Looking through our website, you’re probably wondering how on earth we manage to do so much absolutely amazing work. The answer is simple – we have absolutely amazing people!
We’re lucky enough to have an incredible team of people on board at Chain Reaction. From our inspirational Artistic Director and founder Sarah Smit and our excellent core team of staff, to a wonderful, knowledgeable and supportive board, and our amazing pool of skilled freelance actors, workshop facilitators, videographers, photographers, street dance professionals, musicians and more. But every single person in Chain Reaction is completely committed to the work we do. With an explosion of energy and enthusiasm, our fabulous team help us deliver success after success after success (we could go on here, but you get the picture!).
So without further ado, may we introduce… (dah, dah, daaaaaah!)… the Core Team!
Artistic Director / Founder
Fiesty and fun, Sarah has extensive experience of working with young people (many of whom have emotional and behavioural problems) as a youth worker, workshop facilitator and music studio technician. Since 1994, she has produced and directed the majority of the company’s 20 theatre performances and video projects, acted in Chain Reaction shows and facilitated hundreds of workshops, whilst also managing to find time to fundraise and run the whole company! Phew! In her spare time (what spare time?!), Sarah is a qualified yoga teacher, undertakes professional acting jobs on stage and screen, is a self-confessed nutrition nerd, and is a fabulous mum to her two young children. How does she do it? Sarah, we salute you!
Senior Strategy & Project Manager
The ever-sunny Fliss first joined Chain Reaction in 2008, having graduated from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In those early years Fliss performed in, directed and tour managed several of our shows, before finding her passion for project development and strategic management. She worked as a key member of our delivery team, before taking the reins, as our General Manager in 2011. Her passion and energy for engaging young people is infectious. With over 10 years’ experience of project design, copy writing, marketing, financial management, delivery and evaluation; she’s one to watch. She’s even written some of Chain Reaction’s infamous show anthems! If you ask nicely; she might even give you a rendition!
Administrator and Project Manager
Bright and bubbly Jenny started working for Chain Reaction as an actress in 2002 after graduating from a 3 year Performing Arts course and very soon became our Tour Manager. She went on to pursue a career in hospitality management, however Jenny still couldn’t quite let go of Chain Reaction and started working for us again as a Freelance Workshop Facilitator. In 2015 she threw herself back in to everything ‘Chain Reaction’ taking a more active role in delivering projects with young people and office based project planning. Jenny brings fantastic people skills and has the best organisational skills in the business! She loves to keep in good health and ran her first London Marathon last year in record time and lives by the moto ‘life is better when you’re laughing’.
Becky is a proactive and positive individual with a love for all things theatre! She recently graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama where she trained as a theatre practitioner and produced an abundance of female-led work. Over the years, Becky has worked with children and young people extensively in a range of different environments; from teacher to director to workshop leader and assistant, she approaches each role with a passion for both education and theatre. Outside of Chain Reaction Becky is a keen baker and enjoys bringing healthy treats into the office! She’s really excited to utilise her organisational skills and knowledge at Chain Reaction whilst continuing to learn more and more!
But we couldn’t do everything we do without the support of some very special people that we like to call…
The Board of Trustees!
Mike Dyer MBE | Chair of the Board
Self-confessed ‘true Cockney’ Mike left school at 15 to support his family and eventually embarked on a career in the civil service. Mike always had a passion for helping others and alongside his professional career he’s spent the last 35 years supporting young people. From fundraising and building facilities for a local football club to re-starting the popular Stubbers Adventure Centre for young people in Upminster (after the local authority had closed it) which now has an annual turnover of 1.5 million! Mike offers Chain Reaction his expertise in management, fundraising and directorship, built up over a vast amount of years working with registered charities. Mike joined our board in 2001 and was (finally!) awarded his MBE for Services to Young People in 2012. Well done Mike!
