Grand Theatre Facade


Professor Sir Geoff Hampton - Board of Trustees

Professor Sir Geoff Hampton


Professor Sir Geoff Hampton was the first recent recipient of a Knighthood in recognition of his services to education (awarded in 1998). This followed the transformation under his leadership of the first ever ‘failing secondary school’ into a successful and oversubscribed establishment. KPMG requested that Professor Sir Geoff should become their inaugural Chair of Education Leadership.

He is frequently asked to comment upon educational matters by the media and has appeared as a panel member upon ‘Question Time’, Any Questions, and the Dimbleby programme. He was the first appointee to the ‘SMART’ initiative, which was launched by the government to raise standards in nominated schools nationwide. He also acted as Chief Adviser for the Black Country Challenge which sought to raise standards in schools throughout the region.

More recently as Deputy Vice Chancellor, at the University of Wolverhampton, Sir Geoff’s portfolio included responsibility for Academic Schools and Departments. He also established a Multi Academy Trust on behalf of the University.

To mark the new Millennium the Prime Minister hosted a series of six lectures upon key topics at Downing Street. Professor Sir Geoff was given the honour of being asked to present the Education Lecture to Mr and Mrs Blair and their invited guests, choosing the topic of ‘What Makes a Good School’. He has subsequently addressed international conferences around the world and has acted as advisor to many governments, amongst which are Jamaica, Chile, the UAE and New Zealand. He recently opened an International Leadership Symposium in Japan.

Duncan Jones

Duncan Jones

Vice Chair

Hailing from a Black Country family, Duncan was born in Birmingham and grew up in Walsall. He has worked as a journalist, mostly for the BBC, for more than 30 years, firstly in sports news and more recently in local and regional news in the West Midlands. As a sports journalist, Duncan reported on major events around the world and says his most memorable assignment was to South Africa for the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Duncan is an active volunteer and campaigner on behalf of Alzheimer’s Society, the country’s largest dementia charity. He is a former Trustee of the Society and is also on the Board of Sport United Against Dementia. Alongside his work at The Grand, Duncan is also a director of the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust.

Duncan’s first visit to The Grand was in 1969 for the pantomime Dick Whittington and he has been a lover of theatre ever since. Although never a performer, he has close links to the West Bromwich Operatic Society and is the Society’s current President.

As well as spending time visiting the theatre and listening to music, Duncan enjoys watching all sports. Whisper it quietly round here, but Duncan is a lifelong supporter of West Bromwich Albion.

Phil Barnett - Board of Trustees

Philip Barnett

Philip was born locally and has been based in Wolverhampton for the majority of his working life.

He worked for Marston’s (previously known as Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries) for over 40 years during which time he held several senior roles in various parts of the organisation including Brewing, Logistics, Export, Sales and Retail. He is a qualified brewer and on retiring was made a Life Member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling for his services to the Brewing Industry.  He retired from the role of Operations Director in 2015.

He was a member of the Board of WV1 from 2010 to 2015 and helped deliver a successful ‘Yes’ vote for a Business Improvement District (BID) for Wolverhampton. This was the first Retail BID in the Black Country.  Philip was also Chair of Wolverhampton Business Champions from 2012 to 2017 and now represents the Grand Theatre within this group.

He is a key supporter of the City and actively works with the Council, local politicians, MP’s and other key stakeholders to make Wolverhampton a better place to invest, work, live and visit.

In September 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Wolverhampton for his services to the City.

Ben Bourton-Payne

Ben Bourton-Payne

Ben was introduced to the wonderful world of theatre as a teenager – and performed in and supported backstage for many productions at the Concordia Theatre, a completely volunteer-run theatre in his hometown of Hinckley, Leicestershire.

Several decades on, Ben is now a lifelong fan and supporter of theatre.

For over 20 years, Ben has worked on the railway – including time at Midland Mainline (now East Midlands Railway), the Association of Train Operating Companies (now the Rail Delivery Group) and most recently at West Midlands Trains (who operate West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway).

He is currently working with the Great British Railways Transition Team, who are preparing for future rail reform and to deliver the Government’s ‘Plan for Rail’. Within their Customer team, Ben has a real passion for making sure that customers are at the heart of decision making, that they are listened to, and their needs considered in everything the railway does.

Married to his husband Mark, he now lives in Sedgley and calls the Black Country his adopted home. They both love to travel and explore the world, with many places ticked of a continually growing list of places they’d like to see and experience!

Ben is deeply passionate about fostering equality, diversity and inclusion – both within the workplace and the broader community. He has recently established the railway’s first ‘Inclusive Customer Experience Forum’ at a national level, where he leads the development of a strategic framework to help design customer experiences where everyone, regardless of their background or identity, feels safe, valued, and welcomed when they travel.

Ben is an advisor to the LGBT Foundation, a national charity which campaigns for a fair and equal society where all LGBT+ people and supports them to reach their full potential.

Samuel Hudman - Board of Trustees

Samuel Hudman

An experienced Project Management professional and Entrepreneur with a history of successful delivery in the construction, real estate and professional services industries. A graduate of Loughborough University with a BSc Hons degree in Construction Management.

