Trustees & Supporters

Our Trustees

  • Nick Whiteley - Co-Chairman of the Board

    Over the last 20 years, Nick has held a variety of posts at the board level within the software industry focused on Workforce Management and HR. The key to his success has been understanding the differing values, cultures, and objectives of each industry, whether public, including academic and healthcare, or commercial. In each sector, there is a need to engage with staff and value the key contributions they make, which are their time and their skills. For organisations and employees alike, balancing the timing of hours worked to gain maximum benefit for each party is becoming a key challenge for forward-facing organisations. There is growing recognition that aligning staff times to demand is more valuable, and in the same way, employees attach a greater value to certain times off duty than to others. Organisations that converge on these two objectives become highly successful with high staff retention.

  • Hussain Ahmed

    Hussain is one of our trustees who has children studying at the school and can often be found working on a volunteer basis at our sites, connecting with the students, teachers, and parents. Many of his parents now know him personally. He helps to strongly represent the voices of the parents and students.

    Though Hussain has had little exposure to the performance arts as a business, he brings a wealth of experience from a rich and varied background throughout several different industries and companies, from startups to the biggest companies in the world. This knowledge and experience inject a tapestry of thought-provoking input and successful solutions from the commercial world. He also provides different viewpoints on the charity simply because he has little exposure to the performance arts as a business.

  • Anastasia Petrova

    Anastasia Petrova is passionate about supporting children and making a difference in their lives through performing arts, and therefore all the work that the Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School does for the local London community is so close to her heart. Working full-time as a Regional Director at a Software company, Anastasia has been volunteering as a Non-Executive Director on the Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School’s Board since 2014, and in June 2020, she also joined the Fiorentini Foundation team as a volunteer. When asked why she’s been so generous with her time helping the School and the Foundation, she said, “There is so much we try to do in our lives to make a small change. But by doing a very small thing, one can make a huge difference. That’s what helping Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School is all about. And I can’t wait until we are allowed to do our Charity numbers again. It’s a life-changing experience!”

  • Richard Fogelman, NSI CEO

    Richard Fogelman became Chief Executive of NSI, the UK’s premier Certification Body specialising in the security and fire safety sectors, in March 2023. Before joining NSI, Richard spent almost a decade as CEO of a leading national charity supporting bereaved young people. He has a law degree and over 15 years of management experience, having worked in London’s financial markets at numerous banks and financial firms.

  • Sammie Squire

    A lifelong love of dance, theatre, and music led me to a rewarding marketing career in culture, and I truly believe in the transformative power of the arts. I love being part of a charity that enables more children to access the performing arts and gives them a platform that can unleash their imaginations and allow them to express themselves.

    I live in North London with my gregarious 12-year-old son and slothful 12-year-old cat. I love dancing, running, socialising, experimenting with food, discovering new art, theatre, music in our brilliant capital, and artists at festivals, and getting lost in a good book or a radio drama.

  • Zoe Sadler

    Zoe Sadler was a student at the Anna Fiorentini Theatre & Film School for 10 years before graduating with a First Class degree in English and Theatre from the University of Bristol. She was an original member of the Performance Troupe and has performed at the Hackney Empire and Broadway Theatre. She is also a trustee of the Fiorentini Foundation. Zoe has ambitions to work in theatre production and has recently assistant-directed a one-woman show for The One Festival at The Space Theatre in London.

Our Ambassadors

  • Tahj Miles

    Tahj started attending the Anna Fiorentini School when he was 7 and shortly after landed his first professional role in the West End’s Oliver! (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane). Following this, he went on to perform in The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre), Matilda the Musical (Cambridge Theatre), Emil & the Detectives (National Theatre), and Bugsy Malone (Lyric, Hammersmith). While a teenager, Tahj then moved into TV, landing roles in the hit CBBC series Class Dismissed and the spinoff series Flunked. As a young adult, Tahj’s acting career is going from strength to strength, having landed a role in Death in Paradise and working with Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen on the 2020 film Anthology: Small Axe: Mangrove.

  • Andy Lopata

    A specialist in professional relationships and networking for over 20 years, Andy Lopata was called ‘one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists’ by the Financial Times and ‘a true master of networking’ by the Independent and Forbes.com. Andy, a very experienced international speaker, is the author of five books, has been quoted in several other business books, and is regularly quoted in the international press. Andy is a Fellow and a Board Member of the Professional Speaking Association UK & Ireland (PSA) and a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute, as well as a Master of the Institute for Sales Management. He is also one of just 26 recipients of the PSA’s top honour, the ‘Award of Excellence’.

    “I loved acting as a youngster, even being invited to audition for the RSC when I was about 14. I lost the passion too early and wish I had continued on the path, but the skills I learned over those few years at drama school have stood me in good stead as a speaker and business owner. The confidence and presence of performing arts gifts to children are invaluable, and it means a lot to me to support attempts to make them accessible to all.”.

  • Jermain Jackman

    Jermain Jackman, now most famously known for winning The Voice UK 2014, is an Anna Fiorentini Young Ambassador and former student of the drama school. Before teaming up with Will.I.Am, Jermain was spotted by AF staff members Anna and Rhiannon at a local talent competition in Hackney. After being blown away by his voice and performance, he was offered a place at the school and studied singing, dancing, and acting for the screen. Jermain performed with his classmates at the Hackney Empire and again wowed the crowds.

