from news and ad sales to property and construction, all contributing to the broadcasting and creation of content. Her love of theatre began at a young age with visits from touring companies to her local theatre and she is delighted that visits to Polka created the same lifelong interest in her son.
Arif Saad (2021) Investment Strategist
Arif is a Senior Investment Strategist at Kempen responsible for designing, executing and managing multi-asset solutions for institutional clients. He began his career as an investment consultant at Mercer, and then spent 8 years at Legal & General Investment Management. Arif has always enjoyed varied experiences having grown up in Wiltshire and Qatar in the Middle East. He has a passion for driving diversity and inclusion and equality of opportunity, particularly for the next generation. He has two young children who love spending time at Polka.
Emily Vaughan-Barratt (2019) Theatre Producer
Emily is a theatre producer who runs theatre production company Wessex Grove alongside Ben Lowy, which they set up together in 2020, recent productions include Constellations (Vaudeville Theatre) and The New Tomorrow (co-production with The Young Vic). Prior to this, Emily was a Producer for Ambassador Theatre Group for 8 years, producing shows for the West End and for Broadway. Recent productions include; Cyrano de Bergerac and The Seagull (Playhouse Theatre), Pretty Woman(Piccadilly Theatre), Betrayal (Harold Pinter Theatre and Bernard B.Jacobs Theatre), and The Pinter at the Pinter Season (Harold Pinter Theatre). She has also worked at Fiery Angel, Chichester Festival Theatre and The Print Room. Emily grew up in Wimbledon, where her parents still live and spent a lot of time with her mum at Polka all through her childhood, which is clearly where the beginning of her love and commitment to theatre started.
Kellie Williams-Jauvel (2021) Solicitor
Kellie is a solicitor of over 20 years’ experience in trusts and probate dispute resolution. She has represented and advised Charites, corporations, and individuals on the legal duties of trustees and personal representatives, and in relation to claims within the sector. Kellie is currently a partner at Morrisons Solicitors LLP, having previously trained and worked at a firm based in The City. Kellie has built a significant network in the business community in and around the South West London and Surrey area. Originally from Manchester, but living locally to Polka Theatre, she has a young son, and both have been enjoying theatre at Polka for many years. A keen and long-time supporter, Kellie is passionate about the work Polka undertakes and the enjoyment that theatre brings to children. Kellie is extremely pleased to be able to serve Polka and its users in this position.