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Our People

Our people are central to everything we do. 

We welcome diversity, respect individuality and value creativity.

Meet the Team

Our team

We believe in the power of the arts to transform and enrich lives. Meet the team taking positive action to make sure that all voices are heard and all stories told.

 

Board

Governance

We have up to 16 Board members including four elected members from Aberdeen City Council and an employee Director.  Board members work together to set overall direction,  ensure good governance and they are ambassadors for Aberdeen Performing Arts

Craig Pike – Chair

Aberdeen Performing Arts Chairman. Lawyer specialising in Private Client work and is a Partner with Ledingham Chalmers LLP. A Director and performer with local theatre groups, producing shows at His Majesty’s Theatre, ACT Aberdeen, and the Tivoli, as well as a performer and member of comedy group ‘The Flying Pigs’ having produced work for stage, radio and TV. Formerly Vice Chair of Castlegate Arts Limited, which operates ACT Aberdeen. Holds an LL.B. (With Options in Management Studies), a Diploma in Personnel Management and Diploma in Legal Practice. Craig is Clerk & Assessor to the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, continuing an unbroken line of lawyers from his firm, going back to 1888. With a keen interest in the well-being of older people in our community, Craig is a Trustee of Northcote Lodge Care Home, in Aberdeen and is also on the local Steering Group for Alzheimer Scotland.

David Burnside

David is a practising solicitor in Aberdeen and was formerly a consultant for Burness Paull in their Employment and Pensions Division. David provides employment law advice from his own company, Burnside Legal Services (Aberdeen) Ltd., represents solicitors at their Discipline Tribunal and provide witness training for persons involved in court proceedings. He specialised in court work, both criminal and civil and Employment Tribunals and in 2013 was awarded an accolade at the cHeRries Awards Ceremony for his outstanding contribution to Employment Law. A founder member of the Employment Law Group and for 25 years accredited as a Specialist in Employment Law. David was a member of the post-incident steering committees for the Chinook, Piper Alpha, Brent Spar and Cormorant Disasters and acted as joint lead negotiator in the Piper Alpha Disaster, giving him considerable knowledge in dealing with complex issues and significant experience in dealing with the media. David is a Board member of the Legal Defence Union and past President of the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen and of the Aberdeen Bar Association. In 2001, he became Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Albyn School for Girls and was instrumental in preparing the school for a move to co-educational status.

Dr Duncan Cockburn

Duncan is the Vice Principal for Strategy and Planning at Robert Gordon University.  In this role he is the executive lead for a number of departments, including Marketing & Communications; Access, Recruitment & Admissions; and Planning & Insight.  He joined RGU in 2008 as the Principal’s Policy Advisor. He was appointed as the Director of Planning and Policy at the University in 2013.  Prior to this Duncan was Head of sparqs (Student Participation in Quality Scotland) and is a former President of the University of Aberdeen’s Student Association.

Outwith work, Duncan is active in the cultural sector, he was appointed to the Board of Creative Scotland in 2019.  At a regional level he is Chair of Culture Aberdeen, the city’s cultural network responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the region’s cultural strategy.  He is also a Board member of Sound and was formally Chair of the Look Again visual arts and design festival run annually across Aberdeen and led by the University.  Duncan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

Duncan is a double graduate of the University of Aberdeen, holding a MA honours degree  and a PhD both in History.  He is civilly partnered to Neil and together they live in Inverness with Flora their dog.  In his spare time, Duncan enjoys cooking, gardening and reading history books.

Azzrai Effendi

Azraai is currently the Head of Financial Governance at the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED). As a trained petroleum economist, he has skills in data analytics, data gathering and data management. His qualifications have been achieved in the US, Malaysia and in the UK.   He has a passion for the performing arts, enjoys going to the theatre and the orchestra in particular, and has lived in Aberdeen now for over 10 years.

Margaret Gibson

Margaret was until July 2020 a partner at Burness Paull. Specialising in Employment Law she acted for many of Aberdeen’s leading oil and gas companies but also for a number of Aberdeen’s third sector organisations.  Margaret acted for Voluntary Service Aberdeen for many years and has since retirement joined their Board.  Margaret also sits on the Board of Archway, a local charity providing permanent and respite care for adults and young people with varying needs. Margaret’s connections with Aberdeen Performing Arts began during her time as a Burness Paull partner as she provided advice and guidance to the Company, working closely with Jane Spiers in recent years.  Margaret was brought up in Aberdeen and returned to the city from Edinburgh in 1990.  Passionate about the city and its culture, Margaret enjoys going to a range of theatrical, musical and artistic events as well as making her own music playing her clarinet.  When not involved in cultural activities Margaret is likely to be found either in the mountains or on the sea.

Vallath Kavitha

Vallath is a Senior Communications Officer at Robert Gordon University and has worked for over ten years in the oil and gas industry. Vallath has extensive experience spanning 14 years in both Corporate Communications and Crisis Management and is skilled in developing and implementing integrated communications campaigns and crisis management programmes. She lived and worked in Qatar, where she was raised, before moving to Aberdeen in 2013 to pursue an MBA in Oil and Gas Management at RGU. Vallath has a keen interest in performing arts having been trained in Indian classical music and dance for over 12 years. Vallath volunteers as a board member at the Aberdeenshire Citizens Advice Bureau.

