Our Patrons & Trustees
We are thrilled to be supported by some wonderful patrons and trustees. Read on to find out more about them and why they support our work.
When a new Patron comes on board, we ask them to tell us about the "magic moment" that inspired them to pursue a career in Performing Arts…
“When I was a teenager (back in the 70s) and Laurence Olivier was running the National Theatre at the Old Vic, a friend of my sister's introduced me to the mysteries of how you get a theatre ticket and encouraged me to go and see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as I was studying Hamlet at school. It was magical. I paid 15p for the ticket and it was the first time I had been to the theatre on my own. That was it for me. Later that year I saw Laurence Olivier play Shylock for 15p, also magical.”
As a child I was lucky enough to be taken to the theatre a lot by my parents. Seeing Bernard Miles playing Long John Silver at the Mermaid frightened the living daylights out of me. I remember thinking, what a fantastic thing to be able to do. I knew it wasn’t real but my imagination had made it so. From then on, I was intoxicated by the power and the magic of theatre.
I remember being taken, as an 11 year old schoolboy, in London's East End, to see a deadly dull and theatrically unexciting production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. It almost put me off for life! Luckily I had parents who were big theatre lovers and a couple of years later they took me to see Angela Lansbury in the musical Gypsy at The Piccadilly Theatre which completely made me fall in love with the idea of theatre and "putting on a show". Although the show was essentially about "showbiz" itself it was also highly dramatic and full of laughter, tears, theatrical magic and star power. All things that i still love now. Not only did I want to come back and see it again the next day, I also wanted to be in it! My life changed that day. Soon after I formed my own amateur dance theatre company and, guess what? That's what I'm still doing today!
Sir Kenneth Branagh
Going to the theatre as a child unlocked my imagination. It made me dream, and made me think, and made me want to join in. When it works, it’s the best fun you can have without tickling, and even when it doesn't, it still makes you want to come back for more and different and better. Smoke and mirrors, and ice cream and laughter, and gasps and giggles, and singing and dancing and delirium to bewitch and beguile. For me as a child, and as a grown up the theatre is magic with bells on.
My first theatre experience was The Taming of the Shrew. A friend of ours who was an actor invited us. He played Petruchio and was so funny and charismatic. I laughed so much and felt the warmth of being a child in an audience where the actors on stage seemed to reach out and know how to make me feel good.
My first experience of theatre was when it was my 8th birthday and my Mum and Dad booked me tickets to go and see "The Sound Of Music" in Liverpool. We had front row seats and the whole way through I was sat on the edge of my seat, bursting with excitement and from that day on I longed to be in the theatre! My dream came true a few years later as I started performing in musical theatre productions and I absolutely love it! The excitement, passion and joy that the theatre brings to people including me is indescribable and it is so important that people get the chance to watch a theatre production and experience that same passion and excitement!
The thing that got me excited about drama was being in youth theatre at the Wolsey in Ipswich, run by artistic director Dick Tuckey. At this time I worked on Saturdays, beginning at 5.00am, as the ‘toast girl’ at a local hotel making toast for the guests. What got me through Saturdays was knowing that on Sundays I would be part of Wolsey’s Youth Theatre, playing games, doing improv and taking part in the yearly youth production – being part of a company. The Wolsey also gave me a chance to see loads of theatre productions, meet actors and I even served as an usher.
As a young dancer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to travel to New York with my fellow dancers. There we would take professional classes and see theatre. It was during my first trip when I saw Vanessa Williams star in Kiss of the Spider Woman that I suddenly believed that I could perform for a living. Seeing a woman who looked like me, singing and dancing like I loved doing at home on a big Broadway stage inspired me to pursue this professionally. That moment gave me permission to dream, and to dream really big!
I wrote all of the school plays when I was a little girl because I liked the play form on paper and then seeing them become embodied. But it was the American dramaturge/director/producer and now principal of Rose Bruford College, Michael Earley, who was the biggest influence on me in my deepest self. In the '70's, when I was living in my hometown of Chicago and going to university, Michael edited a great theatre magazine which featured photos of theatre productions Downtown Theatre and text which greatly influenced me and I moved to New York in pursuit of the theatre that Michael celebrated. I’m going back to that theatre now, the one he opened up to me.
