who we are

core team

Neil Beddow, Artistic Director



Neil was born and brought up in the Black Country, studied at University of Exeter and Goldsmiths College, and co-founded acta in 1985. He specialises in devising, writing and directing original community theatre with the diverse communities of Bristol. His work has ranged from large-scale plays with casts of hundreds, to small-scale community touring shows; working with all ages and across generations. Neil has responsibility for forward planning, fundraising and overseeing artistic content of acta’s programme.  He represents acta at national and international levels, and has a particular interest in community theatre in a global context. His published works include Turning Points, the impact of participation in community theatre (2001).

Helen Tomlin, Executive Director


Helen Tomlin

Helen joined the Company as Administrator in 1993, with a firm belief in the power of participatory arts to transform lives. She works in the acta office, which was in Lockleaze at first, and later in Hengrove and Brislington, before the move to actacentre in 2002.

Helen has a keen interest in evaluation and learning. She believes that everyone should have an opportunity to be creative, and has a commitment to community theatre to enable the sharing of stories that may otherwise remain unheard.

Ingrid Jones, Associate Director


Ingrid started working for acta in 1994, after graduating from Exeter University with a drama and education degree.

Ingrid originally worked for the company as a freelancer, whilst also working as a youth worker and teacher. She has directed numerous community plays over the years, but the majority of her time has been spent developing and directing acta youth theatres. She has a passion for devising theatre with young people, creating new and relevant performances.

Katie Delaney, Production Manager



Katie leads on all the technical aspects of acta theatre productions, and particularly enjoys designing the lighting for so many shows. She also manages acta events and festivals and leads visual arts sessions in schools and the wider community.

Katie trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and then worked as a Production Manager in theatres including The Crucible, Sheffield and touring in the U.K and Europe with companies such as Theatre Alibi, New Perspectives and Common Players. She believes passionately in taking theatre to unexpected places and to new audiences. She has worked on shows in parks, village halls, schools, prisons and on the street, large-scale public events, carnival and education projects, so instantly felt at home with acta when she joined in 2002.


Clare Gosling, Communications Coordinator



Clare joined acta in January 2020 after working in various marketing & events roles, since graduating with a Business Management degree from LJMU in 2015. Clare is responsible for the day-to-day management of digital marketing such as the website, social media and newsletters, as well as creative strategy and developing partnerships. She is also involved with marketing and front of house for all of our shows!

As a keen actress throughout school years at the Bristol Old Vic, ITV Studios and Keynsham Youth Theatre, Clare has a real passion for the arts and how they can support a person’s confidence and wellbeing. Nowadays, you’ll find Clare at a contemporary or afro-carribean dance class or relaxing with some yoga! She is a huge believer in the power of community, and is thrilled to be part of a team that puts people first and makes a real difference.


Rosalie Pordes, Projects Director


Rosalie also joined the Company on a Foundation post, in September 2013, at the end of which she became a permanent core team member. Born in London, Rosalie studied Drama at the University of Exeter where she discovered a passion for community theatre. Outside of her degree she volunteered with the theatre company Magic Carpet and supported a PHD student in her project Vital Spaces.

Since leaving University she has been back in London and continued to involve herself in the community theatre world, volunteering with companies such as Cardboard Citizens, Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre and Hyperfusion Theatre Company. Rosalie is now extremely excited to be back in the West Country pursuing her dream career.

Sara Snook, Creative Producer


Sara is thrilled to join acta as the Director’s Assistant for a foundation year, starting in September 2017.
Sara is a facilitator and theatre maker based in Bristol. After graduating from University of Sussex with a Drama and Spanish degree, Sara worked at Battersea Arts Centre on the Family Theatre and Heritage team, supporting projects for under 12s and over 65s. In 2016 she moved to Bristol to set herself up as a freelance drama facilitator. Before coming to ACTA Sara worked with Tobacco Factory, Travelling Light and Theatre Royal Bath and continues to lead Easton Youth Theatre with Tamsin Buckley-Bell.

Pet Jordan, Cleaner

*Biog coming soon*


acta Associates

Hiba Elhindi


I was born in Sudan and moved to the UK in 2014. Since my childhood, I have always been passionate about drama, arts and creative writing. I used to take part primary schools theatre shows and create sketches in French language and perform them later at university.
I have been involved with acta for two years as a participant, audience, trustee on the board and very recently as a foundation drama worker.
I First joined acta as a participant in Redcliffe Stories that ended up with the show Dream On. I also stepped in to join the ladies from refugee women of Bristol in their show The Woman Next door.


Jody Cook



Jody has lived in North Bristol all her life, in Lockleaze. Drama has always played a big part in her life. From a young age she would perform for her family and make up plays, and this carried on throughout school life. Drama is her big passion, and she is very lucky that she passes this down to the children of Lockleaze at her local school.

