Who’s Who

The Bear Pit Theatre Board

Our Board is chaired by Waseem Mahmood OBE and is made up of 7 directors, chosen for their skills and experience. They work closely with our dedicated volunteers and Associate Artists in leading and steering the company.

President of The Bear Pit

Actor and writer Paul Greenwood is our President. For more information about Paul, please click here

Paul was born in Stockton-on-Tees and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has played many leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company including: Feste in Twelfth Night; Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors; Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Mowbray in Richard II; Kent in King Lear; Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz with Imelda Staunton; Goodlack in The Fair Maid of the with Sean Bean and Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale with Jeremy Irons;
Paul’s work in the West End includes, Jerry in the RSC’s Once in a Lifetime opposite Zoë Wanamaker and Theo in Piaf opposite Jane Lapotaire (Piccadilly Theatre) and Maples in John Osborne’s production of Inadmissible Evidence (Royal Court); For the RSC at the Barbican Theatre, credits include: Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol and Tom in The Time of Your Life.

Paul starred as Grandpa Potts in the national tour of the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Other regional theatre productions include: Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (UK Tour); the title role in Peer Gynt (Cheltenham Everyman); Dorn in The Seagull (Compass Theatre, UK Tour); Maurice in Peter Skellern’s two-hander musical You Can Always Hand Them Back (Mercury Theatre, Colchester); and, for Stoke’s New Vic Theatre, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.
Film work includes: Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, Alan Bennett’s A Day Out directed by Stephen Frears and the Hammer Horror Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter. On television Paul played the title role in the comedy series Rosie, for which he wrote and sang the title song. Other TV appearances include: Superintendent Yelland in Spender, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole; Our Friends in the North; Casualty; Holby City; Lewis; Heartbeat; Coronation Street; The Bill; Pie in the Sky; Father Brown; Midsomer Murders; Crossroads; Z Cars; and Doctors.

As a writer, Paul’s plays include Dancing in the Dark which was performed at Stratford’s Other Place as part of the 2000 RSC Fringe Festival. It also had a run at the Gate Theatre in London. Paul’s thriller Playing Dead was given a rehearsed reading at the Bear Pit. His play Head and Heart was highly commended in the 2020 King Lear Prize and was performed at The Bear Pit Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, directed by Paul, in January 2024.

Patron of The Bear Pit

Actress Kim Hartman is our Patron. For more information about Kim, please click here

KIm Hartman

Kim Hartman

Our Board of Trustees and Company Directors:

Waseem Mahmood OBE, Chair

Waseem Mahmood OBE is an award-winning producer and strategic communications expert who brings invaluable insights and support to The Bear Pit Theatre as a patron. Mahmood’s journey began at the BBC, where he became one of the youngest credited producers on television. He later established TV Asia, Europe’s first satellite channel for ethnic minorities. As a producer, Mahmood has created compelling content across various genres, from directing programs in the BBC’s Asian Unit to overseeing television production in numerous countries. His work in Afghanistan, launching Good Morning Afghanistan (GMA), the nation’s first independent radio station after the fall of the Taliban, earned him an OBE in 2005 for services to the reconstruction of media in post-war countries. Mahmood’s expertise, combined with his love for theatre, makes him an invaluable asset to The Bear Pit. His guidance and support inspire the theatre to push boundaries, tackle important issues, and create productions that resonate with audiences while aligning with The Bear Pit’s mission to create inclusive and thought-provoking theatre.

Simon Allen

Simon Allen, born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, was introduced to theatre at an early age by his father, an English teacher. Despite the initial challenges of understanding Shakespeare’s language, Allen was captivated by the dynamics of productions. He expanded his interest to include cinema during his teenage years. With a background in commercial property, Allen was approached by the founders of The Bear Pit to help establish a theatre for local actors and production companies. He played a crucial role in finding and setting up the current Bear Pit Theatre. In 2011, Allen became the Chairman of The Bear Pit, a position he held for 12 years, guiding the theatre’s establishment and development. Currently, Allen serves as a guide to the theatre’s management and leads the flourishing Bear Pit Community Cinema, which fulfils a local need and provides projection equipment for theatre productions.

Dr Andrew Fincham

Dr Andrew Fincham brings to the Bear Pit almost two decades of experience in Trusteeship, gained through helping organisations pursue a wide range of charitable objectives. These include: The Religious Society of Friends; The Scout Association; The Tramway Revived Cycle-path (Stratford upon Avon); and the Quaker Tapestry Museum (at Kendal, Cumbria).

Professionally, Andrew has spent over thirty years as a senior advisor in major management consultancies, delivering risk-led, technology-enabled change to major clients across Europe. He is currently a senior leader at the University of Bath (UK), where he holds the position of Chief Information Security Officer.

Early on, the inevitable necessities of professional life overwhelmed the demands of the Arts, but in 1998, after co-founding the Union of Foreign Writers in Warsaw (Poland), he found himself back on stage as a poet. A ten-year project as Poetry Editor for New Europe Writers (collating contemporary poetry and short prose across Central Europe) created anthologies published for Warsaw, Krakow, Ljubljana, Bucharest, and Budapest between the years 2002-2010, and led to more than a decade of performances as a writer and translator.  A much anthologised poet, his collection ‘Centre of Gravity’ (IBiS, 2004) received the Poezja dzisiaj/UNESCO World Poetry Day Award.

