Our People

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 The Mousetrap team is small but mighty!

Our programmes and projects are delivered in collaboration with theatres, organisations and schools, whose staff help to bring our projects to life. Our Family Forum, Teacher Forum, Youth Forum and Youth Fundraising Committee all have input and play a vital part in our work. We are also hugely grateful to be supported by many volunteers and students on placement throughout each year.

We also work closely with pool of expert Creative Practitioners who help to deliver our projects, always selecting the best specialists for the job. Our Practitioners are some of the best in the business, and they help ensure our work is carried out with the utmost rigour, skill and passion.

Meet the team

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Susan Whiddington
Founder & Director

Susan set up Mousetrap Theatre Projects 22 years ago, when Stephen Waley-Cohen purchased the production rights for Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. With her lifelong passion for theatre, the chance to set up a charity to enable others to discover it was a dream come true.  Prior to this, Susan had worked for the Society of London Theatre, for the Association of British Orchestras and for the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (her hometown): where she set up the company’s education, outreach and community projects, working for two brilliant English directors, and bringing opera to new audiences all over Missouri.

“I love working at Mousetrap becuase there’s nothing quite like seeing a young person or a family member experience the thrill of theatre – being taken away into a new world that makes them laugh, cry, challenges their views and uplifts them.  The work of my colleagues, with often marginalised young people and those with additional needs, is awe-inspiring – and no matter how many times I go to a workshop or see a showcase that they’ve helped to make possible, I’m always touched by the way drama can impact the lives of even the most difficult young people.”

Outside of work: Surprise surprise, Susan can mainly be found at the theatre! She also loves reading, travelling and entertaining - her dinner parties are legendary! She’s a committed US Democrat and a former chair of Democrats Abroad UK, and she also serves on a number of charitable boards including John Lyon’s Charity, Action for Children’s Arts and DanceWest – where I learn more than I give.

Secret skills: Susan bakes a mean brownie!

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Gayle Bryans
Deputy Director

After studying Communications at Leeds University, Gayle’s first job in the arts was in the fundraising department at The National Theatre. She went from there to Soho Theatre, Sadler’s Wells and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, working on all types of fundraising; from friends’ schemes and major capital appeals, to galas and corporate sponsorships.  Gayle joined Mousetrap in 2010 and now heads up fundraising and finance and supports Susan in governance and strategic matters.

 “I’ve worked at some incredible arts organisations, but there is something very special about Mousetrap.  I’m inspired every day by my fantastic, dedicated, creative colleagues and by the difference we make to so many young lives, a difference I get to see this with my own eyes. And working in the heart of the West End is a great added perk!”

Outside of work: Gayle is a musical theatre performer and choreographer and is chair of trustees for charity Herts Inclusive Theatre. 

Secret skills: Gayle has a knack for writing comic poetry and lyrics.  She also plays the piano and viola (not very well!).   

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Tracy Burke
General Manager

Tracy was fortunate to see a lot of theatre whilst at school, which opened up different worlds and a wealth of possibilities for her, and instilled her lifelong passion for the arts.  Tracy went on to do work experience at a West London theatre, and then on to completing a Drama and Theatre Studies degree at Middlesex University, where she wanted to put her love of theatre and aptitude for arts administration to good use.

After graduating she honed her general administration skills in the corporate world, before joining Mousetrap as an Office Administrator. Some 12 years later, she’s now kept very busy as our brilliant General Manager!

“I love working for Mousetrap because I know the power of theatre and how it impacted on my life. It’s a great honour to work for an organisation who work so tirelessly to provide the same opportunities for so many deserving young people.”

Outside of work: Tracy is a very proud mummy of a 3 year old who keeps her on her toes!

Fun fact: Tracy loves make-up and in another life I would be a travel food writer as it combines two of my other passions! 

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Jo Pelly
SEND Programmes Manager

Jo was the fourth employee to join Mousetrap, back when the office was just a draughty garret in Covent Garden with a wonky desk, a temperamental fax machine and a huge supply of stamps. Having studied Drama and English at university, she harboured a life-long ambition to perform before realising she was too soft for all that rejection and better find another career. After spells in TV & film production, children’s book publishing, copywriting and English language teaching, she finally “came home” to Mousetrap and has loved it ever since.

She feels profoundly proud of the way that Mousetrap has grown from plucky upstart to a member of the West End theatre establishment, and it has been a joy to work with so many inspirational and creative people along the way. She has been instrumental in bringing relaxed performances to the West End, and has developed several innovative theatre access and education projects for young people with sensory impairments or learning disabilities.

