Letter from patron Heidi Thomas

The emotional power of theatre never fails to move me.  It is an art form entirely about interaction – actor with actor, actor with text, actor with the audience.  It is about trust, collaboration, and the development of bonds.  Yet it also allows each individual to shine, with every performer adding something precious to the mix – be it humour, vocal power, physical grace, or the simple ability to make the watcher weep.

The work Blue Apple exemplifies and celebrates all that is most valuable in drama.  It brings people together, and lets them reach out.  It inspires and it stimulates, it speaks, and it is heard.

The achievements of these talented, passionate young people deserve to be seen and celebrated.  I am therefore thrilled to be supporting this exciting performance at the Globe.  However Blue Apple also deserves to flourish and grow, so that more actors – and a wider audience – can be enriched by the experience it offers.

I do hope you will join me in supporting this wonderful company as they expand, embrace new challenges, and move forward into the future.

With love
Heidi Thomas

Heidi Thomas is one of the UK’s foremost dramatists.  Her award-winning theatre work has been produced internationally, and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway.  Heidi’s television credits are extensive and distinguished.  She created, writes and executive produces the hit TV series Call the Midwife (Neal Street Productions) for the BBC.  The show frequently features stories centred on issues of diversity, disability and inclusivity, and is currently the most watched drama on British television.

Trustees & Directors of Blue Apple Theatre

Jane Jessop - Founder 

Blue Apple was founded 10 years ago by Jane Jessop to provide opportunities for those with learning difficulties to participate in theatre and dance to develop social ability, behavioural and performance skills of individuals with a wide range of learning disabilities, with no ceiling on our expectations of them. Over the last 10 years Jane has led the company, and now as Founder continues to champion those with learning disabilities, and challenge society's preconceptions.

Alan Lovell DL - Patron

Alan Lovell had a career in business, much of it as a restructuring specialist; he also held senior roles in renewable energy and insurance. He is now Chair of the Consumer Council for Water.

In Hampshire, he is Chairman of the Blue Lamp Trust and the Hampshire Cultural Trust, both of which he founded, and of the Mary Rose. He is a Governor of the University of Winchester and a Trustee and Member of Council of Winchester Cathedral. He was High Sheriff of Hampshire in 2010/11 and was appointed DL in 2012.

Georgiana Robertson - Chair

Georgiana Robertson has just left Hampshire County Council after 25 years where she worked for Adult Social Services in many capacities, most recently in developing four new Extra Care Housing schemes, and before that as an operational manager in services for people with a learning disability.

She grew up in the world of professional theatre as her parents were world- class puppeteers, performing alongside the big names of stage and screen. She has two daughters, both in education in Winchester (at time of writing). She is delighted to be a trustee of Blue Apple Theatre and is looking forward to playing a part in its continuing success.

Nick Goulding - Trustee

A graduate of King's College, London and a Chartered Accountant and Tax Adviser with KPMG until retirement, Nick acts as honorary Treasurer or Trustee for a number of non profit organisations and charities including Lord Wandsworth College, St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, King's College London Association, Chartered Institute of Taxation, Tax Advisers Charitable Trust, Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, and Winchester St Lawrence with St Swithun upon Kingsgate PCC. He is a member of the Honorary Treasurers Forum and this year is Master of the Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers, a City Livery Company. He has lived in Winchester for twenty four years and is keen to assist local charities with financial guidance and expertise.

Stephen Hanvey - Trustee

Currently Manager of the Witness Service at Winchester Crown Court, Stephen has a professional background in social work. He worked initially in social services, and then with various family support organizations, including Barnardos and managed a cancer charity supporting those affected.

Stephen has facilitated self-help groups for survivors of sexual abuse, and co-authored A Community-Based, Approach to the Reduction of Sexual Reoffending; Circles of Support and Accountability, published in August 2011 by Jessica Kingsley. Stephen has lived in Winchester with his wife and two children for the past sixteen years.

Susan Morris - Trustee

Susan studied at Durham University, graduating in 1980 with a first class degree in English and in 1985 with a doctorate. After working in the publishing industry, Susan joined Debrett Ancestry Research Ltd, which she now runs.

In the 1990s she co-founded Alresford Community Theatre Society in which she wrote, produced and performed for several years before moving to Winchester. Her younger son Lawrie has been a keen member of Blue Apple since 2009 and as a volunteer Susan has helped provide music for some of the recent productions.

Rebecca Sheppard - Trustee

Following her degree in Drama and Politics at Exeter University, Rebecca began her career in the Third Sector after a brief spell working in financial PR and CSR for a global risk management firm.

With over 14 years of experience in fundraising, marketing and communications, Rebecca has worked for large national charities such as the NSPCC and Addaction as well as grassroots organisations in the international development arena.

In 2009 under the auspices of VSO (Voluntary Services Oversees) Rebecca secured a placement as a Fundraising Consultant with a HIV NGO in Kenya, living and working within the local community. On completion of her placement, she went on to provide consultancy to the United Nation’s Millennium Village Project in Tabora, Tanzania.

Having been a committed volunteer to both Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Chicken Shed Theatre Company in the past, Rebecca is thrilled to be combining her professional expertise with her passion for the arts as a Blue Apple Trustee.

Married to David, they have one daughter Bethan and live in Winchester.

Duncan Rutter - Trustee

Duncan has been a solicitor specialising in serious injury claims since 1988.  For 20 years until 2017 he was a partner with international law firm, DAC Beachcroft, during which time he had various roles including Managing Partner of the Winchester office, Managing Director of DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd and head of the claims litigation division of the firm.  Duncan is a past President of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers and in that role represented insurance litigators at a national level including liaising with the Ministry of Justice and Association of British Insurers.  Duncan is married to Jane and was Mayor's Escort when his wife served as Winchester's 817th Mayor.  They have three grown up children.  Duncan now works part-time as a consultant with DAC Beachcroft and is delighted to be able to spend some of his spare time working with Blue Apple Theatre.