The Royal Exchange Theatre Board

Ben CaldwellBen Caldwell, Chair, joined his family hardware business after reading history at Cambridge. He spent the next twenty-five years evolving the business into the outsourcing company IESA. He was Vice-Chair of Business Link Cheshire and Warrington Collegiate, and Chair of the Warrington Chamber of Commerce and Warrington Youth Club. He is a founder investor in the Homeless World Cup and a member of Ashoka, an organisation that supports social entrepreneurs.


Jean Oglesby

Jean Oglesby is an eminent arts philanthropist. She was awarded a CBE in 2016 for services to philanthropy and the Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy in 2013. As administrator of the Oglesby Charitable Trust Jean was instrumental in its development into one of the most active grant giving charities in the region, awarding over £2m each year. Jean sits on a Grants Making Panel for the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester and her family business Bruntwood is a major sponsor of arts and medical science.


Sally Penni

Sally Penni is a prominent Barrister at Law, diversity champion and community advocate. She is Vice Chair, Association of Women Barristers UK, and Counsel to International Criminal Courts, The Hague.





Jennifer Raffle

Jennifer Raffle was a chartered accountant with KPMG. Moving to GEC plc. she was responsible for business review and trouble-shooting. She returned to KPMG as a technology analyst before leaving to join the Manchester Technology Fund, the in house venture capital fund for the University of Manchester as an investment manager. Jennifer now has her own financial consulting business.



Aziz RashidAziz Rashid is Head of BBC North West in charge of BBC TV, Radio and Digital services for the North West of England. He has held senior editorial roles in BBC World News, BBC Breakfast and Network TV News. Aziz is also Head of Diversity for BBC English Regions.





Geoffrey Shindler

Geoffrey Shindler OBE is a Trust Consultant at Old Trafford Consulting Ltd, specialising in wills, trusts, capital taxation and estate work. He has held trustee positions with a number of organisations including Manchester Camerata, Manchester Portico Library Charitable Trust and Lancashire County Cricket Club. He is the Consulting Editor of Trusts & Estates Law & Tax Journal and a member of the Editorial Board of Wills & Trusts Law Reports.



Martyn Torevell

Martyn Torevell is a founding director of Dewhurst Torevell which provides active independent financial advice to high net worth individuals. Through his company Martyn has developed a significant portfolio of arts philanthropy in Manchester.

Screenshot 2019 07 22 at 123144 Nicole May 

Nicole May is Executive Producer at Young Identity. Young Identity is an arts organisation and a charity delivers dynamic poetry and spoken word workshops for young people aged 13–30 working with educational institutions, communities and arts organisations locally, nationally and internationally.

Nicole describes herself as a Millennial – Producer, dramaturg, director and Writer  

On behalf of the British Council, she taught a writing residency in Colombo and performed at Galle Literature Festival (2019). Currently, her work is being studied by students as part of a National Poetry Competition across Germany as an initiative with `British council and Haus für Poesie. She was one of twelve poets commissioned from BBC and Forward Arts Foundation to write the North West Poem for National Poetry Day 2018. Her performing credits include FIND (Schaubühne, 2018 & 2019) One Mic Stand; Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Urban word (New York), Brave New Voices (Washington, Chicago). Nicole has performed and taught spoken word and performance both nationally and internationally, as part of Young Identity and as a solo performer and practitioner.  As part of Young Identity Nicole has worked and performed with writers such as Amiri Baraka, Saul Williams and Roger Robinson. Nicole received a fellowship and established AndWhat TV. AndWhat TV is an online spoken word channel.

Nicole was the Dramaturg for Alphabus Manchester International Festival (2019).

Nicole is Associate Producer and Dramaturg at the theatre company Fio; highlights include: The Island by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona; The  Orchard of Lost Souls R&D and Resonate (an artist residency exchange between Mumbai and Cardiff) culminating in a show at the Green Man Festival. She also was the Writer and Dramaturg for Timelines performed at RawFFest (2019). 

Nicole is a member of the UpRisingGM Advisory Board. Nicole is a graduate from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts with a BA (hons) Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management.

Davina Shah graduated with a degree in Psychology and a post graduate diploma in Work and Organisational Psychology from the University of Nottingham. Her passion to follow a career in the arts began there, where she was Production Co-ordinator of the student theatre. As a Manchester girl born and bred, however, the first professional opportunity to learn her craft came closer to home at the Royal Exchange Theatre where she spent a year as Trainee Producer/General Manager on an ITC training programme.

Davina subsequently spent the next few years working her way through successive roles in Theatre Administration, Planning & Producing departments for Hampstead Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. During this time, Davina also worked as a freelance producer on occasion, for companies which include: Digital Theatre, DryWrite, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Nabokov, Paines Plough, Theatre Royal Stratford East & Shakespeare’s Globe. Working independently, Davina was the originating producer of Katori Hall's Olivier award winning play, THE MOUNTAINTOP.

She has been a reader for the Bruntwood Prize and previously sat on the Board of Directors of the Independent Theatre Council. Davina has been an agent at Macnaughton Lord Representation since 2011, representing writers and creatives, predominantly in Theatre, but also covering Dance, Opera, Film, Television and Commercial work.