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Who We Are

The Organisation

Chew Valley Performing Arts was incorporated as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in August 2015, with charity number 1163177.

Its purpose is “to promote, maintain, improve and advance education and appreciation of the arts in all forms among the people and communities of the Chew Valley and the surrounding area.”

The charity’s aim is to fulfil that purpose by developing a new purpose-built Performing Arts Centre in the Chew Valley.

Trustees of the charity are:

Geraldine Hill-Male (Chair)

Business and Strategy (Trustees)

Contact Geraldine

Ray Montague


Contact Ray

Matt Stewart


Contact Matt

Patrick Waldock

Finance and Development

Contact Patrick

Jo Haywood

Joy Harcup

Valley Arts enquiry

Please get in touch with the relevant board member if you have contacts or expertise you can offer to a specific action group.

The board of trustees has put in place a series of policies, covering the following areas. They are available on request.

Conflict of Interest; Diversity & Inclusion; Donations and Fundraising; Financial Expenditure; Privacy; Safeguarding; Volunteers.



Michael Eavis

Dairy farmer Michael Eavis is best known as the founder of Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, which takes place on his farm in Pilton, Somerset. The world-famous festival began after a casual visit to the Bath Blues festival in the late 1960s: Michael decided to have a go himself in 1970.

Glastonbury Festival did not make a profit for several years, but when it did Michael began to look for good causes to support, both locally and internationally. Today each festival aims to raise £2 million in aid of Greenpeace, Oxfam and WaterAid, as well as hundreds of local causes.

“I’m delighted to support Chew Valley’s arts centre project,” says Michael. “Rural areas deserve to share the energy and creativity generated by the performing arts.”

Sarah Mead

In-between raising four children Sarah opened Holt Farm Gardens in Blagdon under the National Gardens Scheme. It’s now known as Yeo Valley Organic Garden and is part of Yeo Valley’s Venues.

Sarah now works full time alongside her husband Tim Mead for Yeo Valley and as part of their marketing strategy is responsible for creative input at Yeo Valley HQ and the Organic Gardens.

Sarah spent three years at dance school in London (She formed a dance troupe with Liz Hurley: they toured the capital and were regularly pelted with food.) She is involved with a range of charity projects including the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, raising money for Horatio’s Garden.

Of the Chew Valley Performing Arts Centre, she says: “I’m chuffed to bits to be part of this fantastic project, which will enable everyone to be more involved in the artistic life of the valley.”

She doesn’t get much time to spend in the garden these days, but she may be found in the herbaceous border with her pug Mabel, or throwing some shapes at any festival she can manage to get tickets to.

Phil Hammond

A local NHS doctor, broadcaster, Private Eye journalist, writer and comedian, Phil Hammond has lived in the Chew Valley for over 20 years, and loves it.

Phil has done four UK comedy tours and shows at the Edinburgh Fringe spanning 26 years. He has won a Writers’ Guild Award for his Radio 4 comedies and has written five books, most recently Staying Alive – How to Get the Best from the NHS. Phil writes regularly for the Mendip Times and is a presenter on BBC Radio Bristol on Saturday mornings.

“The Chew Valley is a wonderful place to live,” Phil says, “but an arts centre would make it perfect. Art is great for education, health and happiness.”

Jeremy Irons

Following the amazing Secret Cabaret evening held up at Yeo Valley, multi award winning actor of stage and film Jeremy Irons has agreed to become patron of Valley Arts. As Jeremy told a captivated audience last November “The arts remind us of our humanity, our individuality and our vulnerability. They help us understand  the disparate pieces of the world and how they fit together. They help us make form out of chaos. They give us a holiday with life.”

“We know the arts help create and cement together communities. How they teach you to ,listen and become a team player. How it builds peoples self confidence and encourages them to be proud of their individual specialness. Being involved in the arts allows us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”


Geraldine Hill-Male (Chair)

Geraldine is a Senior Lecturer in Drama and Education at Bath Spa University. Before this she was Director of Performing Arts at an inner city Bristol school for 20 years, and instrumental in attracting key funding from national and local funders to build a £2 million Performing Arts  centre which was a hub for community and school-based arts activities.

She has worked closely with local and national arts organisations such as the Royal Opera House and Bristol Old Vic Theatre, developing outreach programmes with inner-city students and their families. 

Geraldine has lived in the Chew Valley for over 20 years and was a founder and board member of The Community Farm in Chew Magna. “I am convinced that a creative community is a happy, fulfilled and generous community,” says Geraldine. “Getting involved and being part of something is what matters – whatever an individual’s capacity or ability.”

Dr Ray Montague

Ray is a GP in South Bristol. He has lived in the Chew Valley with his wife, Heather since 1992. During that time he has contributed to many music and theatre projects across the Valley, including leading youth jazz band projects, contributing to the  infamous East Harptree Orchestra as well as local amateur dramatics. All three of Ray’s children passed through Chew Valley School receiving an excellent grounding in music, drama and art which they have continued to develop in their adult lives. His desire is to ensure everyone in the community is able to benefit from these opportunities both now and in the future. Ray is also the founder and chairman of BrisDoc Healthcare Services which brings significant boardroom experience to our board of trustees.

Matt Stewart

Matt has a background in advertising and marketing, having spent well over 30 years in leading agencies helping clients grow. He is the founder of Mindset, a marketing consultancy based in Bristol specialising in community insight and intelligence. He is also a director of P15, a specialist, insight-led media independent.

As teenagers his children have both been active drama and performing arts students at Chew Valley School. “Performing arts run deep in our family,” says Matt. “I’ve spent half my life drumming in rock bands, whilst my wife trained as a professional dancer at Arts Educational School in London, and later in her career was part of the management team at Northern Ballet Theatre.

“I believe Valley Arts gives a much-needed boost to the performing arts in our part of the world, and that can only ever be a good thing.”

The Stewart family have lived in the Chew Valley since 2000. When not working, Matt can be found hill-walking or listening to a constant diet of BBC R4 and Radio 6 Music.

Patrick Waldock

Patrick is now retired after a long career in Change and IT Management, working for major corporations including AXA, Somerfield and Thomas Cook. He has delivered many complex programmes with responsibility for strategic planning, project management, financial control and governance.

Patrick’s interests now are to combine the Valley Arts project with his other passions of pottery, travelling, walking and skiing. Patrick and his wife Rachael have lived in the Chew Valley for 30 years and all three of their children went to Chew Valley and Chew Stoke Schools where Patrick was a Governor. Patrick and Rachael have a shared love of the performing arts having been long-time members of Winford Players. Rachael also ran Sutton Youth Theatre for a time.

“I have loved helping build Valley Arts into a thriving creative hub for our Valley and all the communities in it” says Patrick, “I’m really proud that we now put on more than 60 events and workshops every year, have an amazing theatre school, provide free workshops and support to our local schools, as well as our seniors. I really hope what we do is bringing a sense of well being and community spirit to the Chew Valley, during these challenging times”

Jo Haywood

Jo founded video production agency, Skylark Media in 2005. The company has flourished and now creates everything from digital campaigns to TV ads for the likes of UWE Bristol, Forestry England and the Samaritans. Prior to running Skylark, Jo was at the BBC. A passionate environmentalist, she made her first climate change documentary in 1990!

Jo’s family all enjoyed the performing arts at Chew Valley School, her children performing in numerous plays and live music events.

‘I believe that Valley Arts plays a vital role in community life in Chew Valley. It brings the most amazing events to our villages so that young and old can enjoy a spectrum of entertainment from music to comedy to workshops. It feeds our creative souls and our community spirit.’