As an independent historian, he holds a doctorate from the Department of Theology and Religion, at University of Birmingham, UK, where he regularly delivers seminars as an Associate Tutor at Woodbrooke College.  He was recently elected to a Fellowship at the Royal Historical Society.

Fiona Robson

Fiona Robson has been involved in theatre since her school days and fully immersed herself in the art form when she joined the Phoenix Players in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1992. She quickly became a committee member and served as chair for a couple of years in the late 1990s. Robson has been actively involved with the group for over 30 years, serving as chair of the committee for 12 years. During her tenure, she helped the group overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring they remained connected to their audiences through online performances and being one of the first groups in Stratford to return to live performances in July 2021. Robson has been instrumental in encouraging the development of new talent across the performance spectrum, from writing to acting to directing. Professionally, she has been running her own Leadership and Development Consultancy, Up Front Training and Coaching, since 2005. As a trustee of The Bear Pit Theatre, Robson brings the perspective of a small, local hirer and ensures that the theatre stays true to its original mission of Artists Working Together.

David Derrington

David Derrington, one of the founding fathers of the Bear Pit Theatre, first became involved in theatre in 1960 when he joined the stage crew at his boarding school. After graduating from Aston University, he joined an amateur operatic company in Solihull, where he performed in and directed over 75 productions across the Midlands over the next 25 years.

Since moving to Stratford in 1990, David has directed several Savoy operas for the Stratford Gilbert and Sullivan Society, including seven shows at the RSC Swan Theatre. He has also appeared in numerous plays with local theatre companies, such as Second Thoughts Drama, Caramba Theatre, and Phoenix Players.

David’s involvement with the Bear Pit began in 2010 when he assisted with fundraising events. As one of the founding members, he became treasurer in 2012 and played a key role in the company’s formation and obtaining charitable status. David has also appeared in various Bear Pit productions, including “A Christmas Carol” (Scrooge), “Dad’s Army” (Pte Godfrey), “The Vicar of Dibley” (Jim Trott), “Confusions” (Various roles), “Deckchairs” (Posh Man), “The Cripple of Inishmaan” (The Doctor), and more recently, “Humble Boy” (George Pye).

As a founding father of the Bear Pit and a Freeman of the City of London, David brings a wealth of theatrical experience and a deep commitment to the arts.

Roger Ganner

Roger Ganner, a true Stratfordian, discovered his passion for acting relatively late in life. He began his theatrical journey in 1996, performing lead roles in musical theatre in Salisbury while serving as a Gunnery Instructor in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. After leaving HM Forces in 2002, Roger returned to his hometown and continued to showcase his talent in lead roles with the Stratford Amateur Operatic Society (SAOS), performing at prestigious venues such as The Royal Shakespeare Theatre and The Other Place.

Over the past two decades, Roger has collaborated with numerous local theatre companies, demonstrating his versatility and dedication to the craft. Offstage, he has also made significant contributions by serving on the committees of various theatre companies since 1996, holding positions such as membership secretary and treasurer.

Drawing upon his extensive experience managing multi-million-pound projects, Roger has been a Bear Pit Trustee and company director since 2017. Recently, he has taken semi-retirement to focus on his role as the caretaker Bear Pit Theatre General Manager, where he aims to transform the theatre into a vibrant community theatrical arts hub that not only produces quality productions but also supports other local community theatrical arts groups and projects.

Dominic Skinner

Honorary Directors

Anne Bowen

Kevin Hand

Adrian McCarthy

Phil Gray

Associate Artists

Abi Sloan

Adrian McCarthy

Anne Bowen

Belinda Derrington

Brian Darnley

Cait Fannin-Peel

Carol Roache

Charlotte Froud

Christine Taylor

Claire Johnson

Colin Lewis Edwards

Dan Jones

David Derrington

David Draper

David Mears

David Southerd

David Stevens

Dominic Skinner

Elspeth Dales

Gareth Bernard

Gill Butler

Graham Robson

Graham Tyrer

Hefin Robinson

Howard Scott

Ioana Trocin

James Wolstenholm

Jen Franey

Jose Alberto Perez Diez

Karen Rowley

Keith Lane

Lesley Simms

Lily Skinner

Lindsey Allwork

Margaret Lowe

Margot McCleary

Mark Spriggs

Martin Cosgrif (In Memoriam)

Martin Egglestone

Natalie Danks-Smith

Nicky Cox

Niki Baldwin

Noel Dolimore

Pamela Hickson

Paul Tomlinson

Peter Ward

Philip Hickson

Ralph Davis

Richard Ball

Roger Ganner

Ruth Linnett

Sheila Bligh

Shirley Allwork

Steph Surrey

Steve Farr

Tim Johnson

Tony Homer

Vanessa Comer

Viv Tomlinson

Bear Pit Associate

Audrey Spencer

Chris Jackson

Ginny Oliver

Pauline Jackson

The Bear Pit Theatre Limited is a not-for-profit company and a registered charity no: 1156259.