Board of Directors

Theatre and Dance NI is governed by a board of non-executive directors. Board membership is reviewed annually and any opportunities to join are posted here.

Louise Rossington 

Having worked in the arts sector for nearly 20 years, I decided to go back to my roots and the sector in which I trained, and started my own business in the agricultural sector, which has been running successfully now for nearly 3 years. I have over 30 years of business experience in finance, strategic planning, arts and creative management, policy development and governance. I’m also the Chair of Governors at Mill Strand Integrated Primary School in Portrush where both of our children went to school. Life is extremely busy running the business from home in Ballycastle with my other half, Francis; I’m ‘head cook and bottle washer’; Mum and chief mediator between Toby (16) and Tilly (13); and also ‘Mum’ to rescue dogs – Ollie and Jess, and cats – Ginger, Flash, Garfield and Coco. My other passion is the garden and spend as much time outdoors as I can, either in our polytunnel, growing fruit and veg, or outside trying to keep on top of the weeds that blow in from the surrounding countryside.


Adam Knight

Adam fell in love with Northern Ireland more than a decade ago and has steadfastly refused to leave! He began his career at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing and Chichester Festival Theatre before training as an actor with the National Youth Music Theatre, National Youth Theatre and at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He is a graduate of Ulster University.

He has appeared on stage in London, on Broadway and in Blood Brothers for Bill Kenwright. Recipient of the SOLT / Stage One New Producer’s Bursary, his production of Samuel Adamson’s Some Kind of Bliss played in London and New York and received a Whatsonstage Award nomination.

He is currently Theatre Director at Crewe Lyceum, Cheshire’s landmark Edwardian theatre, part of HQ Theatres & Hospitality Ltd and the Qdos Entertainment Group. His career includes senior roles at Grand Opera House Belfast, ICC Belfast Waterfront & Ulster Hall; Sherman Theatre, Cardiff; and, for the Ambassador Theatre Group, at Edinburgh Playhouse, Trafalgar Studios and Savoy Theatre, winning the London Theatre Manager of the Year Award.

He is Trustee of Bruiser Theatre Company, the Evelyn Norris Trust (one of the Combined Theatrical Charities) and of Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity. He is Chair of Crewe Cultural Forum and member of the Town Board steering development of place brand with Hemingway Design ahead of major HS2 infrastructure investment. He was a member of the Desire Lines steering committee set up to consult and inform Edinburgh City Council’s new cultural policy.

Adam attended the Buckingham Palace Reception for the Achievement of Young Adults at the invitation of Her Majesty, The Queen and completed the London Marathon raising over £5,000 for The Samaritans. He plays for Chester Centurions RUFC, supports Cliftonville FC and is a season ticket holder at Ulster Rugby. He has a passion for contemporary dance and, in particular, the work of Matthew Bourne, Northern Ballet, Gary Clarke and Nederlands Dans Theater.

Claire Murray

Claire is an energetic and experienced leader with 15 years’ experience in marketing, strategy and sales working for Coca-Cola, Heineken and the National Trust in Ireland, Northern Ireland and London.  She has always had a passion for theatre, and in 2014 set up a production company, Blunt Fringe Productions, specialising in nurturing professional musical theatre in Northern Ireland. Three years ago, she moved into working full-time in the arts sector, first at The MAC Belfast and currently Head of Development and Marketing at the Lyric Theatre.

No stranger to the stage herself, Claire has been performing in community theatre since school, and later with the R&R Dublin, St Agnes’ Choral Society Belfast and others. While living in London she was a member of the Twickenham Operatic Society which saw her perform as a leading lady at the prestigious Richmond Theatre.  Her ambition to appear on a West End stage “just once” came true just before she left London to move back home, when she performed at a gala concert at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the largest theatre in the West End.

Claire lives in Belfast with her husband John and their three children, Maggie, Elsie and Flora.

