Illuminating People and Places through Live Arts

At Theatre Orchard we are passionate about promoting live performance. We love North Somerset’s amazing array of indoor and outdoor spaces – stages that may be small or large, enclosed or without walls – unique places to perform, that have something for everyone.

We present work of different scales, sourced locally and internationally, consistent in a commitment to creating a connection with people and place. Whether it’s ballet on the pier, circus on the streets, pint-sized performance in a pub or theatre in an empty shop, Theatre Orchard enables diverse stories to be told in inspirational settings.

As well as creating great nights out, we provide opportunities for local people to get stuck in. Why not volunteer with Theatre Orchard and help shape and deliver North Somerset’s performing arts programme? Or take part in a community project – find your voice, develop new skills and share your skills with us.

We are equally committed to supporting locally based artists to thrive by providing ongoing advice, regular creative kitchens and an annual mentoring scheme ‘Shoplifting’ in association with Living Spit.

Theatre Orchard partners with many individuals and companies on its journey to transform North Somerset into a region that is an increasingly dynamic, playful and stimulating place to live, work and visit.

If you would like to know more, please get in touch at



“Theatre Shop’s imaginative use of vacant retail space for performance art attracted my support for Theatre Orchard, first as a volunteer and more latterly as the Shop’s Steering Group Chair. My interest stems from a desire to see in Clevedon more colour, performance art and variety.”


Who’s Who?

Our dedicated team of Employees and Trustees come from various backgrounds and all share a common goal;

The Team

The Trustees

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Fiona Matthews

Creative Director

Fiona founded Theatre Orchard in 2007 as Arts Development Officer for North Somerset Council

Fiona steers and oversees Theatre Orchard’s work, as well as fundraising, programming  and producing .

Fiona’s wider independent producing work in recent years includes Living SpitCompany of AngelsShoofly Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.

Before moving to the South West, Fiona ran Sainsbury’s nationwide Arts Sponsorship Programme, developing and managing award-winning partnerships with national and regional arts companies, theatres and galleries such as National Gallery, National Theatre, Young Vic.  This role included milestone initiatives within BBC/Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year, Sainsbury’s Pictures for Schools (working closely with cultural figures such as Alan Bennett and Peter Blake), and the National Portrait Gallery’s millennial exhibition ‘Faces of the Century’ which included David Bowie, Professor Stephen Hawking and Vivienne Westwood amongst its contributors.

Fiona has 25 years experience of working in the arts, preceded by a shorter career in publishing, where too many weeks spent editing crossword grids encouraged Fiona to look for less linear job options.



Technical  Manager

Fiona studied at the University of Leeds and trained in Stage Management at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

She has worked as Assistant/Deputy Stage Manager for companies including Opera North, Opera Holland Park, the Royal Court Theatre, and as Company Manager for English Touring Opera and Grange Park Opera.

Fiona has been involved with Theatre Orchard since 2012 providing technical support for performances across North Somerset, and she works regularly with Living Spit, most recently as Company Stage Manager on Living Spit’s Frankenstein at Theatre Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare.

She has been Stage Manager at The Theatre Shop since its first season in 2015.


Julie Peel

General Manager & Comms

Julie is a PR consultant with over 30 years’ experience in the industry, specialising in the creative, community and charity sectors.
She started her career in arts marketing and publicity at Swansea Grand Theatre, moving to Bristol in the 1980s (she has lived in the city ever since!) to join the 
team at Bristol Old Vic, where she spent three years in the press and marketing department.

Then at West consultancy, JBP Public Relations, she managed a range of consumer accounts, including Bath International Music Festival, before leaving to have a family and embarking on a freelance career that has spanned more than two decades. During this time, she has enjoyed working on an exciting range of initiatives, handling community based PR, promotions and media relations for high profile events and organisations.

These include the Bristol Harbour Festival, Royal Bath & West Show, The Avon Gorge Hotel and many years with Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, where she is particularly
proud to have led the press campaign for the Cots for Tots Appeal which, in just one year, raised £1million f
or the special care baby unit at St Michael’s Hospital.

She was also part of the PR team for the Gromit Unleashed and Shaun in the City sculpture trails, which have raised millions of pounds for Bristol Children’s Hospital and continues to work within the retail arm of the charity. Julie’s recent involvement with Theatre Orchard brings her life full circle and she is
delighted to return to her theatre roots. She welcomes the opportunity to be part of the dynamic Theatre Orchard team and to promote the immense, creative talent that exists in the arts and helps to enrich our lives!


Fawn Bainton

Digital Marketing Manager

Fawn’s career has focused mainly on Hospitality, providing outstanding customer service in all departments within the industry up to Management Level. She developed her social media know-how within this context and has enjoyed moving her skills over to Theatre Orchard, combining her passion for theatre with her career, whilst keeping family life balanced.  

