We are committed to making our audiences as wonderfully diverse as our city. We recognise that the many communities in the city are not always reflected in our audiences. To help us engage with the wider community and to ensure that the Grand Theatre is a truly accessible and welcoming destination for all, we are working with a dedicated team of community Ambassadors.
South Asian Ambassadors
Formed in 2018 the South Asian Ambassador team has helped increase audience attendance from within the local South Asian community by 20%, a figure which includes over 3,000 first time visitors to the Grand.
Chaired by Audience Development Consultant Hardish Virk, the team recently suggested and promoted the successful film screening of the Bollywood classic Devdas,
More exciting projects are in progress.
Dr Ranjit Khutan
Dr Ranjit Khutan is a playwright, screenwriter and author, and has had work performed on stage and screen since 1998; he is also Head of Department for Public Health at the University of Wolverhampton and has been able to align his interests in the arts with his Public Health background.
His academic research has focused on the use and effectiveness of the arts in public health practice, specifically examining how applied theatre practitioners can evaluate and articulate the health outcomes of their work in prisons. He continues to examine how the impact of the arts can be evidenced, measured and articulated across disciplines, and has developed a model for evaluating arts and health initiatives that he shares through academic papers and at conferences. As a writer he is interested in examining issues that marginalised/socially excluded communities face (e.g. LGBT and BAME), and how the arts can encourage social change.
In his role as Ambassador for the Grand Theatre he aims to support work that engages Black and Minority Ethnic young people with the theatre and encourage the use of the theatre to maintain people’s health & wellbeing.
He has worked as a theatre reviewer and as an arts consultant/evaluator; assisting arts organisations in their development, engagement and evaluation plans. He also assists the Royal Shakespeare Company as an audience development ambassador.
Jaivant Patel is an award winning independent dance artist, cultural producer, choreographer and creative consultant based in Wolverhampton. He is artistic director of Jaivant Patel Dance.
Jaivant Patel Dance makes work that ‘challenges the complexities of inherited notions, perceptions and stereotypes surrounding British-Asian identity.’
South Asian dance forms, aesthetics and principles inform and influence the creation of contemporary work targeted at diverse audiences.
Jaivant Patel is the first announced Associate Artist of Arena Theatre, Associate Artist at Midlands Arts Centre and a member of the board of directors for Dance4.
He is a former Independent Artistic & Quality Assessor for Arts Council England and member of One Dance UK.
Jaivant Patel is also artistic director of Jai Jash Dance, a non-profit voluntary organisation under the umbrella of Jaivant Patel Dance.
- 2019 & 2018 National Diversity Awards Nominee – Positive Role Model in LGBT Category.
- Named on India Gazette London’s 2018 ‘High & Mighty’ Powerlist of individuals ‘you should know’ in the UK-India Corridor.
- Jai Jashn Dance being a 2017 recipient of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award For Voluntary Service.
- Selected by One Dance UK for Dancer’s Mentoring & Choreographers Observerships Programmes(2015/16), in being recognised and identified as a future leader in the arts.
Peter Chand is an award-winning international Storyteller, constantly in demand for his unique retelling of tales from his motherland, India.
Born and bred in Wolverhampton, he has shared his stories across Britain and has also performed in Norway, France, Croatia, Austria, Canada, and Singapore, amongst other countries.
He is honoured to be one of the Ambassadors for Community Engagement for the Grand Theatre, as he firmly believes in the intrinsic value of art being able to unite people. Regardless of people’s backgrounds or ethnic origins, he believes art has the potential to enrich us all.
Peter is also part of the organising team of Festival at the Edge; the oldest storytelling festival in England, which has a fine reputation for showcasing some of the best storytellers from around the world.
He is currently Storyteller in Residence at The Story Museum in Oxford and has been made one of the 100 Masters (by Creative Black Country) for his storytelling services in helping to bring cultures together through his stories.
“Peter transports the listener into his world with remarkable energy and great expression… I was spellbound” Kim Normanton Producer BBC Radio Four
Pushpa Alexander, has lived and worked in the Black Country for most of her life and has a keen interest in the arts and theatre. A mom of 3, she is the founder of Headz Up Business, an award-winning event organisor with a proven record of hosting successful events on digital, social media marketing and women in business events.
Pushpa Alexander, has a strong sales and marketing background, with over 25yrs experience within the Exhibition industry with B2C & B2B Trade Shows. Over the years Pushpa Alexander through her company Headz Up Business has brought together a line-up of some of the most respected experts Internationally and within the UK in digital, social media, marketing to create memorable events which provide result driven practical support for entrepreneurs and business owners.
Pushpa in addition to the coveted role as Ambassador for Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, she is currently the Ambassador for The Birmingham Awards and the Midland Food & Drinks Awards.