I was brought up in a hotel on the North East Coast, with a large ballroom which was the perfect cradle for fantasy. I corralled my poor sister into performing endless two character versions of Play for Today, Coronation Street and Sunday Night at the London Palladium. When I was ten, having been persuaded by a friend to join her, my mother took me to the Emerald City, known as London, to see Where the Rainbow Ends (an amazing annual fable with songs, ballet and pageantry). That was the moment my life changed. It was beyond anything my imagination had provided. The child that experienced that is still in everything I do.
“I had a very big personality as a child; I was headstrong, passionate and loved to put on a show! Whether that was pretending to be Michael Jackson or having a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket! I joined a local children’s theatre club and learned to channel my excess energy into performance. I developed a love for acting and singing and a desire to share stories with an audience. Since then I’ve come to understand that the theatre can be the most exciting and fascinating of places because in a theatre and with just a touch of imagination you can be transported to anywhere, do anything and be anyone you want to be.”
My inspired beginnings were, as I am sure many were, born sitting aghast in the audience of my first pantomime. The glamour, the glitter, the frights and the fantasies, captivated me utterly. And I have loved them ever since. From my very first job cast as a rat (and curiously a sausage) and chorus girl in Dick Whittington, to the heady delights of watching Stanley Baxter and Paul O'Grady as dames. I guess those first enchantments never leave you, and their magic certainly inspires you onwards.
I was 14 when I joined the Birmingham Youth Theatre. I loved the fact that for a few short hours, we could take an audience anywhere; The Moon, a dungeon or the top of a mountain, anywhere a good story could take place. The possibilities were endless and I was hooked. Every play I saw taught me something about people I would never meet. I suppose it was the first time, I saw the skill in daydreaming, the craft in making up stories and pretending. I loved it.
I love everything that Mousetrap stands for and am thrilled to have been involved with their great work. When I directed James McAvoy in Macbeth, it was exciting to see so many mousetrap kids at Trafalgar Transformed - many of whom were experiencing Shakespeare for the very first time. Their comments and questions were genuinely insightful, inspiring and intriguing. I also collected an award at the Mousetrap Awards and the performances which took place at the ceremony by the young people were amazing. It was an uplifting evening. It's vital that we nurture the next generation of theatre makers and Mousetrap plays such a significant role in this. I'm totally proud to be a Patron.
Jonathan Pryce MBE
Growing up in a small village in North Wales in the 50s meant that I had very little access to live theatre. I had never intended to be an actor. At school all I was interested in was art and when I left at 16 I went to art school for two years before going on to train to teach art. It was during this time that I also studied drama, mainly because I had been told it was the easiest course requiring the least amount of work! But then I met an inspirational teacher who awakened my interest in theatre and taught me the power theatre had, both politically and emotionally.
You look back and think about what it was, what event happened in your life that made everything that follows possible. It could be a TV show, a painting, a teacher or a visit to the theatre and hopefully Mousetrap Theatre Projects will provide that trigger for someone.
Eddie Redmayne OBE
I was taken by my Mum aged about 10 to see A Midsummer Night's Dream at the National Theatre. The Robert Lepage production was all set in a muddy swamp with the lovers romping around in the sludge. Timothy Spall was playing Bottom and the most staggering contortionist was playing Puck. I remember so vividly that moment when Bottom was 'transformed'- Puck (Angela Laurier) leapt on to Bottom's back and the actresses feet became Bottom's donkey ears- alive twitching and full of character. I was transfixed. After the play Mum and I went on the 'National Behind the scenes' tour and got to handle the props and see the costume store... I was completely mesmerised. That was the moment I got the bug.
Clive Rowe MBE
Sitting under a cardboard palm tree at around the age of nine, on the school stage waiting for the piano to play the intro to my first ever solo line, I had no idea what my journey would be. All I knew was even though I was nervous I felt totally safe. I didn't think I was going to be a professional actor for the rest of my life, but I knew, deep down, that whatever I became theatre would be part of that. In so many ways that solo line from the children’s musical Jonah Man Jazz was very apt - "I need a boat man that will carry me away.
Alison Steadman OBE
I joined Liverpool Youth Theatre when I was 15. Suddenly I realised there was something I was good at and enjoyed. There were no scary auditions. Enthusiasm and commitment was all that was required. It opened a door for me. I've never looked back.