    As a supporter of his local community, Jermain joined the Anna Fiorentini Performance Troupe and performed at community events and for corporate companies, including a performance at the Emirates Stadium.

    The Anna Fiorentini staff are all extremely proud of Jermain’s achievements and know that he will be a huge success in the music industry. Jermain continues to support the work of the drama school and the Fiorentini Foundation and offers support and experience to our current students who look up to him.

Our Supporters

  • Louise Woodhead

    Louise is a C-Suite marketer with 20 years of experience working for world-leading corporations, including Goldman Sachs, EY, and Freshfields. She’s also an entrepreneur, having conceived and developed two start-ups in hospitality and fashion e-commerce. Louise is the co-founder of Tall and Well, which delivers business transformation and corporate wellness. She is also a model (winner of TopModel 2019, represented by BAME Models), a dancer and performer (specialising in jazz and cabaret), and a student actor.

  • Attila Kent

    Attila Kent originally trained in the field of Hotel Management and worked in the travel and hospitality industries but was drawn to the world of acting later in life, where he had a 10-year career mainly in theatre with some small television and film roles. He was then drawn into the field of Market research but is currently retraining to be a counsellor. He firmly believes in what the Fiorentini Foundation is doing and its goals to open access to the arts to those from less privileged backgrounds.

  • Mary Thorne

    Mary is a former Headteacher of a primary school in London, where she was Headteacher for ten years. She now works as a Primary Adviser for the London Diocesan Board for Schools.

    Mary is passionate about the role the performing arts play in enabling all children to flourish. During her headship, drama, art, and music were central to the school’s curriculum, along with sports and having access to the great outdoors. Mary believes that it is about exposing children during their primary years to as many experiences as possible so that they can make well-informed decisions about their future paths.

    Mary has been an avid supporter of the Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School from the very beginning.

    In Mary’s own words. “The Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School not only provides an excellent platform for all to excel in the performing arts but also provides a safe and inclusive space, open to all, and values every member so that they can grow in confidence to be the very best that they can be.

  • Mona Rangar

    Mona, a Law graduate and seasoned city recruiter, is deeply passionate about workplace inclusion and diversity initiatives, particularly those that promote social mobility and access to education.

    While she was always interested in the performing arts and encouraged to play music as a youngster, her father was determined that she become a violin virtuoso. Mona hilariously admits that she found the whole endeavour as challenging as untangling a nest of angry squirrels. In a stroke of genius, she decided to bring joy to an underprivileged student by gifting them her shiny new instrument, saving herself from the torment of future lessons. It was a win-win situation—no more screechy sounds, and a grateful student with a ticket to musical stardom (or at least a few entertaining jam sessions)!

    On completion of her Masters, her desire to work with children led her on a personal quest to find a social cause focused on nurturing young minds where she could volunteer her spare time. By chance, she was introduced to Anna, and from that moment on, she became a dedicated volunteer, fundraiser, and eventually Director of the school.

    Volunteering at the school has provided Mona with a fantastic and unique opportunity to collaborate with immensely talented and creative children of all ages. These young individuals possess an insatiable hunger to chase their dreams in the fast-paced and competitive world of performing arts. Throughout her professional career, Mona’s involvement at the school has cultivated a strong interest in supporting and mentoring young performers, contributing significantly to her own personal and professional growth. The experience has been character-building and thoroughly enjoyable, allowing her to contribute to a valuable cause in the community while relishing in countless inspiring and fun-filled performances throughout the year.

  • Oscar Kugblenu

    Oscar has over 25 years of experience in audio postproduction and has developed an extensive pool of contacts, making him one of the most highly influential and connected individuals in his field. In 2009, Oscar was the Business Development manager and social media manager for Grand Central Recording Studios. In 2016, he joined Scramble Sound (now No. 8) as a Business Development Manager, bringing in new clients like BBC, Avios, and Buster. In 2017, Oscar launched Racso Consultancy, which specialises in business development and marketing strategies and undertakes social media management with a particular interest and focus on the creative service industries. Oscar is also now a member of Anna Fiorentini’s Stage & the City’s Acting Company.

Thanks to the following companies who have supported us:

And the Culra Charitable Trust.

TESTIMONIALS

“I love attending Anna Fiorentini performing arts school. I enjoy all the classes and making friends with other pupils.”

Cyna, Bursary Student

“You learn so much and so many new opportunities start to open up right away! The teachers are nice and every lesson...

Nikhil, Bursary Student

“My son loves to tell people about the experience of performing to an audience at the Hackney Empire and how thrilling it...

Wendy, Parent of Bursary Student

“The teachers are lovely, kind and caring people and they really help with everything. In the lessons pupils, like myself, always have...

Maya, Bursary Student

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LATEST NEWS

The David Hill Bursary

1 Mar 2024

The Fiorentini Foundation is delighted to be able to offer a new scholarship for a place at the Anna Fiorentini Theatre & Film School....

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Two Wins: The Anna Fiorentini Performing Arts School wins Social Enterprise of the year and Community Business 2024 Awards

13 Feb 2024

On Wednesday, February 1, The Anna Fiorentini Performing Arts School won Social Enterprise of the Year for the Great British Businesswoman Awards. Then again,...

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