Jay Singh was born into a Indian migrant family in the late 1960`s in Wolverhampton. He has always been a leader & trail blazer from being the first Head Boy at his Inner City Comprehensive School from an Indian background, to being President of the Asian Society at University. Then went on to train as an Accountant in London. Here he was part of the team that organised Cultural Events during the whole year. He has always been keen on the Arts & Culture from South Asia. While serving in the Territorial Army, went on to gain his Commission from the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (Where Prince William & Harry graduated) and headed up a successful National press campaign to recruit more South Asians into the Army. Now he is a supporter of local events in Wolverhampton with his strong business contacts, all rooted in Wolverhampton.
Ram Singh MSc, IDPM(Cambs) FCMI MIET MAPM BSc(Hons)
Executive | Project Professional | Ambassador | Speaker | Mentor & Coach
Ram has a Master’s Degree in Engineering, MoP ®, MSP ®, PRINCE2 ® & PTLLS. His first degree was in Mathematics. He also has a certified International Post Graduate Diploma (IDPM) in Project Management from Cambridge University.
At University he organised several cultural events including world famous Indian bands Alaap, Heera and Gurdas Maan among others.
As an ‘Enterprise Advisor’ for the Khalsa Academy he also supports the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community.
Being a ‘STEM’ Ambassador helps him to encourage the younger generation to make a difference in Wolverhampton. This in turn introduces them to local Arts & Cultural Events.
I have been a Drama Ambassador for The Grand Theatre Wolverhampton for many years developing their drama audiences within the local communities, this role has enabled me to introduce new audiences to The Grand Theatre . The enthusiasm working with these audiences has inspired me to continue this journey to achieve more with the Grand Theatre and reaching out to the wider audience.
Neena Puri BA(Hons) Business Studies FCIPD
Neena Puri is a mom of 2 with 23 years retail experience in the capacity as a HR Manager with Waitrose. Her role includes Diversity & Inclusion and strengthening links within the community. As an Ambassador for the Grand Theatre she has been able to encourage more members of the community and partners within the business to enrich their lives and try out the arts.
Having worked as a Community Governor for a Local School it has highlighted the importance to increase awareness and invest in Arts and Culture from an early stage. Volunteering at Adventist Church has given her the opportunity to engage with the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic groups to encourage representation and wider community participation, resulting in building long term relationships with the Grand.
Black African and Caribbean Ambassadors
The newly formed Black African and Caribbean Ambassador team came together this September (2021) with the purpose of increasing audience attendance and community engagement within the local black community.
Chaired by Audience Development Consultant Tonia Daley-Campbell, the teams efforts have already seen considerable success, helping to secure Rush Theatre Company’s largest ever single performance attendance for upcoming show RUSH – A Joyous Jamaican Journey.
In addition to promoting performances at the Grand, the group are also working hard to increase community engagement, with a number of exciting projects currently under discussion.
Audience Development Consultant
Tonia Daley-Campbell is an actress, award-winning writer, published author, director/casting director, and producer. Tonia has been working in the creative industries for over 21 years and throughout her creative career, she has been committed to discovering hidden talent from across the West Midlands. She has cast many short films, theatre projects, and the TV Pilot Lucid The Dreamwalker. She has directed plays in theatres across the UK including, The Birmingham Hippodrome, National Theatre London and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. In 2018 Tonia won an inspirational woman award for her work with young people from marginalized and disaffected communities, helping them to gain careers within the creative industries. Tonia has toured in theatres across the country and internationally, whilst also starring in TV, films and commercials. Tonia’s acting credits include: Gazebo Theatre’s Wanted, Sorry No Coloureds No Irish No Dogs and Jamaica 50. BBC Doctors, Prisoners Wives, BBC drama Danny and the human zoo, short films Good Hair, Roadside Killer, Black Hill and award-winning BBC Creatives, The Boy shaped space. Tonia is one of the directors of TV, Film and Theatre production company Themis Creative limited with Business partner and friend Oraine Johnson. Tonia is Currently the new Audience Development consultant for The Grand Theatre Wolverhampton which she absolutely loves.
Pamilerin Beckley is Birmingham-born digital communication professional with an insatiable passion for storytelling. As the Architect of Stories of The Haven, Wolverhampton, she engages with various stakeholders to explore how their stories can be told, through digital mediums, as a catalyst for change.
She spent her early years in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where she developed a keen interest in advocacy for women’s rights and the betterment of the girl child. As a former woman’s magazine editor, she was exposed to and became fully cognizant of the stereotypes and stigma associated with many gender-based societal issues and how the power dynamics between men and women often leave women at a disadvantage.
As a freelancer, she supports small to medium women-led businesses and organisations with simple, affordable but effective design and digital solutions. She has developed brand identities, designed and implemented marketing and communication strategies, which have improved consumer engagement and secured media coverage in leading media outlets like CNN and The Huffington Post.
