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Board of Trustees

Sadler’s Wells Trust Ltd

Sadler’s Wells Trust Limited is a registered charity. It runs Sadler’s Wells, making sure everything we do stays true to our Mission, Visions and Values.


Nigel Higgins

Nigel is Chairman of Barclays plc. Prior to that, he was Chairman of the Group Executive Committee and Managing Partner of Rothschild & Co since 2010, having previously been Co-Head of Rothschild Global Advisory, which he ran since the early 2000s. He had joined Rothschild upon his graduation from Oxford University in 1982.

Nigel is also a non-executive director of Tetra Laval Group, a major global group focused on technologies for the efficient production, packaging and distribution of food. He is also a member of the Trilateral Commission, a non-governmental, non-partisan discussion group founded in 1973 to foster closer cooperation originally among North America, Western Europe and Japan.
He is a Board member of Garsington Opera and was a member of the Advisory Board for the Commercial Directorate of the UK’s National Health Service from 2002 to 2007. He has been a governor of two schools and has long been a supporter of education initiatives in the arts.

A headshot of Sadler's Wells Trust Chair Nigel Higgins
Nigel Higgins © Cameron Slater


Maria Albonico

Maria is a Partner in McKinsey’s London Office, where she works on commercial strategies and organisational transformations with leading clients in the financial institution and Private Equity arena. She also leads research and work to better understand and serve the SMEs segment – something she is deeply cares about. Before joining McKinsey in 2006, Maria was a consumer goods analyst at a leading investment bank. She holds an MBA from London Business School and a MSc in Arts Management from Bocconi University. Outside work, Maria enjoys traveling to Italy, her home country, performing arts and above all spending time with her husband and their three young kids.


Humphrey Battcock (Deputy Co-Chair)

Humphrey Battcock worked in private equity for 30 years, latterly as head of Europe and member of the executive committee of Advent International, one of the world’s largest private equity groups. He has served on 25 company boards during that time and currently serves on the board of Cambridge Innovation Capital and as a Panel Member at the Competition and Market Authority

Humphrey has a physics degree from Cambridge University, an MBA from London Business School, an MSc from the London School of Economics and is a qualified accountant He is a trustee of Teach First, the Centre for Homelessness Impact and the Institute for Research in Schools, and is on the Cambridge University Philanthropic Advisory Board.


Nicholas Basden

Nick co-founded and owns Flat Brew Limited, the maker of award-winning coffee spreads. Prior to founding Flat Brew, Nick launched a number of entrepreneurial ventures in the retail and restaurant sectors, having previously worked in sales at JP Morgan; retail strategy at Monitor Company; and, business development at Starbucks Coffee International earlier in his career. Nick has worked with leading theatre and cultural institutions in the UK on issues related to strategic positioning and audience development, with a particular focus on engaging minority audiences. He serves as a trustee at Kiln Theatre and is an occasional investor in West End theatrical productions. Nick is also actively engaged in the education sector where he serves as a trustee for Westside School and Alternative Provision Challenge Trust, both organisations dedicated to meeting the educational needs of excluded students. Nick is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.


Melissa Bethell

Melissa is the Managing Partner of Atairos Europe, an investment fund backed by Comcast NBC Universal. Melissa was previously at Bain Capital, the global private equity firm, for over 18 years, where she performed various roles, latterly as a Senior Advisor, and previously including Managing Director, Private Equity. She was also a member of the Bain Capital senior leadership team responsible for strategy setting, fundraising and portfolio management. Before joining Bain Capital, Melissa worked as an analyst in the Fixed Income Capital Markets group at Goldman Sachs. Melissa is currently a non-executive director of Tesco plc (TSCO.L), Diageo (DGE.L) and of Exor (EXO.MI), a listed holding company for the Agnelli family. She is married with four children and resides in London.


Clare Connor

Clare Connor is currently Chief Executive of The Place and London Contemporary Dance School where she is the Accountable Officer to the Office for Students, Department for Education and Arts Council England.

Her leadership career in the performing arts and education sectors spans over 20 years and includes Director of Business Development at the Southbank Centre where she was responsible for large scale capital fundraising and international partnerships and Director of Stratford Circus Arts Centre where she co-founded the national network, Future Arts Centres.

A former professional dancer, Clare champions young people and is committed to strong leadership, mentoring and talent development. She is Chair of Creative Estuary Commissioning Group, trustee of Dance Umbrella and represents the small and specialist Higher Education sector on the Climate Action Steering Group with GuildHE and Universities UK.