David Suchet CBE
At 17 as a member of the National Youth Theatre, I was in a production of Ben Johnson’s Bartholomew Fair at the Royal Court. After the play, I went down to the side of the stage and with my make-up bag in hand, watched the scenery come down. I was remembering just a few minutes ago being on stage – hearing the laughter of the audience – and it was at that moment I realised that I wanted to be part of this special world of storytelling and make-believe for the rest of my life.
Zoë Wanamaker CBE
“One of the reasons I fell in love with theatre is because it's all to do with stories and magic and the suspension of disbelief. The craft in making it look simple and easy is what is so mesmerising and mind expanding. It never ceases to surprise and delight me.”
My experience with theatre began a bit different from most, because my parents are both actors. When I was six years old, I was taken to see Love's Labours Lost by Shakespeare, probably one of his hardest plays to understand. And of course though I didn't understand most of it, it was played very quickly and very funnily and my father fell over a lot (deliberately) which I loved. At one point in the play the three boys have to disguise themselves as Russians, and the director had them come on dressed as cosmonauts with big space helmets, and playing the theme from '2001'. I remember thinking how clever it was of Shakespeare to anticipate the moon landings by nearly 400 years.
When I was seven, I went to see Dr Who live on stage, and I remember The Doctor having a fight with an enormous lobster claw fifteen feet long, that loomed out of the darkness. Because I knew the actor playing The Doctor (Trevor Martin), we went round backstage afterwards and I remember walking onto the stage and seeing the lobster claw looking all ordinary under the fluorescent lighting they used between shows. But oddly, this didn't make the magic of what we had seen any less special. So perhaps that's where my love of theatre on both sides of the curtain began.
Roy Williams OBE
“As a kid I think I was on the hunt for something to be good at. Growing up black in the 80s, it seemed sport was the only thing a black man could do to succeed. I loved football, I still do, but I was hopeless at it. When I was 11, I was doing very badly at school because of my constant day dreaming. My mum paid for a private tutor, who was also a playwright and director. He was a grown man, doing what I was dreaming about, writing stories about other lives. Sometimes, instead of our usual lesson, I would tag along and watch him rehearse with his actors on his new plays. I always came out thinking, if they can do it, so can I.”
Our Board of Trustees
Sir William Atkinson
Sir William was Executive Head Teacher of Phoenix High School in Shepherds Bush and is renowned for taking the school from being one of the most challenging schools in the UK, to receiving an Outstanding Ofsted report. Sir William has sat on numerous Government task forces including the DfES Standards Task Force, the Home Office Justice Task Force and the Home Office London Youth Crime Reduction Task Force. He is currently a Board Member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Clink Charity, Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London and Chair of the Regional Advisory Board, London and Southeast, Canal and River Trust. Sir William was knighted in June 2008 in the Queen's birthday honours for his services to education and community and received an Honorary Doctorate for Services to Education from The Open University and University of North London.
Robert Davis MBE
Robert is a solicitor and served as a Councillor on Westminster City Council for over 30 years. He was Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage. He served as Lord Mayor of Westminster in 1996-97 and is a Deputy Lieutenant's for Greater London. He chairs the Board of the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, is a trustee of the Savoy Educational Trust and trustee and founder of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation. He was Chairman of the London Mayors' Association for 18 years until he retired from the post in 2016. Robert was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2015 for his services to local government and planning.
Mary is Sondheim Professor of Musical Theatre Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy of Music. She founded the Academy’s renowned post-graduate Musical Theatre course and was head of the Musical Theatre department from 1993-2012. Mary is an active member of the British Voice Association and is on the board of the Actors Centre. Following her training, Mary spent 25 years as a singer from opera at Covent Garden to stadium gigs with Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. She teaches up-and-coming young bands alongside international artists including Coldplay and the Kaiser Chiefs. In theatre, Mary has worked as vocal coach and advisor on many West End shows including Billy Elliot the Musical, The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret and Les Misérables.