“I always look forward to coming to work. Mousetrap is a family, where we celebrate each other’s successes, and have a collective sense of purpose. I feel lucky to be part of it.”

Secret skills:  Jo plays the piano and sings, and is trying to hone her song-writing skills, without embarrassing her two sons too much! She’s also pretty nifty at table tennis!

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Patrick O Sullivan
Creative Learning Manager

Originally from Co. Waterford in Ireland, Patrick’s first experience of theatre came when he was 7 years old and took on the seminal role of Mary in his all male school production of the Nativity! Patrick graduated with a degree in Drama & Performance Studies in 2003, before studying a PGCE at Cardiff University. He then went onto lecture in Performing Arts at Longley Park 6th Form College in Sheffield.

In 2008 Patrick took the reins as Education and Outreach Manager at The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, where he spent over 8 years developing and delivering theatre projects with young people, schools and the community. Here he directed over 20 theatre productions, co-wrote 3 community musicals and developed specialist training models for young people aspiring to careers in the theatre industry.

Patrick joined Mousetrap in January 2018 to manage our Creative Learning division, and seems to be loving it so far!

“I love working for an organisation whose core aim is to introduce the magic of theatre into the lives of young people in London. It’s so refreshing to work with such a supportive team who all believe in this mission and work so hard to achieve its goals” 

Outside of work: Patrick spends a lot of his time with his beautiful black Labrador Banjo. He enjoys hiking and getting out and about. Patrick supports Sheffield United and hopes that Waterford Hurling team will one day win that elusive All-Ireland!  

Secret skills: Getting into lots of scrapes, taking selfies with famous folk and unleashing his quiz mastering skills on the public.

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Elaine Grant
Head of Access Programmes

You wouldn’t know it from her photo, but Elaine has been working in Performing Arts for an incredible 37 years!

Elaine joined Mousetrap in 2007 and manages our two largest access programmes: Family First Nights and Theatre Openers. This role combines her two passions - live theatre and working with young people in the Arts. Over the years, Elaine has managed and enabled thousands of family and school theatre trips, workshops and special events, including our first ever inter-generational Family First Nights event in 2018.

“Every day is different and it is a privilege to work with such a creative, supportive and passionate team. I am humbled by the thousands of young people and families I have seen inspired through the cultural opportunities Mousetrap has enabled over the years. #ilovemyjob!”

                                                                                                 Outside of work: Elaine has sat on the board of numerous theatre and charitable organisations including, WAC Arts, Sphinx Theatre Company and Studio 3 Arts. She is currently a member of the industry steering committee for the WAC Arts Diploma course and an Action for Children’s Arts critical friend. She also volunteers for a project called Moments4Seniors which provides events and activities for Senior citizens.

Secret skills: Elaine sings alto in an award-winning Gospel choir, and is famous for her Mac ‘n’ Cheese!

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Gemma Bell
Youth Engagement Manager

Originally from Portsmouth, Gemma moved up to London to study Drama and Theatre Arts at St Mary’s University Twickenham, after which she spent just over a year with the Orange Tree Theatre working across their Education, Marketing and Box Office departments. 

Gemma then went on to work with Eastside Educational Trust for a number of years, where she headed up their Theatre and Film departments working closely with project partners such as Disney Theatrical Group and the BFI to develop programmes for young people and schools.  She joined Mousetrap in October 2018 to manage our outreach and community programmes, as well as our Youth Forum.

Mousetrap is a hugely inspiring organisation to work for, the best part of my job the buzz at our events when we takeover a theatre with an audience of families, students or young people and making these events happen with such an amazing team!”

Outside of work:  Gemma is an advocate for Mission Direct, who run programmes over-seas to work in deprived communities to build hope and bring change through practical and sustainable development.

Fun fact:  Each year Gemma takes on a new physical challenge - next up is the London to Brighton bike ride!

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Bryony Relf
Audience Development Manager

Bryony graduated from The University of Winchester with a 1st class BA Honours degree in Theatre Production in 2017. She has worked internationally on the New Generation Festival in Italy, where she took on the role as Deputy Stage Manager on their production of Don Giovanni (2018) and The Marriage of Figaro (2019). She has also worked as Production Assistant for the Olivier Awards for the past 5 years. 