Linda Harley 

Linda is a chartered accountant who works for the Department for Communities.  She has a keen interest in dance of all forms, and teaches Scottish Country Dancing in Lisburn.  At weekends, she can be found at park runs up and down the country, or walking her 2 dogs.

Karin Jeffrey

Following many years at the top level in Media and Events, locally, nationally and internationally, Karin moved home to Belfast 9 years ago and has been working on a freelance basis as a charity fundraising consultant, mostly within the Arts sector. She is currently Fundraising Manager, on a freelance basis with Belfast International Arts Festival.

A board member of the Institute of Fundraising NI and Pintsized Productions, Karin is very much immersed in the local arts scene and is also fanatical about sport in general, rugby, soccer and Formula 1 in particular.

Cheryl O’Dwyer

Cheryl O’Dwyer has been working  YouthAction’s Rainbow Factory for the past 18 years as the Drama & Dance Education Officer. She has directed and choreographed more shows than she can remember and frankly some she’d rather forget!! Cheryl is extremely proud to say that her professional career is a mix of educating others and performing herself! She would love to say that in her spare time she enjoys reading but the truth is it’s drinking wine!

Fleur Mellor

Trained at the London Studio Centre (BA Hons Theatre Dance). My life as a professional dancer working in the commercial, corporate and theatrical sectors has informed my career as a Choreographer and Creative Producer to date. My emphasis is on live work with a strong dance/theatre element, be it a musical, fashion, or corporate market.

I work independently as well as being the co-producer and choreographer for Peter Corry Productions.

A champion for the dance industry, I really enjoy a good cup of tea/gin and tonic. I’m a massive fan of anything sci-fi and am a terrible gardener. I marry people as a humanist wedding celebrant and am definitely a cat person (although some dogs are cute). I’m half Mauritian so I love spicy food and I’m always up for a good feed. Although tech is a brilliant tool I love paper and pen and you’ll never part me from a paper diary……..never!

Noel Griffin

A native of Galway, Noel studied Modern History and Politics at Queen’s University where he also served as Vice President Welfare in the Students’ Union. He has been a member of the NI Civil Service for more years than he’d like to admit and has worked in a range of posts including Vocational Education and Training and the NI Skills Strategy. More recently he has been working on social inclusion and equality with a focus on gender.

He also spent 5 years in the NI Executive’s office in Brussels where he worked with the Arts Council of NI to develop the “Brussels Platform” with the aim of promoting the NI artists in Europe. He is the Returning Officer for the National Union of Students NI (NUS-USI). Noel is also a board member for Amadan Ensemble, and was previously vice-chair of the board of Dance Resource Base.

An avid supporter of the Arts, he is known to tread the boards from time to time. He has competed at national level in Irish Set-Dancing and is rather a little too fond of vanilla ice-cream.

Clare Novaes

Clare Novaes established The Clare Novaes School of Ballet in 1998

Clare holds a Licentiate from The Royal Academy of Dance, London; BA Hons in Anthropology with Ethnomusicology from Queens University Belfast.  She was Director of Dance at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre London, a teacher at Musika Cenro de Arts, Brazil and a guest Lecturer in Classical Ballet at Ulster University.

Inspired by the unique qualities of ballet for lifelong wellbeing Clare continues as Artistic Director and teacher at her Ballet School which encompasses classes for 2 year old children to adults of all ages and levels. Clare now mentors student teachers for the RAD. Clare has a full timetable of classes online at the minute, which includes silver swan students in their late 70’s zooming into their virtual ballet class!

Clare launched during her school’s 20th anniversary celebrations in 2018 including retreats to Covent Garden, Morocco and Ireland.

As an actress Clare has enjoyed many fuzzy background screen appearances with Extras NI.

In her quest for the perfect aesthetically straight leg alignment Clare continues to horse ride; her theory being ballet turns the leg out and riding turns it in. When exercising her horses she encourages her dogs to follow in line and aspires to have her daughter’s pygmi goats bouncing in to complete the choreography. 

Richard Lavery

Susan Picken