Fawn has loved the arts since she was a child, and when she’s not running around after her little ones, she loves to sing, paint and watch a musical or three!    

Fawn was born and bred in North Somerset and firmly believes that live arts bring happiness and healthiness to her local communities.



Photographic Artist

Marie-Dominique has always had a passion for Art, Music and Dance. After completing a Photographic Arts degree at the University of Wales in 2004, she spent some years doing freelance photography in England as well as in Australia.




Angela is a theatre maker, practitioner, actor and director with a wealth of experience creating inclusive theatre opportunities with diverse communities.

After graduating with a degree in theatre Angela worked extensively with Bristol Old Vic Education Department as an actor, director, practitioner and workshop leader developing numerous projects before becoming Associate Education Director.

Angela co-founded Myrtle Theatre Company, a specialist, participatory theatre company delivering theatre projects both locally and nationally.
Angela now works with a range of theatre companies including Bristol Old Vic, Travelling Light Theatre, The Egg and, of course, Theatre Orchard.

Angela has been delivering engagement projects for Theatre Orchard since 2007 including devising and directing site specific performances; ‘Hurly Burly’ (based on Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’), ‘Bourneville becomes Electra’ and ‘Persephone’.

As a director, Angela specialises in ensemble and collaborative performance, verbatim theatre and is passionate about creating inclusive theatre experiences.



David has been involved in theatre finance and administration for over thirty years at RSC, Royal Exchange, Manchester, and a number of other regional subsidised theatres. Fifteen years ago he joined the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School as Finance Director and amongst other things set up the BOVTS Friends organisation and became involved and interested in the theatre life of Bristol. He is now retired and is Company Secretary of the Tobacco Factory Theatre, and Treasurer of North Somerset Arts.



Will has worked in both marketing and education within the creative sector with Cameron Mackintosh Ltd and Lyric Hammersmith, and most recently overseen partnership engagement for Creative & Cultural Skills. Currently part of the new College of Liberal Arts at Bath Spa University, Will is interested in supporting learning and training within arts companies allowing communities to tell their own stories.



Emily’s experience in the arts is very varied and she has held positions in education, theatre and local government. Emily enjoys all art forms but her heart lies with dance and theatre. She has danced since she was three years old and enjoys introducing people to the world of performance for the first time. Emily is really pleased to be supporting Theatre Orchard as a trustee as art in the community is so important for so many reasons and so many people.



 Caroline has worked for over 20 years within voluntary sector organisations and brings experience of strategy, marketing and fundraising. Living in Portishead with an extended family that includes 3 daughters, Caroline is passionate that people should be able to access arts and creativity close to home. Having graduated with a degree in theatre studies, performance is close to her heart but these days this is entirely in the role of facilitator and spectator!



“Theatre Shop’s imaginative use of vacant retail space for performance art attracted my support for Theatre Orchard; first as a volunteer and more latterly as the Shop’s Steering Group Chair. My interest stems from a desire to see in Clevedon more colour, performance art and variety.  I bring to Theatre Orchard a fund of experience from a professional career as a senior civil servant with the Ministry of Justice.”


Liz Ellis

Liz has spent the last 20 years in alternative education for young people experiencing social and emotional difficulty.  She also worked as an Advanced practitioner in FE (SEMH)

Currently working with young people in care who cannot access any educational provision,

Liz is a therapeutic crisis management trainer and leads training and development across this field. Prior to this, Liz worked in television production and hospitality.

Liz has a performance background that includes a chart hit and longstanding youth opera experience with Leeds college of Music.  She still continues to sing and perform when the opportunity arises.


Tracey Farquhar-Beck

Tracey has spent over 30 years managing various hospitality venues around the UK and all levels. Tracey’s key strengths are social media marketing, general operational and financial management and teaching the true value of delivering exceptional service across any discipline.

In her spare time, as well as hiking and volunteering for Samaritans, Tracey joined Theatre Shop at its inception as a volunteer, inspired by how Theatre Shop not only introduces young people to the world of theatre through fun and engaging performances but the widespread joy that live theatre brings to the community of Clevedon and beyond.

Alison Williams

Alison Williams

Alison’s career has spanned banking,
technology and most recently management consulting where she advises organisations on how to use people, processes and digital technology to achieve their goals. She is passionate about supporting the community launching a social enterprise to nurture talent through fair access to coaching and networks, providing pro bono consulting to charitable organisations and is her company’s UK executive sponsor for D&I. Alison has a personal love of arts and music (with the occasional foray into DJing) and is excited to support Theatre Orchard in bringing arts to the masses.