Samuel spent the initial part of his career working for a large FTSE 250 listed UK Construction company, working on prestigious capital projects across the UK and Middle East before spending a period of time with Ernst & Young in London within their Programme Advisory team.  In 2018 Samuel set up the award winning Savesta Construction Ltd to focus on providing clients with an open and honest approach to construction main contracting across the West Midlands & Shropshire.

Originally from West Yorkshire, Sam now lives with his wife and son on the outskirts of Shrewsbury where he enjoys managing his small holding, undertaking property renovations, walking the dog and appreciates the occasional pint of real ale.

Luke Maskew - Board of Trustees

Luke Maskew

Luke is a qualified Solicitor, working as commercial Legal Counsel for Müller UK & Ireland Group. Luke’s role at Müller is focused on general commercial contracts, advertising compliance, intellectual property and steering the business with strategic business advice.

Luke obtained a degree in Criminal Justice & Law from the University of Wolverhampton where he stayed on to complete two post graduate courses; Law conversion and the Legal Practice Course. After graduating University Luke went on to work for Marston’s PLC as a property paralegal, before becoming the company’s first Trainee Solicitor in 2015. He qualified in-house at Marston’s and worked as a commercial solicitor, based at Wolverhampton’s very own Banks’s Park Brewery, before moving to Müller.

Luke has been supporting the Board of Trustees at the Theatre since February 2017, where he is undertaking the role of Company Secretary. Luke is eager to play a role in the revival of Wolverhampton and is excited for the City’s future.

Nuala O'Kane - Board of Trustees

Nuala O'Kane

Nuala O’Kane is Chair of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, which operates 4 community hospitals and also provides a range of community based health services for adults and children across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

She was the  CEO of the Donna Louise Trust Children’s Hospice in Stoke on Trent from 2007 until 2014. Prior to that she was the Director of Fundraising at Hope House Children’s Hospice from 1994 until 2007. Nuala worked in the voluntary sector for over 30 years for a number of different organisations.

Nuala was a Councillor on Telford and Wrekin Council for 12 years until 2003. She held a number of leading roles during this time and was the first person to be elected to the position of Speaker of the Council in 2002.

Nuala has a long and affectionate relationship with the Grand Theatre, going back many years. Her love of live theatre was borne out of her regular attendance at the Grand from a very young age as her Grandmother ran the sweetshop attached to the Theatre, which led to her lifelong passion for the performing arts.

Major Rana - Board of Trustees

Major Rana

Major’s home and work life has predominately been within and around the West Midlands. Being born in Wolverhampton and remaining in the local area all his life, he has always been keen to be involved in initiatives to support the regeneration of the local communities.

Major has held various senior positions influencing business strategy as a qualified Chartered Accountant (ICEAW), Corporate Treasurer (AMCT) and a Chartered Tax Advisor (CIOT).

Major graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a BA Hons in Business Studies & excelled in his professional qualifications.

Whilst at Ernst & Young, Major quickly developed to senior roles. He moved to, and has been with Muller since 2003, where he holds the position of Tax Director and has overall responsibility in leadership of the Tax and Customs departments. Major has gained substantial experience covering and excelling in the full range of Tax and Financing issues faced within large corporate organisations. His current role has allowed him to be a prominent figure and a source of expertise covering the plethora of tax issues across, and associated with, International Tax.

Major is married with two sons, all living and working within Wolverhampton.

In his spare time, Major is into his fitness and is a keen cyclist and runner. Always remaining active in sports activities for young adults in various capacities, including coach & treasurer for a local football club. He is a keen supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers, proudly holding a season ticket for many years.

Anne-Marie Brennan

Anne-Marie Brennan

Company Secretary

Born and educated in Wolverhampton, Anne-Marie qualified as a chartered accountant joining Price Waterhouse (PWC) where she spent over 6 years specialising in company taxation. Her first move into industry was to a large automotive group based in the Black Country with sites all over the UK. Whilst there she set up an Industry Tax Group comprised of similar individuals working in other listed companies around the Midlands. Through that group she found her next employment with The Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (Marstons), job sharing with the then tax manager. She took the opportunity to become Deputy to the Company Secretary and after a period of intensive study for the Chartered Secretary exams, she was appointed Company Secretary in 2004- a position she held for 18 years until stepping down in 2022. During that time she played a key supporting role in numerous transformational events in the company’s history – from its name change in 2007, through many acquisitions and corporate financing transactions to the disposal of the beer business to a new joint venture with Carlsberg UK. She also advised the Board on succession planning and was part of the team responsible for appointing two new Chairmen, a new CEO and CFO. She was one of the drivers of the Company evolving its Environmental, Social and Governance focus.

She qualified as CMI level 3 coach and mentor in 2013, keen to help colleagues develop and grow. In addition to her role at Marston’s, Anne-Marie served as a director and member of the education Committee at The Wolverhampton Grammar School for 6 years and also sat as an Advisory Board member to the University of Wolverhampton Business School for 9 years.

A lover of the outdoors, Anne-Marie enjoys playing tennis, walking, reading and the arts.