Nikki Morris-Laing

A Bachelor of Arts and a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Nikki has 17+ years of project and people management experience, 10+ years of experience in a senior marketing role (including both client and agency side) and 10+ years’ experience in tourism/hospitality marketing.

With a background in Media, Nikki managed community radio stations across Scotland and moved to Aberdeen in 2008 to manage local community radio station, shmuFM. For the following 7 years, Nikki led on consumer marketing for Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire’s tourism industry as the Head of Marketing for the regions Destination Marketing Organisation, VisitAberdeenshire. Nikki is currently Head of Digital Marketing & Growth UK for Dish Cult, the diner facing brand of ResDiary.

Nikki is a passionate ambassador for the arts and enjoys attending a variety of events at the citiy’s cultural venues. She also enjoys being a local food blogger and is a keen supporter of ‘eat local’ so can often be found dining out in one of Aberdeen’s many independent foodie spots.

Watson Mutch

Watson is a Chartered Accountant. He currently works part time as Partnership Accountant with a long established firm of solicitors in Aberdeen. Prior to this he was Finance Director and Company Secretary for a local newspaper publisher for a number of years.  He takes an active interest in his former employer’s pension fund where he is Trustee Director.

Harry Yorston

Harry has recently retired as a management consultant with 35 years’ experience in the Oil and Gas Industry and has held senior management and Board positions with several international oil companies and other charities.  He has expertise in HR, HSE, Performance Management and Change Management.  Harry chairs the Aberdeen Performing Arts Organisational Development Sub Committee. Harry brings commercial acumen to Aberdeen Performing Arts, a passion for the arts and a belief in the positive impact the arts can have on young people. Harry was previously Deputy Chairman of Eden Court Highlands. He has an MBA from Heriot Watt University and a BA Hons from Robert Gordon University in Business Studies.

Leadership Team

Jane Spiers – Chief Executive

Jane is our leader, responsible for setting our artistic vision, looking after our people, managing our partnerships and making sure that we have a sustainable business model. She believes everyone should be able to contribute, feel welcome, valued, accepted, safe and have a voice at Aberdeen Performing Arts.  Of our five company values, her favourites are Optimism and Curiosity.

Faye Barron

Faye is Director of People and leads on people, culture, compliance and governance for the organisation and our corporate teams across HR, IT and Finance and Sustainability.  Faye is a fierce believer that Aberdeen Performing Arts must be a welcoming and open place for everyone and loves working with our team to celebrate and encourage difference in all parts of our organisation.  Loyalty and Optimism are her favourite company values.

Matt Godfrey

Matt is our Head of Finance and Sustainability, joining our team in April 2022 in the newly refocused role.  He has responsibility for financial management and governance within the business and leads on developing and directing our strategy on environmental sustainability.  Matt believes that through effective partnering across all functions of our organisation, we can effect positive change towards reducing our carbon footprint.  Matt’s favourite company values are Curiosity and Teamwork.

Leah Hodder

Leah is our Director of Marketing and Communications, and leads marketing and communications for the organisation, and our front-facing teams across Marketing, Box Office, Front of House, Hospitality & Events. Leah loves to collaborate with colleagues and work together to make a difference to create truly memorable experiences for our audiences. Leah’s favourite company values are Optimism and Resilience.

Ross Sims

Ross is our Head of Technical and Operations, and leads our Technical, Operations and Housekeeping Teams.  Ross chairs our Health, Safety and Security Meetings as well as leading our Health and Safety Champions in ensuring that our venues are managed to a high standard. Ross is passionate about maintaining our beautiful venues and working alongside our talented people.  The values that appeal most to Ross are Resilience and Teamwork as we strive to work as one team to create all our varied and successful events.

Ben Torrie

Ben is our Director of Programming and Creative Projects and leads on delivering the organisation’s artistic plans via programming, producing, commissioning, curating and creative engagement, and also oversees our technical, operations and housekeeping teams.  Ben thrives on working with the team to turn great ideas into reality and deliver amazing experiences.  His favourite of our values are Curiosity and Loyalty.

Susan Whyte

Susan is our Head of Creative Engagement and leads our team of Creative Change Makers and Producers who manage our creative engagement programmes and our Light the Blue and Wonderland Festivals.  Susan believes that the arts can have a positive impact on everyone’s lives and that nobody should feel excluded from taking part.  Her favourite company values are Curiosity and Optimism.

Management Team

Jamie Allan

Front of House Manager 

Grace Arthur

Customer Experience Manager – Sales & Engagement

Greig Dempster

Chief LX

Lynn Hackett

Customer Experience Manager – Hospitality & Events

Andy Howie

Chief Technician

Barry Johnstone

Finance Manager

Andy Kite

Marketing Manager

David Milne

Chief Technician

Steven Milne

Cultural Programme Manager

Graeme Shepherd

Stage Manager