Nick Grace

Nick Grace is the Managing Director / Founder of NGM, one of the world’s leading producers of international theatre productions. In the last 25 years NGM has presented shows in 60 countries and regions worldwide. NGM is an established producer, general manager and booking agent, combining all three strands under one roof and successfully managing some of the biggest and best-known touring productions over this period.

Suhair Khan

Suhair is a technology entrepreneur and creative leader. She is the founder of open-ended design, a platform and incubator for impact-driven work at the intersection of design, culture and future-facing technology.

In over a decade at Google and Google Arts & Culture, Suhair led global initiatives which merged cutting edge technology with arts, design and culture, and environmental sustainability.

She is chair of the board of trustees of dance choreographer, Studio Wayne McGregor, and is on the board of trustees / advisory committees to the Design Museum, British Library, London Design Biennale and the UK’s Museum of the Year Prize.

A graduate of Cornell and Harvard University, she is a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design.


Brenda Leff

After a career as a professional jazz and tap dancer, Brenda went to law school. She practiced law for a number of years before devoting herself to work on behalf of performing arts organisations, including dance companies.

Brenda has served on a number of dance boards including Alonzo King LINES Ballet. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of San Francisco Ballet where she is Co-Chair of the Development Committee. She is also an investor in theatrical productions in both the West End and United States. Brenda and her husband live in San Francisco, California.


Paul Mulholland

Paul Mulholland is a solicitor specialising in shipping, international trade and energy. He has been Senior Legal Counsel at the Vitol Group since 2006, prior to which he worked as Legal Counsel at BP.

Paul is chairman of the UK board of the dzi Foundation, a development charity working in rural Nepal, and has also been on the UK board of the Lewa Game Conservancy since 2014.

Prior to studying law, Paul obtained a BA (Hons.) in English and European Literature from Warwick University. He lives between London and Dorset.


Nina Patel

Nina Patel is a retail technology executive currently serving as the Director of Innovation at Farfetch, where she leads a Product & Technology team focused on incubating new products and revenue opportunities for Farfetch. Nina has experience across startups, retail and consultancy with previous roles at Accenture, The Net-a-Porter Group, Harvey Nichols, and eporta (acquired by Shopify).

Nina holds a Bachelors in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from London Business School. Nina also serves as Trustee for Women for Women International, and is an advisor, mentor and angel investor exclusively for female founded businesses.


Yana Peel

Yana Peel is the Global Head of Arts & Culture at Chanel, committed to nurturing the conditions in which creativity can thrive by supporting artists and the exchange of cultural knowledge. She is also a board member of the Fondation Chanel, dedicated to the advancement of women and girls across the world.

Previously, Peel served as CEO of The Serpentine Galleries in London and co-created Outset Contemporary Art Fund to pioneer new philanthropic initiatives supporting the arts. While living in Hong Kong (2009-2015), she established Intelligence Squared Asia as a global forum for live debate and was its CEO.

Peel is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, Fellow of the Institute of British Architects, and an author of childrens’ books to benefit the NSPCC. In addition, she is a member of the international councils of TATE, the Metropolitan Museum and American Ballet Theater.

She was born in St. Petersburg, attended McGill University and completed her postgraduate degree in Economics at LSE before starting her career at Goldman Sachs.


Melanie Smith (Deputy Co-Chair)

Melanie is the CEO of the NEC Group – the UK’s leading live events business.
Prior to that, she was the CEO of Ocado Retail, the Director of Strategy and Bank at M&S, COO at TalkTalk and as Bupa’s Global Strategy and Marketing Director. She was also a partner in McKinsey & Co’s consumer practice in London, serving clients across the globe. Melanie studied law and finance at Auckland University and has an MBA from Kellogg. She is fortunate to be a British, French and New Zealand citizen. Originally from New Zealand, she is Maori from the Ngapuhi tribe. She made London her home 20 years ago, when she moved here with her French husband. She has no plans to ever leave, although she maintains close links to NZ through the active Maori performing arts community in the UK.


Matthew Slotover

Matthew Slotover co-founded the art magazine Frieze in 1991 and launched Frieze Art Fair in London in 2003. This was followed in 2012 by Frieze New York and Frieze Masters, Frieze Los Angeles in 2018 and Frieze Seoul in 2022. In 2021 he opened Toklas, a Mediterranean restaurant in London, and in 2022, he launched Fort Road Hotel in Margate.

Matthew is currently chair of Turner Contemporary, Margate, and a board member of the Arts Foundation and the Walpole Group. He is a founding member of the Gallery Climate Coalition, and a founding board member of Murmur, an environmental charity dedicated to using the Arts to combat climate change.