Simon Kenwright | Vice Chair
Originally a Scouser and a lifelong Red turned East London local, Simon comes to us with a fantastic creative mind, the love of a good brew and exciting new approaches for organisational development. Once an actor and director he took these skills and moved into the realms of personal development. Working as a Creative Director for the last 15 years he’s helped a huge variety of clients, from major media organisations and banks to third sector and SMEs. Most recently Simon co-founded Agents Of Change to help organisations develop their culture and capability. His wealth of knowledge and experience within the creative industries and his expertise in copywriting, design, strategy, and brand engagement make him a real catch for Chain Reaction! Simon brings a passion for the arts, culture and change to the forefront of our work, he’s an all-round top guy and we’re lucky to have him.
Nikki Hinksman | Treasurer
The lovely Nikki worked for Chain Reaction Theatre Company for 5 years, firstly as an actress and specialist facilitator then as a Project Manager. She's always been hugely inspired by the work that the company does with young people and was thrilled to be asked to join the Board of Trustees. A real people person, Nikki now runs her own company, working with corporate organisations delivering personal development training and coaching. Her experience with Chain Reaction and within the corporate world means that she brings expertise in fundraising, proposal writing, managing a business and networking. Nikki is using her knowledge and connections to develop Chain Reactions relationships with corporate sponsors, to further diversify our funding streams. Thanks Nikki!
Anjali Rundle | Member
Multi-talented Anjali has a really varied set of very useful skills! Coming to us with a background in music, the arts, project management, working with young people, fundraising and events and marketing in the private, public and non-profit sectors.
She worked with Chain Reaction as a Senior Project Manager for 5 years and was instrumental in fundraising, marketing and strategic planning for the company and its projects throughout this time. She now works as a Senior Account Director for an award-winning creative marketing agency but having been a part of the core team for so long, Anjali is committed to the on-going success of Chain Reaction and is helping the company grow further through relationships with corporate companies and media agencies, and applying commercial ideas to our charity work. Good thinking, Anjali!
Lisa Stewart | Member
We first met Lisa when we performed various shows at her school in Barking, and she liked us so much that we had the pleasure of her company for her Year 10 work experience. Even aged 15, she was so committed and passionate about what we do that she soon took on the role of Young Person’s Representative on our Board of Trustees, and Lisa became a fully fledged member of the board in 2010 when she grew too old to be considered a ‘young person’ any more! Having graduated after 3 years at Masters Performing Arts College in Essex, Lisa is now a professional actor who has worked on a wealth of shows for young people. Lisa’s local knowledge of our target boroughs paired with her experience of young people’s theatre, both educational and commercial allow her to offer invaluable advice and guidance on our artistic programme.
Simone Watson | Member
Simone graduated from the University of Winchester with a First Class BA Hons in Performing Arts in 2006. She is an independent Theatre Director & Producer and works exclusively with new writing. Simone also works as a Freelance Performing Arts Practitioner, and specialises in devised theatre, and is Co - Creative Director of Theatre Company, The Galloping Cuckoos. She is currently employed as an Account Manager for the award winning Maynard Leigh Associates, who use Theatre, Performing Arts and Psychological practice to deliver specialist Leadership, Personal Development and Team Impact training in the commercial sector. Her extensive knowledge across multi-arts platforms both in the corporate and not for profit sector makes Simone a hugely useful member of our board.
John McEachern | Member
Coming from humble beginnings; having 'lost his way' as a teenager and close to permanent exclusion from school, John is all too aware of how important it is to educate and inspire young people around real issues that affect their lives on a daily basis. He joined Chain Reaction to 'give something back'. Over 30 years’ experience working and leading in schools brings a unique insight into challenges and barriers faced by young adults in wider society, and a broad skill set covering strategic planning; risk management; business leadership and relationship building. John now runs his own company training the next generation of leaders through coaching and mentoring. Thriving on challenge, John has completed two London marathons; numerous obstacle races for charity, and his first ever triathlon at Olympic distance, having been inspired to compete by his teenage son.
So now you’ve met our fabulous staff and board, all that remains is for you to meet the amazing people who make the magic happen...
our wonderful actors and workshop facilitators!