Ultimately responsible for the running of The Dukes as a business is the board of directors. These are individuals who contribute specialist expertise on a voluntary basis.

John Chell (Chair)

Originally from a mining village in South Derbyshire, John has lived practically all his life in the North West since leaving university in London.  After a few very happy and poorly paid years as a writer and performer, John became a youth arts worker and Director of the Citadel Arts Centre in St Helens before joining the Arts Council in Merseyside as Assistant Director for Development.

After leaving the Arts Council his career was in social enterprise, working in cultural planning and community finance with some of the most deprived communities in the UK.  John moved to Lancaster in 2014.  He has three grown-up children and lives just outside Lancaster in Quernmore.  His abiding interest has been in drama, poetry and storytelling, and how the arts give people the power to shape their lives.

Dr Alan Hatton-Yeo MBE (Treasurer)

Alan Hatton-Yeo photo

Alan started working for Scope (then The Spastics Society) in 1980 eventually becoming Principal Education Advisor, responsible for the management of the education service for England and Wales.

Freelance consultancy included project managing the reorganisation of the British Red Cross to become a single national charity, before joining the Beth Johnson Foundation in 1998, and relaunching it as a leading UK organisation addressing positive ageing and influencing policy.  Alan has specialised in leading the development of innovative, evidence-based approaches to our ageing society to influence policy particularly in developing positive approaches to ageing across the life course.  Since retiring as CEO of the Beth Johnson Foundation in 2014 he has worked as the lead consultant for his own company Communities for All Ages UK, where roles have included being the national expert lead on Age-Friendly Communities for the Ageing-Well in Wales programme and Strategic Development Manager for Volunteering Matters Wales.

Alan has written widely on intergenerational practice and positive ageing, is the founder of the Centre for Intergenerational Practice, Chair of the International Consortium for Intergenerational Programmes, founder of the European Map of Intergenerational Learning network, Associate Editor of the Journal for Intergenerational Relationships and a member of the Editorial panel for Working with Older People. He is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Forum on Ageing in Wales.

In a Voluntary capacity Alan is Chair of Generations Working Together Scotland, a Trustee of North Lancashire Citizen’s Advice Bureau as well as The Dukes, and mentors a number of emerging professionals.

Jane Booker

Jane has been on the board since July 2017

Her background is in the legal profession and she practiced as a solicitor for 27years, running her own business up until 2015.

Jane has been a supporter of the Dukes for many years and so when an opportunity arose to become part of the development and growth of the board she didn’t hesitate to apply.

Jane has had a keen interest in arts since a child. Growing up in Kent the highlight of the year would be a trip to London to see a West End show, though  the local panto in the nearest town hall was also a must see.

Whilst she loves all type of theatre  from musicals to solo theatre, and from both professionals and amateurs she is particularly keen to help promote and develop emerging artists and to ensure that the arts are affordable to all.

Maya Dibley

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Maya has a background in publishing management and digital product development, and currently advises technology SMEs on commercial growth at technology hub The Landing, in MediaCityUK, while also studying part-time on the Lancaster MBA.

Maya has been a Director and Trustee of The Dukes since February 2016 and has also just started her second 3-year term on the national board of Girlguiding, the largest organisation in the UK supporting girls and young women. She is also a Non-Executive Director of a small technology start-up, HE Inventions, and sits on the Industry Advisory Board for Lancaster University’s school of computer science, advising on curriculum development to suit industry.

Maya first spent time at The Dukes as a second year student at Lancaster University when she worked part-time tearing tickets. On graduating, Maya became Marketing Assistant at The Dukes for a year and a half in her first professional role, before leaving to pursue a Masters degree and later a career in London.

Maya returned to the North West in 2015 and now lives near Clitheroe. She is passionate about growing the economy and opportunities in the North West, and is honoured to support The Dukes to be part of this growth.

Julie Gardner

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Independent Board Member since 2013.

Julie has over 20 years’ experience in HR, at board level, gained in manufacturing in the private sector and 10 years’ experience delivering HR support and Business Development in various not for profit organisations across the North West.

She is proud to be a Lancastrian and visited The Dukes regularly whilst growing up in Lancaster. After leaving home to attend university and then pursuing her career across the North and Midlands, she is delighted to have recently moved back to Cumbria.

She is passionate about theatre and the arts and especially supportive of the work The Dukes Creative Learning Department delivers.

She is also a Trustee Board member of a Housing Association based across Cumbria and North Lancashire.

In her free time she enjoys walking, visiting the theatre, watching modern dance and has recently joined a group learning Taiko Drumming.

She hope’s that her professional experience coupled with her support of The Dukes aims and objectives will enable her to continue to make a positive contribution to the theatre’s future ambitions.

Carolyn Reynolds

With over thirty years in the broadcasting industry, Bafta award-winner Carolyn has vast experience in commercial media.

Initially working on all aspects of television production, Carolyn was responsible for ITV’s flagship dramas including Coronation Street.  This included balancing commercial and budgetary pressures alongside talent management.

Carolyn has developed and sold projects to all the main UK broadcasters, especially the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV.  She was part of the founding team at the London-based company All3Media, making a successful bid for Mersey Television and growing the portfolio.  Renaming the company Lime Pictures, Carolyn as CEO was responsible for change management whilst growing what became a strong portfolio.  She also oversaw expansion overseas, working with American and European broadcasters.

Carolyn is now concentrating on media consultancy work and recently founded the Tony Warren Bursary with ITV to help fund disadvantaged northern students studying in London.  She was on the Board at the Science & Media Museum until recently and she regularly chairs sessions for the Royal Television Society.

Neil Townsend

Neil Townsend 2017 pic

Neil, who has a business, community development and human resource background, is the Chief Executive of CancerCare, a unique long standing local charity based in Lancaster. He is leading CancerCare through a period of change and challenge ensuring that the charity can adapt to the increased demand for its services across North Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Before taking up his post at CancerCare, Neil worked for many years in social housing, working as director of housing and regeneration for a large housing association in Merseyside.

Since moving back to live in Pilling, just south of Lancaster with his partner, Neil has become heavily involved in the Lancaster BID and as recently joined the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce as a director representing the large number of excellent charitable organisations working in the area.

In his spare time Neil has involved in amateur theatre, both as a performer and an award winning director of musical theatre across the NW, working in a number of local venues including the Charter Theatre, Preston and The Grand Theatre in Blackpool. Neil is delighted to have joined the board of the Lancaster Dukes Theatre, combining his non-executive governance experience with his passion for the theatre and arts.