Trustee Placements

Arran Green

Arran Green, originally from North London, England, is a multi-disciplinary freelance artist working as a performer, rehearsal director and dance educator. With an early background in Capoeira, then breaking and engagement in the larger culture of HipHop he created a personal movement style and understanding of the importance of connecting to a community. In 2014, Arran joined the National Youth Dance Company and, under the direction of Akram Khan, discovered the empowering nature of large-scale production, story-telling through movement and the potential of dance-based education. Through further study at London Contemporary Dance School he deepened his skills and has since worked diversely as a performer across a number of genres including touring nationally with Robby Graham’s Southpaw Dance Company, internationally in the lead role in Tony Adigun’s Fagin’s Twist, community-based mass movement productions by Public Acts hosted at the National Theatre, and as Rehearsal Director at the launch of London Borough of Culture 2020, all while remaining at the highest level of competitive breaking in the UK scene.

Most recently Green has become associated with RUBBERBAND DANCE, based in Montreal Canada, and under the mentorship of Victor Quijada and his Rubber-Band Method, is dedicated to maximising his knowledge of the physical and mental structure of the breaking vocabulary in order to represent it at the highest level within modern contemporary dance education. Green now sits as co-Chair of the NYDC Young Person’s Board, has become a university standard lecturer in ground based technique at The Place and Rambert but above all, remains sworn to representing the pedagogy and intellect of the cultures that have lead him to these opportunities.


Bar Groisman
Bar is a Choreographer and Movement Director based in Cambridge, UK. She first trained at DanceEast Centre for Advanced training and the National Youth Dance Company, before graduating from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2019 with first-class honours degree. During this time she worked as a performer with many established artists and organisations including Protein Dance, Michael Keegan-Dolan (Teac Damsa), Joss Arnott, Sharon Watson, Tim Casson (Casson & Friends) and Ruby Portus at the Sadler’s Wells Young Associate Programme.

Bar founded Sababa Co. in 2019 – a contemporary dance theatre company creating physical and theatrical dance works that push the boundaries between movement, text, music, and set. Through her work, she endeavours to share personal insights into everyday human struggles, creating a platform to tackle undervalued and under highlighted issues.

Bar’s choreographic work includes: ‘Aize Balagan’ performed at the Resolution Festival at The Place, ‘Coiled Up’ funded R&D by Arts Council England and ‘Chameleon Life’ for the Sommarlund Arts Festival in Lund, Sweden.

She has Movement Directed for Award Winning Edinburgh Fringe show ‘This Is Not A Show About Hong Kong’ and OFFIE nominated show ‘In This Smoking Chaos’.

Bar is an Associate Artist with award-winning company GymJam Theatre and sits as a co-chair of the NYDC’s Young Person’s Board.


Kade Stroude
Kade works at Rothschild & Co covering M&A across the Consumer, Retail and Leisure sectors. He graduated with a BSc Economics degree from LSE where he was active in the performing arts as a dancer for both LSE Dance Club and LSE Afro Caribbean Society, performing on stages across London, including at the Peacock Theatre. He held the leadership position of in his specialism of Hip Hop, leading all administrative aspects of financing, training and dance productions, and continues to dance as a passion recreationally.

Kade also serves on the board of Alexander Whitley Dance Company and as a non-executive advisor to The John Whitgift Foundation.


Honorary Members

Sandi Ulrich

Sadler’s Wells Foundation

Sadler’s Wells Foundation, also a charity, looks after our buildings and estate.

Honorary Vice President

Ian Albery

Ian followed in his ancestors’ footsteps when he became chief executive and producer at Sadler’s Wells. His great, great, grandfather, Charles Moore was co-manager of Sadler’s Wells in 1872. His grandfather, Sir Bronson Albery first served Lilian Baylis in 1936 on her Old Vic and Sadler’s Wells Board and he continued for over 25 years. His father, Sir Donald Albrey was the general manager of Sadler’s Wells Ballet during the Second World War. Ian’s tenure as Chief Executive and Producer for Sadler’s Wells was from 1994 to 2002. He first focussed the Wells as a theatre dedicated to dance. Ian, an experienced Theatre Consultant, with the help of an excellent team, then built the new Sadler’s Wells Theatre. As Nica Burns (Chief Executive of Nimax Theatres) says: “Ian is the only theatre designer who has also run a theatre group and been a producer, so he as an unique understanding of both artistic requirements, production needs and audience facilities”. He acquired a lease of the Peacock Theatre in the West End to introduce new audiences to dance and achieved an eighteen-fold increase in the annual revenue funding for the Wells. Ian’s Sadler’s Wells legacy is the Dance Theatre for London, the Peacock Theatre and the revenue funding to ensure their viability.



Rab Bennetts

Rab Bennetts founded the award-winning architectural practice Bennetts Associates with his wife Denise. With offices in London, Edinburgh and Manchester, the firm has twice been voted UK Architectural Practice of the Year and its portfolio ranges from developments in the City of London to Wessex Water Operations Centre in Bath, Brighton’s Jubilee Library, hotels in UK and Amsterdam and the Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh. Performing arts projects include the transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, Hampstead Theatre, Storyhouse in Chester, Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre and the Woolwich Works complex in south-east London. Bennetts Associates became employee owned in 2016.

Rab was a founder of the UK Green Building Council and was a trustee of the Design Council for many years. He was awarded the OBE for services to architecture in 2003 and is an academician elect at the Royal Scottish Academy. He first joined the Trustee Board of Sadler’s Wells in 2006.


Deputy Chair

Nigel Higgins



Kathryn Firth

With over 25 years experience Kathryn has led masterplanning and urban regeneration projects in the US, Europe, the Middle East and the UK for both the private and public sector. They include projects in sensitive heritage contexts, regeneration projects on former industrial sites and developments in complex inner city environments. They range in scale from streetscape interventions to the creation of entirely new settlements on several thousand hectares.
Kathryn has ongoing involvement in highly topical research projects that inform both the practice of urban design and associated policy. These include a study of the spatial and social dynamics of streets in smaller cities and towns, an exploration into the New London Vernacular and the effect of urban density on neighbourhood perception. She is a member of the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group, the New London Sounding Board and Committee Member of The London Society. She is also the Vice Chair of the Old Oak Park Royal Review Group and a member of the Silvertown Tunnel Design Advisory Group. Originally from Toronto, Canada, where she attained her Bachelor of Architecture and subsequently practiced, Kathryn went on to do a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD).

Kathryn has taught at several universities in Canada and the US, including the GSD, Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Toronto. More recently she ran the MSc City Design and Social Science in the London School of Economic Cities Programme for 6 years and was a visiting lecturer at the Housing & Urbanism unit at the Architecture Association. She is currently an External Examiner and MAUD supervisor at Liverpool John Moores University and Cambridge University.


Robert Glick OBE

Robert Glick has held various senior positions in corporate communications and public health – in New York, Paris, New Delhi and London.
He currently serves as Vice President of International Government Affairs & Corporate Communications at American Express.

Prior to joining American Express in 2000, Robert held various roles at the United Nations Development Programme, including Director of the Asia Regional Programme on HIV/AIDS, was Assistant Vice President for Corporate Affairs at L’Oréal, and Senior Financial Analyst at Arthur Andersen & Company.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics and Emory University (USA), he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Victoria & Albert Museum and Chair of the museum’s Corporate Advisory Board, and Chair of Save the Children’s Global Malnutrition Initiative. He served previously as Chair of the Terrence Higgins Trust. His seminal book, Law, Ethics & HIV, was published by the UNDP Press, and he has written two novels (Closer East and The Darkening Sky). A citizen of both the U.K. and the U.S., he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen for services to charity.

A lifelong enthusiast of dance, he first attended Sadler’s Wells – a thrilling performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company – as a student in the mid-1980s, and has been an avid fan of the theatre ever since.


Andy Lerpiniere

Andrew leads the Building Services Engineering department at Webb Yates Engineers. Having previously worked at Arup for 20 years, most recently as its Art and Culture Lead, he has built up an impressive portfolio of projects. He led the team that developed passive environmental control for galleries, first implemented at the V&A Medieval and Renaissance galleries and now an industry benchmark. Andy has a passion for multi-disciplinary and low-energy design, and a track record of delivering sustainable and innovative solutions.


Roger Spence

Roger Spence has worked in the performing arts in a career spanning more than fifty-years, initially in technical management he was also a lighting designer in the early part of his career lighting more than two hundred drama, opera and dance productions across the UK. Between the mid-‘70’s and mid-90’s he was General Manager of The Scottish Ballet and then an Executive Director of the TyneWear Theatre Company, Newcastle upon Tyne and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, Edinburgh.

Throughout this period he was involved in or responsible for a number of new theatre builds and major conversions or refurbishments of these companies’ existing spaces. These works culminated in 1992 with a series of major works and improvements to the stage house, foyers and office and rehearsal accommodation of the Royal Lyceum Theatre.

Roger is and has been a member of a number of advisory councils, arts boards and committees amongst them the ABTT, Scottish Arts Council, TMA (now UKT) and was President of the TMA from 1992 – 1995.

In 1995 his previous experience on arts building projects led to his appointment as Project Director for the rebuilding of Sadler’s Wells Theatre which reopened in October 1998. Since then he has been a Project Director or Principal Advisor on a large number of major capital projects – most notably the Wales Millennium Centre (2000 – 2005), Northern Ballet/Phoenix Dance – Dance House Leeds (2005 – 2010), the National Concert Hall Dublin (2007 – 2010) and the refurbishment of the Birmingham Royal Ballet studios (2012 – 2015) as well as many smaller projects. Recently, projects include a three-year upgrade and refurbishment of Sadler’s Wells Theatre and currently the rebuilding of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin.


Paul Williams

Paul is a chartered surveyor who joined the Derwent Group in 1987.
Paul Williams is the CEO and has overall responsibility for leadership of the Group and its overall strategy.

Paul has been with Derwent since its inception and has been part of the core team to develop Derwent’s distinctive brand of buildings.

Paul’s previous responsibility was for leasing, management and lettings and delivery of Derwent London’s projects including Burberry’s headquarters in Victoria, Expedia’s headquarters in Angel Building and the delivery of Brunel Building, Paddington, 80 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia and Soho Place, London W1.
Paul is Director in charge of Sustainability, Health & Safety and also sits on the Responsible Business Committee and the Risk Committee.

In addition to his position at Derwent, Paul has the following responsibilities:

  • Director of Sadler’s Wells Foundation. Paul is assisting the Foundation in its new theatre in Stratford.
  • Member of British Council for Offices.
  • Vice Chairman of the Westminster Property Association.
  • Taking a lead role in Derwent’s support for Teenage Cancer Trust. For over 16 years helping the only UK charity dedicated to 13-24s establish 28 special cancer units across the UK.


Jennifer Beningfield

Jennifer Beningfield is an architect and the founding principal of London-based Openstudio Architects. The work of the practice reflects Jennifer’s interest in collaboration, research and landscape, as well as sustainable design strategies, materials and technologies. Openstudio has won two open RIBA housing competitions, most recently for the zero-carbon Homes of 2030, and was shortlisted for the Centenary Square open RIBA competition. The studio has been shortlisted for the NLA Awards, the WAN House of the Year award and exhibited an installation at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Jennifer was educated in South Africa, the US and the UK – and holds a BArch from the University of the Witwatersrand, a MArch from Princeton University and a PhD in architecture and landscape from The Bartlett, UCL. She has been a visiting critic, lecturer and external examiner at universities in South Africa, the USA and the UK. The Frightened Land, her book on the layered meaning of place, buildings and landscapes in 20th century South Africa, was published by Routledge in 2006.


Trustee Placements

Melissa Jones

Melissa Jones is an associate at international law firm Clifford Chance and works in the firm’s pre-eminent Real Estate practice. She joined the firm in 2014 and specialises in commercial real estate transactions, including investment, development and lettings, and has a broad client base both across the UK and internationally.

Melissa holds an LLB Law and French from the University of Bristol. She spent a year studying at Université de Bordeaux and speaks fluent French. Whilst studying in Bordeaux, Melissa was a member of the University’s drama society.
Melissa has been a long-standing patron of the performing arts: she ballet danced from a young age, is both a flautist and pianist and has a passion for opera, theatre and the Birmingham Royal Ballet. She participated in the BBC Young Shakespeare Festival for several years, and is currently a team leader at the Bethnal Green legal advice centre which provides members of the public with free legal advice.


Ivan Yuen

Ivan Yuen is an associate at international law firm Clifford Chance. He joined the firm in 2016 and specialises in advising developers, investors, landlords and tenants on all aspects of real estate. Ivan has also advised Sadler’s Wells on its property matters.

Ivan graduated with a BA History degree (minoring in Spanish) from Durham University, where he was recognised with the Gilbert Larewood Prize for Contribution to the Arts. He holds a GDL from the University of Law.

Ivan has a passion for championing diversity and inclusion. His volunteer work includes challenging the UK government’s refusal to issue non-gendered passports, providing legal support for organisations such as Refugee Action, FreeLaw and TeachFirst, and advising pro bono clients on various property-related matters. Ivan was seconded to the Howard League for Penal Reform in 2018, where he provided legal advice to children and young adults in custody, conducted research and drafted policy papers, challenged illegal restraint and solitary confinement cases and went on prison visits.

Ivan has an ATCL Diploma in Piano Performance, paints for pleasure, and is an enthusiastic theatre-goer. He is also a trustee of St Martin-in-the-Fields.


Honorary Members

Valerie Colgan

Sara Hyde


Honorary Clerk

Ian Painter


Clerk to the Foundation

Alistair Spalding