Thomas Lynch (Chair) has extensive experience as a non-executive board member and chair in the arts, higher education and commercial sectors. He served on the board of the Royal Opera House from 2001-2010, and is a governor of the Royal Ballet Companies. He has been a trustee of Queen's University Belfast Foundation from 2000 to the present, and its Chair since 2004. In addition to his charity interests, Tom is non-executive Chairman of Icon plc, a global clinical research organisation, and is on the board of GW Pharmaceuticals, a UK pharmaceutical company. He is a qualified chartered accountant and former partner at KPMG. Tom is knowledgeable and passionate about dance, having discovered contemporary dance at The Place in the 1980s.
Jane Alexander (Vice Chair) has over 20 years’ experience as a corporate finance lawyer with Norton Rose and 3i Group plc. She joined The Royal College of Art, the world’s leading postgraduate art and design university, in 2011 as Pro-Rector (Operations) and was responsible for strategic planning, finance and estates, governance and risk management. At the RCA she was Chair of the Equality & Diversity Committee and a member of the Advisory Board of InnovationRCA, the student business incubator. Jane is currently an Independent Member of Council of The Royal Veterinary College and a member of its Finance & General Purposes Committee. She was a trustee of The National Association of Youth Theatres, the sector development agency for youth theatre in England. She has a law degree from Brasenose College Oxford and more recently obtained an MA Culture, Policy & Management from City University, London.
Robert Cohan CBE is a key figure in the development of British dance. American by birth, he was a celebrated dancer with and later Director of the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York. He was invited by Robin Howard to become the Founder Artistic Director of The Place in 1967. Over the next twenty years he pioneered the teaching and performance of contemporary dance in this country, establishing London Contemporary Dance School and London Contemporary Dance Theatre, the company which he led until its closure in 1994. A generation of British dance artists has grown up under his tutelage, and celebrations of his 90th birthday in 2015 sparked a recent revival of interest in his choreography.
Janet Eager MBE joined the board of governors in 1997 following 33 years working for the Contemporary Dance Trust / The Place. She was the Administrator of the original contemporary dance classes set up by the Robin Howard Trust in 1964/65, and of the Contemporary Dance Trust studios and performing group 1966-68 at Berners Place. She became a founder member of The Place in 1969 and was Executive Director of London Contemporary Dance Theatre until 1994, and then Executive Director of Richard Alston Dance Company from 1994-97. In 1991 she formed the Robin Howard Foundation to support young dancers and choreographers. In 1986 she was awarded the MBE for services to dance. Since retirement she has trainied as a complementary health practitioner working as a volunteer with cancer patients. She has sat on the boards of numerous dance companies and organisations, including CandoCo, Academy of Indian Dancing, International Course for Choreographers and Composers, Lisa Ullman Travelling Foundation and currently a Trustee of Dancers’ Career Development.
David Nightingale is Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kent. He is responsible for the overall academic provision of the University, particularly in learning and teaching, student recruitment and in the University’s engagements with schools and colleges in Kent and Medway. His academic background is in Classics, ancient Greek and Roman history, which he continues to teach at the University. He is the Chair of Governors at Brompton Academy and also a Governor of Mid Kent College.
Dawn Paine is Chief Marketing Officer for Creative England, a unique company which invests in the business of creativity through finding and catalysing creative talent and businesses. Prior to this, Dawn was Vice President Marketing for Universal Pictures International Entertainment where she was responsible for marketing and content strategy. During a transformational 10 year chapter, Dawn was Marketing Director and Deputy GM for Nintendo UK and oversaw the ground breaking launch of the Wii and DS, establishing Wii as the fastest selling console in the UK and the DS the biggest ever selling console! Dawn passions are strategy in all its’ guises, creating high performing teams and crafting marketing that rips up the rule book. She is an active member of WACL and the Marketing Society and lives in Windsor with her funny husband Ian, gorgeous son Milo and loveable dog Grover. When not working, she is a mover and shaker in the literal sense, loving all forms of dance.
Chris Rowland studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and completed his PhD at Kingston University. He subsequently qualified as a Chartered Accountant and is currently a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He has lived and worked in New York, as well as London, and has worked with a wide range of companies across a number of industries from startups to HM Treasury. His principal focus is now on major financial services institutions and his current clients include two major UK PLCs. As well as being an audit partner he has extensive experience advising companies on corporate transactions, control frameworks, risk management, governance and regulatory issues. Despite an absence of any personal ability or talent he has been an enthusiastic consumer and supporter of the arts, particularly music, theatre and dance, for very many years.
John G Stewart is Director of Legal Services at the University of London, a degree-awarding federation of 18 leading higher education institutions. He is responsible for all legal services at the University. He was previously general counsel at the Wellcome Trust, the world’s largest biomedical research charity. He was a member of the board of governors, and chair of the Audit Committee, of The Place from July 2005 to December 2014. He re-joined The Place in July 2017 as a governor and chair of the Audit Committee.
Catherine Ward has extensive experience in HR, communications and change management. She is currently the Group HR Director for Interserve Plc, developing and delivering HR strategy worldwide across this FTSE 250 company. Prior to joining Interserve she was at BMI Healthcare, where she was Group People and Communications Director, and before that held senior HR roles at BAA, the BBC and Sotheby’s. She has worked in HR and change consultancy with KPMG and SHL Group. Her HR experience includes succession planning, executive appointments, remuneration, leadership development, organisation development and employee engagement. Catherine holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Organisational Behaviour, both from the University of London, and postgraduate qualifications in HR and coaching. She has a deep interest in dance, and has been involved most of her life, studying ballet, jazz and latterly training in ballroom to advanced standard.
Sharon Watson trained at London Contemporary Dance School. She danced with Spiral and Extemporary Dance Theatre before joining Phoenix Dance Theatre as a dancer from 1989 to 1997 and later as Rehearsal Director from 2000 to 2006. She has choreographed four pieces for Phoenix as well as creating new works for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, National Youth Dance Company, Union Dance and the opening ceremony of the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Her own company ABCD was formed in 1998 and has toured both nationally and internationally. She was appointed as the seventh Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre in May 2009 and in 2010 was named as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s Women to Watch, a list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK.
PHOTO: From left to right: Thomas Lynch, Jane Alexander, Robert Cohan, Janet Eager, David Nightingale, Dawn Paine, Chris Rowland, John G Stewart, Catherine Ward, Sharon Watson