Ashley Herman is the Founder and Deputy Chairman of Encore Tickets. Ashley began his career in stage and production management before setting up his first company, Applause, which became one the UK’s leading ticket agencies. He then launched Theatre Direct Inc. in New York and this became the largest Broadway ticket agency. In 2000, Ashley founded Encore Tickets, which specialises in the multi-channel distribution of West End theatre throughout the world and is the largest agency of its kind. In 1999, he was appointed Chairman of the Guildford School of Acting, which he merged with the University of Surrey in 2007. Ashley serves as a member of the University’s Governing Council and is the Chairman of the Guildford School of Acting’s Advisory Board. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2005 and, in 2012, received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Rosie Hytner is a children’s book author, National Theatre Development Board member and theatrelover who believes passionately that all young people should have the opportunity to experience the Arts. She also plays an active part in the British Heart Foundation. A graduate of Cambridge University, with a degree in Drama and Education, Rosie began her career in public relations with the CMT group, leaving after ten years as an Associate Director. In 1991 Rosie founded Hytner Anderson Public Relations with her business partner Debbie Anderson and ran a range of campaigns, becoming well known for its management expertise.
Fawn is the Founder & Chair of Boulevard Theatre and a Director of Soho Estates. Her grandfather was Soho Estates’ founder Paul Raymond, an entertainment impresario and property investor, who staged revue and variety shows at countless Soho venues from the 1950s onwards. Fawn intends to honour her grandfather’s legacy by helping to promote Soho as an arts and entertainment district. As well as being a Mousetrap Trustee, Fawn is a member of the Executive Committee of the Royal Variety Charity and sits on the board for Soho Theatre.
Phyllida Lloyd CBE
Phyllida's prolific directing career includes one of musical theatre’s biggest success stories, Mamma Mia! in London and around the world as well as directing the film of the musical. Other directing credits include Mary Stuart, which transferred from the Donmar to the West End and Broadway and the all-female Julius Caesar at the Donmar and in Brooklyn NY. She has worked at the National, RSC, Royal Court and Shakespeare's Globe; and in opera at the ENO, the Royal Opera House, Paris and Barcelona. She also directed the film Iron Lady. Phyllida was given a CBE in the 2010 New Year's Honours List.
Sarah is Managing Director of TALK.PURPOSE, the communications business she founded within the M&C Saatchi group to create purpose-led campaigns for global brands.
She has more than 15 years’ experience in delivering communications solutions and strategic visions in both the private and public sectors with recent clients as diverse as Floraand The World Food Programme. Before establishing TALK.PURPOSE, Sarah held a number of senior communications roles including leading the corporate team at Weber Shandwick and serving as director of public affairs at Centrica and a senior director at Edelman. Sarah also brings experience as a journalist, a non-executive director and an elected politician, is a Trustee of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation and a governor of Pimlico Academy. Sarah served as Lord Mayor of Westminster and Deputy High Steward of Westminster Abbey in 2013-14.
Jonathan is a Founding Member and Company Director of Mischief Theatre, an Olivier Award winning company specialising in comedy. Plays have included The Play that Went Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong and The Comedy about the Bank Robbery. Jonathan attended London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and in addition to these plays, he also performs improv comedy.
Andrea oversees Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Environment, Social and Governance efforts globally outside of North America. In this role, she leads on the Environment, Community Engagement, Arts & Culture and Sustainable Business practices. Prior to this, she held several positions at Lehman Brothers, as Managing Director, Head of Corporate Engagement and Cultural Partnerships and the Chief Executive of the Lehman Brothers Foundation Europe. She also is active on numerous charity boards and committees including Children and the Arts, Bridge’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund and the Arts Impact Funds’ Investor Committee.
Christopher is a senior real estate executive with over 30 years’ experience in the corporate and investment property markets. Christopher runs TMCT, a property consultancy which acts for private investors and property funds wishing to directly invest in the UK property market. His charitable activities include chairing The One Off Ball to raise awareness and research for male cancers and has been a Trustee of The Bach Choir, chairing its Marketing and Fundraising Committee.
Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen Bt. (Chair)
Sir Stephen is the producer of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. When he purchased the production rights, it was his idea that this long-running play should give something back and he set up The Mousetrap Foundation, now Mousetrap Theatre Projects. Sir Stephen is the former owner of the Victoria Palace, current owner of the Ambassadors Theatre and manages the St Martin’s Theatre. He is a former President of the Society of London Theatre and Trustee of the Theatres Trust and is currently the Chairman of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.