Bryony joined Mousetrap as part of the Youth Forum in 2013 and helped to run our first ever Youth Leadership in the Arts Conference. As a freelancer, she managed our Relaxed Performances of The Lorax and Motown the Musical, before taking up her current full-time role as Audience Development Manager, managing Theatrejourneys and our Go Live theatregoing club.

When Bryony is not meeting celebs, she is the Assistant Stage Manager for the London Musical Theatre Orchestra where she has successfully helps managed concerts at top theatre venues such as the London Palladium and the Lyceum Theatre.

“I have been lucky enough to experience both sides of Mousetrap Theatre Projects. I began my Mousetrap adventure as a participant on their C145 ticket scheme at 16 years old. I now run that very same ticket scheme and I’m delighted to introduce other young people to the programme that made me fall in love with theatre.”

Outside of work: Bryony spends most of her time at the Theatre - suprise, surprise! She has also set herself the challenge to run as many 5k’s this year having just completed the couch to 5k app. Watch out Mo Farrah!

Secret Skills: Bryony can play the piano and is a classically trained singer. She is also trying to train her dogs Arlo and Zebedee to do agility!

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Emily Sanctuary
Development Manager

After graduating, Emily couldn’t decide whether to go into the charity sector, the arts, or education – all of which were areas she loved and cared passionately about. She feels very lucky to have found Mousetrap which combines all three!

She started her fundraising career at the National Theatre working on their NT Future campaign, before moving on to the Imperial War Museum where she looked after individual supporters and corporate sponsors. She’s been at Mousetrap for over 2 years and plays a fundamental part in enabling our work.

“Theatre has always been a huge and formative part of my life. I love working for Mousetrap as it fights to give young people the same opportunities I was lucky to have.”

Outside of work: Emily can be found treading the boards at Questors Theatre in Ealing. She also volunteers for a helpline and is a keen singer. At some point – once she’s found a gap in her busy schedule – she wants to restart Latin dancing!

Fun fact: If she could have one super power it would be to the ability to control time.

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Dulcie Ball
Marketing & Communications Manager

A languages graduate, Dulcie has been working in marketing for over 15 years.  She began her career in Children’s Brand Licensing before moving to Hull Truck Theatre, where she led a number of community outreach projects focused on families and young people.  She then moved to London and worked agency-side, managing campaigns for a variety of family shows including The Gruffalo Live, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Horrible Histories.

Passionate about learning and education, Dulcie went on to work in Education Publishing, including at as Brand Manager for BTEC at Pearson and Digital Marketing Manager for Macmillan Education: working across the UK primary, secondary and higher education sectors, as well as in global ELT. Fresh from leading the email campaign for Sport Relief 2018, Dulcie joined Mousetrap last Spring.

“There are lots of reasons why I love working for Mousetrap, but above all it’s the people.  Working here has given me the opportunity to meet and work alongside an incredible set of individuals who are compassionate, creative and passionate about what they do.”

Outside of work: Dulcie is on a mission to make drawing accessible to the masses through Sketch Appeal: her Community Interest Company which champions the mental health benefits of everyday creativity through social sketching events and arts projects.   

Secret skills: Dulcie can drive a tractor, play the piano and speak fluent Spanish - though probably not at the same time!

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Robyn Wilson
Marketing & Development Officer

Brandishing a degree in American Studies from University of Leicester, Robyn burst into the world of work in 2018. She was Development Officer at Derby Theatre, one of the country’s leading regional producing theatres, from July 2018 until joining Mousetrap in May 2019. 

Robyn was selected by Electric Reads as one of Britain’s 25 best writers under 25 in 2016 and 2017. She has been commissioned to write articles by Art Fund and Thames & Hudson and has previously been a contributing writer for global student platform, The Tab, and political blog, The Pantsuit.

The newest member of our team, Robyn is loving her time at Mousetrap so far!

“The best thing about working at Mousetrap is seeing children walking out of the theatre with bigger smiles and brighter eyes than when they walked in.”

Fun fact: Robyn was voted ‘Most Likely to Appear on Glee’ at secondary school. Robyn is yet to get the call, but she feels confident…


Our Youth Forum

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Our incredible Youth Forum plays a vital role in our work and helps to run some of our biggest programmes and events.

They help out at every theatre trip we organise for Go Live, our theatregoing club for young people, help to host and run our annual Youth Leadership In the Arts Conference, and give up some of their precious holiday time to help out at Summer Stage, our 2 week Performing Arts summer school.

Our Youth Forum also single-handedly organises and runs every aspect of The Mousetrap Awards, the UK’s only theatre awards voted for entirely by young people.