Sophie Clayton also known as Sofie Anné is a young singer/performer born and raised in Wolverhampton. From a young age Sophie has been surrounded by music with influences from her Aunty Beverley aka Wolverhampton’s own Soul Queen Beverley Knight.
Sophie also shared a love for theatre during her time at Aldersley High School playing lead role in both Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ playing ‘Killer Queen’ and the theatre classic ‘Grease’ where she played ‘Sandy’. Sophie attended Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) which is the sister school to the Brit school in London, where she completed a 2 year music course. In 2016, Sophie attended BIMM Manchester where she excelled and completed her degree in Professional Musicianship: Vocals.She performs for exclusive luxury events around the UK and internationally including destinations such as St.Tropez, Thailand and California. Sophie has worked with artists Beverley Knight, Marisha Wallace, Dueted with Josh Daniel From X Factor and has also made several TV appearances on BBC Songs Of Praise and The Royal Variety Show. Sophie is very excited to be an ambassador for The Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and aims to bring more of the Black community and youth into the Grand and put Wolverhampton back on the map!’
Junior Hemans is an experienced consultant having worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for ten years up to 2011, and now working as an independent consultant. Junior is also a non executive director for the Royal Wolverhampton (5years) and Walsall Healthcare (Feb 2021)NHS Trusts, where he serves as Chair of both Trust’s People and Organisation Commitees. Junior is also Chair of Tuntum Housing Association since 2015 and has successfully led the organisation through a period of growth and significant development. Junior is also a Prince’s Trust mentor and a property developer/landlord of more to than 20 years.
Junior previously studied at the University of Wolverhampton, graduating with a Business Studies Degree and a Masters Degree (MBA) in Business Administration. Junior is now also a visiting lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton Business School, where he has lectured for the past ten years, lecturing in strategic management, marketing, business operations and leadership, sharing his wide business experiences with the business leaders of the future.
Junior is a successful business entrepreneur, having formed a door supervisors training business with 2 business partners, whilst studying at the university. The training delivered led to Wolverhampton having a very successful night life and being nationally voted No 1 night life in the mid 1990s. He also went on to form a nationally recognised education company teaching children in care, employing 21 teachers and managing two out-sourced schools, through two successful Ofsted inspections.
Junior is a strong community ally, having previously managed and led a number of community organisations and was instrumental in the acquisition and formation of the Heritage Centre based in Whitmore Reans Wolverhampton.
Nathan John was born right here in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton. He left at age 16 to pursue a career in the British Army, and over the course of 20 years as both a Soldier and attendance at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, as an Officer, he served on operations in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan, Germany and culminated in a high-profile role in NATO. He has a Masters degree from Kings College London, and Batchelor degrees from Northumbria Business School and the Open University. Nathan is also a member of the Institute of Directors and CIPD. A natural entrepreneur and has built businesses, including a property portfolio and media company, and was shortlisted as New Leaver of the Year at the Ex-Forces in Business Awards 2020. Now an author and TEDxl speaker, his debut book, Decision Point is a culmination of his personal development journey and a synthesis of his best lessons for success. Nathan has fused practical human psychology with his own research to support and develop colleagues and clients to achieve their own successes. Keen to support the next generation, Nathan is also a Multiverse Mentor. Former Prime Minster’s son’ Euan Blair’s brainchild to create a diverse group of future leaders, where Nathan supports Directors and business leaders in leadership and management. Nathan is thrilled to be able to work with the Grand Theatre to develop the Black/Caribbean audience and promoting the theatre as a venue for all. Inspired by the words of Maya Angelou’ Nathan believes when you learn you should teach and when you get you should give. He hopes to have a positive and lasting impact in his home community.
Carl McGregor is a Wolverhampton lad, born and bred. As a child he started playing Keyboards and Drums in his Father’s church. He has been a professional musician for forty years and has travelled to various parts of the world. He has worked with a wide variety of artistes such as, Sir Cliff Richard, the late great Roy Castle, Michael Bolton, Gospel legend Andrae Crouch, and Soul diva, our very own Beverley Knight. Carl has also over the years worked with young people in institutions such as schools, churches, and even prisons, helping them to realise their potential.
Simone is a proud Wolverhampton girl, after graduating from University of Wolverhampton she went onto work in journalism starting out at BBC Sport. Simone is an award-winning video journalist having previously worked for BBC News and BBC Sport making digital videos. “I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and giving a voice to the voiceless.” She is currently an Assistant Producer for a production company working with clients such as FIFA, UEFA and The FA. In her spare time Simone loves F1, football, food and to travel. When asked to be an ambassador for The Grand Theatre Simone said “It was a great honor to be asked by one of the biggest landmarks in Wolverhampton to not only represent them but also represent the black community and draw a more diverse and younger audience to come to The Grand.