Luke Johnson (Chair)
Luke has been Chairman of theatre charity Stage One since 2010. He is co-owner of Assembly Festival, one of the largest venue complexes on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is chairman of Fiery Dragons, a backer of commercial theatre, in partnership with producer Edward Snape. He is also a non-executive director of AKA, the leading marketing services provider to the theatre industry. For six years until 2010 he served as Chairman of Channel 4 Television and is a former Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts and governor of The University of the Arts London. He is Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, a private equity firm he co-founded in 2001, the Institute of Cancer Research and Gaucho Restaurants. He is Chairman and part owner of Patisserie Holdings PLC, Gail’s bakeries, Neilson Active Holidays and The Brighton Pier Group plc and is also a director of Brompton Bicycles. He writes a weekly essay in The Sunday Times and until 2015 wrote a weekly column in The Financial Times. He has lived in London for over 30 years.
John Armah has 20 years experience as an Executive, Adviser and Entrepreneur across Europe, North America and Asia. He is a specialist in sustainable business strategies and programmes that engage and acquire audiences and develop new revenue streams by digital means. He is currently Chief Client Officer at Konekt Group, the digital strategy, transformation and marketing firm. Prior to that, he served as launch COO of the Arts, Culture and Performance streaming service, Marquee TV. As an entrepreneur he has been a director of an award-winning social content firm and Europe's first facebook marketing technology group devising world-first innovations. He has advised Channel 4 and is a former executive at the Financial Times (FT.com) and NBC Universal. He also sits on the Board of Trustees of arts charity, The Big Draw.
Kamini is a Postgraduate in Physics and holds an MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad (IIMA). She had a 40-year career as an independent brand strategy consultant, and as Vice President at WPP. Having worked extensively in India, China and Turkey, she co-authored an award-winning book on marketing strategies in Emerging Markets. "The 86% Solution" published by Wharton Press in 2006 received the American Marketing Association award. Kamini is on the Advisory Boards of an Indian VC firm, a creative production company in Bangalore and a business magazine in Mumbai. She chaired the London Alumni Chapter, a UK registered charity of the IIMA till 2017. She has been a member of the Development Board of the National Theatre in the UK. Kamini leads the Banga Family Office investments in VCs and start-ups. As Chair of "The Kamini and Vindi Banga Family Trust", a philanthropic initiative, supports organisations in the UK focused on cancer research, education, arts and thought leadership. Her book of poems, I Promise to Be a Good Girl, God has been published by Penguin, India. Invited several times to read her poems, she has been commended in the National Poetry Competition and the Pighog Pamphlet in the UK.
Jonathan Church CBE*
Jonathan was Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre from 2006-2016.
Previous posts include: Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company (2016), Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre (2001-2006), Associate Director of Hampstead Theatre (1999-2001). Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse (1995-1999), Associate Director of Derby Playhouse (1994-1995) and Assistant Director of Nottingham Playhouse (1992-1993).
Jonathan is currently the Artistic Director of the Bath Theatre Royal Summer Season and the director of Jonathan Church Productions -a company formed in 2015 in association with Delfont Mackintosh Theatres to produce high quality theatre in the West End, on tour and internationally.
Manisha Ferdinand has worked in arts, culture and entertainment PR for over a decade, currently as Head of PR for Amazon Entertainment UK. Prior to this, she was head of PR for Sky Arts, Sky Movies and Sky 3D.
Sian has had a varied career in international finance, global public policy discourse and communications and is currently a Senior Advisor for Oxford Investment Consultants. From 2013 to 2016, Sian was Executive Director of the Legatum Institute, a global public policy think tank dedicated to promoting prosperity. Previously she spent seven years as Managing Director of the think tank Policy Exchange, an educational charity promoting research and discourse on public policy in the UK. Sian is currently a Non-executive Director of JP Morgan Multi-Asset Trust PLC and a Non-executive Director of Pacific Asset Trust. In addition she is on the Advisory Board of Onward (a UK think tank), Cerno Capital, DPI Mining USA and EBF International (Shanghai) Ltd. Formerly, Sian was Director and Co-Head of Sales for Asian Equities at Societe Generale and before this was an equity analyst with Enskilda Securities.
Dorothy was a partner in city law firm Travers Smith, where she was Head of Employment Law, a department she set up in 1992. Since retiring from private practice in 2010, Dorothy works as a part-time Judge in the Employment and also the Immigration & Asylum Tribunals, both based in Central London. She is an Honorary Associate of her old college, Newnham, Cambridge, was on the College’s Fundraising Board and was Chair of Governors at St Alban’s High School for Girls from 2013-2017, where she remains on the Governing Body. In 2013, she obtained an MA in Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance from Birkbeck College. Dorothy also works with Rare Recruitment, a specialist graduate diversity recruiter, assisting candidates from BAME groups and disadvantaged backgrounds with job applications for law firms in the City. Dorothy was appointed a Trustee of the Almeida in September 2018. Her hobbies include (unsurprisingly) the theatre and also learning the piano.
Sarisha Kumar is a creative producer and facilitator. As Talent and Development Manager at Poet in the City, Sarisha leads all youth programmes including Poet in the City Producers, a training programme designed to equip young people aged 16-25 with the skills needed to produce professional events and podcasts, using poetry as a platform for ideas. Sarisha works with cultural institutions including Wellcome Collection, National Gallery, British Museum, and St Paul's Cathedral to broker opportunities for emerging talent and connect arts and heritage with the ideas of young people, facilitating job creation and youth ownership over cultural spaces. In 2020, Sarisha set up the National Producers Taskforce, a network of cross-sector organisations addressing key issues surrounding producer talent development and career pathways. Outside of her role at Poet in the City, Sarisha was a member of the Almeida Theatre Youth Board 2018-2021 and is Associate Advisor at The RISE Collective.
Rachel’s career includes roles as Chief Operating Officer (Health) for King’s College London, COO for Save the Children UK and Vice President of Finance for GlaxoSmithKline in Switzerland, the US and the UK. Her focus is on strategy development, applying business practices to better deliver organisational goals and creating strong cross sector partnerships. Rachel is currently on the Board of King’s Global Health Partners and United Bible Societies. Previously she was a Board member of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, King’s Health Partners UK, Hillingdon Primary Care Trust, the West London Mission and a school governor for Montpelier Primary School. Rachel is a Chartered Accountant.
Tanya is a Bafta award winning film producer who straddles both the commercial mainstream and indie cinema. She was one of the producer’s of the first four films in the Harry Potter franchise and of Pawel Pawlikowski’s acclaimed My Summer of Love. She is also the former head of the Development and Film Funds at the British Film Institute (BFI) and the UK Film Council (UKFC), where she championed British films, investing in independent breakouts such as The King's Speech, The Iron Lady, The Woman In Black, alongside several Cannes/Venice competition/selection titles including Jane Campion's Bright Star, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Steve McQueen’s Shame, and Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin. More recently she has been working on the Netflix television series The Crown, as Executive Producer alongside Oscar nominated screenwriter Peter Morgan and director Stephen Daldry.
*Members of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee