Adrian Harris

Board Member

Adrian has spent over forty years working in and running cultural organisations. He held the post of Chief Executive of The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh for fourteen years presenting, promoting and producing live concerts and gigs across all styles of music. From 1995 – 2002 he was Director of the Nuffield Theatre at Lancaster University and, as well as teaching in the Theatre Studies department, was asked by the university to take on responsibility for integrating the management structure and programming of the university’s three public arts facilities, the Nuffield, the concert series and the gallery.

Adrian first came to Edinburgh in 1985 to take up the post of Director of Theatre Workshop, a position he held for ten years. He takes a quiet amount of satisfaction from the number of people working professionally in the cultural sector today across the UK who passed through Theatre Workshop’s doors as children and young people. Adrian retired from The Queen’s Hall at the end of 2016 and has since taken on a number of governance roles with key cultural organisations.

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Ben Fletcher-Watson

Board Member

Dr Ben Fletcher-Watson manages the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. He holds a PhD in Drama from the University of St Andrews, and has studied at Emory University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His research interests include theatre for Early Years, relaxed performance and neurodiverse arts, and digital technologies in performance. He is also an ASSITEJ Next Generation artist.

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Gemma Statham

Board Member

Gemma is an experienced lawyer with a broad range of experience across a number of sectors. Currently she works in the legal team at RBS and is primarily responsible for providing legal advice to the bank in relation to its strategic projects. Prior to this, Gemma worked at a large law firm as a corporate and commercial solicitor for a number of years. She has experience in the charitable sector as a trustee having sat on the Board of YWCA Scotland (The Young Women’s Movement) for six years. As part of her role at YWCA Scotland, Gemma served as vice chair of the Board. Gemma has a degree in English Literature and History from Durham University and a law degree from the University of Edinburgh. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and young son.

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Mary Glasgow

Board Member

Mary grew up in Edinburgh where she studied Social Work at Moray House. After graduating she started her career working with families in the south of Glasgow. Over the next 10 years Mary spent time working in and managing child protection and family support teams in Pollok, Drumchapel and Paisley. In 2000 she left Local Authority social work to join a third sector organization and developed a multi disciplinary community family support centre in Easterhouse where she was also responsible for a small nursery for babies from birth to 3 years. It was during this period that Mary’s understanding and interest in the early years really grew. Alongside enjoying observing the babies and children every day she led the work to support their parents to become more able to meet their children’s needs. Often combining emotional and practical support with involvement in creative arts to build confidence and explore the impact of trauma.

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Mhairi Taylor

Board Member

Mhairi is Equality and Diversity Manager for the University of Glasgow and leads its work to comply with equalities legislation and develop as an exemplar of good practice within the higher education sector. Her key achievements include securing Athena SWAN accreditation for promoting female academic progression in STEMM (science-based) subject areas. Prior to taking on this role, Mhairi led a pan-European action research project, based in Glasgow, to examine barriers to female career progression across the academic sector.

Mhairi graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2001 with a BA (Hons) in English and Communication Studies. She has also managed projects addressing widening participation in higher education, and youth volunteering.

She lives in Glasgow and is a mum to two boys, aged 3 and under, and is a passionate supporter of the performing arts.

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Susannah Jeffries

Board Member

Susannah spent 15 years working in arts management and administration. She started out at Goldsmiths College in London studying for an MA in Theatre Education. Her first job was with the writers theatre company Paines Plough managing tours and creating programmes of education work. After the birth of her first child she moved to Scotland and went on to work at Benchtours Theatre Company, the Federation of Scottish Theatre, Cumbernauld Theatre. After the birth of her second child she went back to work at Great Leap Forward as Associate General Manager on large scale, national and international touring, providing management services for seasons of The Secret Garden, The King and I and Some Like It Hip Hop.

In 2013 Susannah gave up the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd to retrain at Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. She completed her PGDE in Primary Education in 2014 now works as a Class Teacher in Dunfermline, Fife.

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Vel Gnanendran

Board Member

Vel has spent nearly 20 years as a civil servant working on international policy. He is currently the Director of Finance and Delivery at the Department for International Development. He has also worked at the Foreign Office, Cabinet Office and Treasury including various roles overseas, most recently in Tanzania. Vel has extensive experience of strategic finance, grant making and programme delivery. 

Vel has degrees in Economics and International Relations. He is also a Chartered Global Mangement Accountant. He lives in Glasgow, with his wife and two young sons, and is passionate about early childhood development.

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