Jody joined the acta team back in September 2016 when she became the new recruit for the foundation drama work post. She now facilitates three projects with children and adults in Lockleaze.


Tracey Harvey



Tracey is originally from Birmingham and has been living in Bristol since 2001. First introduced to acta in 2011, Tracey has participated in a huge number of different groups and has performed in many shows including Goblin Silver, Gas Girls and Sisters.

Tracey was thrilled to become part of the acta core team in September 2015, when she became the new Theatre Bar Assistant. In September 2016, Tracey joined the acta Foundation as a Drama Worker, and now is part of our acta Associates.


Mohamed Jama


I am Mohamed Jama, I have first started working with young people when I finished my MA Intercultural Communications at the University of the West of England in 2013. I first worked as a mentor then as a Learning Support Assistant in Special Education Need sector. I was born and grew up in Djibouti. I came to England in 2002 and have been living in Bristol since. I am proud to say that Bristol is my home and very welcoming, dynamic and diverse city.

I have been living in Windmill Hill area since 2006 and I am a parent governor at Victoria Park Primary School in Bedminster, and I have been introduced to acta through a colleague that I’ve worked with in another project at the Spike Island. I have just started working as a Foundation Drama worker and I am excited to learn more about the theatrical world. As of this I am excited to be working with the adults groups from Ashley Community Housing and Borderland as well as one young people group from Bedminster Mids. (Year 6 and 7).


Aqeel Abdulla

Blog coming soon*


Maya Khatun

Participant and Foundation drama worker (2017-18); Maya has lived experience of Asian community and is a champion for single parenthood.

Council of Management

Katherine Hopkins, Chair

A former acta employee (2012-2019), Kath began as a Foundation Programme Assistant and developed her role post-Foundation to focus on Marketing and Communications, most recently delivering the Communications Coordinator role. Kath completed various leadership training courses whilst at acta and recently completed MA in Creative Production (Digital) with UWE / Pervasive Media Studios. She was invited to join the Council of Management as Chair in Summer 2019, and will lead in development of organisational profile for the Company through the succession period.

Stephen Fenton, Vice-Chair

Stephen graduated with a Graphic Design degree from UWE, after which he stayed in Bristol, married and became the very proud father of three. He runs a Bristol-based design agency that specializes in creative communication for prestigious home and lifestyle clients. His professional career spans more than 20 years advising both private and public sector organisations on marketing and brand management. He has been involved in acta since 2004, when he first joined the Council of Management, and served as acta’s Chair, 2006 – 2011. He is actively involved in the Scout movement and currently chairs the Friends (PTA) of QEH school so has a great interest in youth activities in and around the City.

Maria Nilsson, Treasurer

Maria is our most recent member of the board and blog will be coming soon.

Ruth Cochrane

Ruth works as the Community Development Coordinator at Hannah More Primary School. She first came across acta when her daughter participated in one of our youth theatres. Ruth works tirelessly to support parents from the school to make their own original theatre with acta, and to engage new audiences for acta shows.

Russ Davidson

Local resident, former acta employee and member of the community choir. Experienced in building management, event organisation, health and safety, Russ supports acta with the management of building and facilities.

Dr Kerrie Schaefer

Kerrie works as a Senior Lecturer in Drama on the Applied Theatre course at the University of Exeter. Kerrie has studied, taught and written about acta’s work in recent years, and worked in partnership with acta to deliver our seminar series and international festivals.

Barbara Dettering

Retired Social Work manager and member of the ‘Windrush Generation’, Barbara brings a wealth of experience to acta’s board. One of the founder members of St Paul’s Carnival; one of the ‘Seven Saints’ of St Pauls; and a member of Malcolm X Elders Theatre Co.

Alex Bishop

Deputy Director at International National Trusts Organisation. Based in Bristol, Alex has a personal interest in community theatre, as well as experience in fundraising, bid-writing, finance, project development.

Mohammed Kamal

An acta participant, Kamal is a refugee from Sudan, now with settled status in UK. He studied to degree level in Sudan / France, and is currently studying for a PhD in the UK. Activist for Sudanese Community. Member of People sub-committee.

Stef Brammar

Former Chair. Participant. Retired arts manager, now local activist and Secretary for Way Out West, neighbourhood project. Experience in project management, fundraising, local matters.

Maya Khatun

Participant and Foundation drama worker (2017-18); Maya has lived experience of Asian community and is a champion for single parenthood.

Charly Williams

Senior Public Health Specialist at Bristol City Council, working in the children and young people’s team, Charly brings a healthcare and educational perspective to the board. A local resident with a keen interest in theatre, Charly is part of our acta sub-committee “people”.

Amy Steele

National Health worker, participant and local resident.