Our Team

Adam Nichols

Artistic Director and Founder

Adam has enjoyed a dual career spanning the worlds of theatre and education over the past quarter of a century.

He co-founded OVO in 2003 and has directed a third of the company’s productions over the past 18 years. He pioneered the musical Shakespeares for which we are perhaps best known including Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It, which won the 2016 Minack Trophy and was named as one of The Guardian’s top shows of 2019. Other directing highlights include The Ladykillers, Contractions and The 39 Steps. He oversaw OVO's forays into pop up spaces which prefaced our takeover of The Maltings Theatre in 2011, and developed the company’s distinctive outdoor performance style which has anchored the Roman Theatre Open Air Festival which he co-founded in 2014. These days he is rarely seen on stage but he had a successful career as a child actor, the highlight of which was being murdered by Anthony Sher as one of the princes in the tower in the seminal RSC production of Richard III in 1985.

Adam is the Founder of Schole, a chain of schools in Kenya and Uganda, and was previously CEO of youth leadership charity Changemakers and an advisor to Prime Ministers Brown and Cameron on education and youth policy. He serves on the boards of a number of education organisations in the UK and internationally.

In 2021, Adam was named in The Stage 100, the definitive guide to the most influential figures working in the UK theatre and performing arts industry. He featured in the UBS Social Entrepreneurs Index in 2019 and 2020.

David Widdowson

Chairman

David is a Partner at Abbiss Cadres LLP. He qualified as a solicitor in 1985, having spent four years prior to that in HR management. He has built highly regarded employment law teams in two large commercial law firms in the City of London and enjoys a reputation as a leading employment lawyer. He has been a member of the Employment Lawyers Association since its inception and has served on its Legislative and Policy Committee since 1994, engaging regularly with Government on legislative reform. In addition to his legal skills David is a qualified mediator and a member of the World Association of Business Coaches.

As an actor, David made his OVO debut in The New World Order and followed this up with an acclaimed performance in the title role of Macbeth, for which he was nominated for Best Actor in the Barnet Drama Festival and which he subsequently reprised both indoors and open air. Other Shakespeare includes Jaques in As You Like It, Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Duke in Measure for Measure. Other OVO appearances include Sir William Collyer in The Deep Blue Sea, Oldridge in The Uninvited Ghost, and Robin in The Children.

David Berryman

Trustee

David founded David Berryman Limited in 1987 and, ten years later, the company opened the first fruit juice blending plant in the UK which soon became a driving force for new product development in the juice and related industries. He remained as CEO until 2020, when the company was sold to the UK-based Hut Group. These days David is channelling his energies into several sustainability projects, including the planting of fruit trees in England and China, using mainly actor and musician volunteers in England and children with teachers in China and advising on a Comic Relief-sponsored sustainability project in Senegal. He is also an experienced actor and theatre producer.

Rob Ferguson

Trustee

Rob's interest in the theatre and the arts extends into his professional life, having worked for the Shakespeare Globe Trust since 2017, currently as a Finance Manager. Although his degree was in Psychology, he also chaired the university dramatic society.

Jane Withers

Trustee

Having never formally trained in acting, Jane took her first foray on to the stage in 2013 as Elsie Kipling in My Boy Jack. Since then, she's toured from London to Cornwall - not only acting, but putting her singing training into use in OVO's unique Shakespeare adaptations. Notable highlights in her theatrical career so far have been Amiens in OVO's award winning production of As You Like It at the Minack Theatre, Abigail in The Crucible, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mrs Farley in Playhouse Creatures, Gilma in Splendour and Thea in Hedda Gabler.

Martin Sharman

Operations Director

Biography coming soon

Michael Bird

Technical Manager

Biography coming soon

Judy Lipsey

Publicist

Judy Lipsey is a dynamic arts and entertainment publicist and is proud to be a member of the OVO team. A former music and film journalist, Judy’s PR experience was honed at various record companies including Sony, EMI, and BMG. She then co-founded The Works PR, working with a huge range of artists including Michael Ball, Elaine Paige, Wynton Marsalis, English National Ballet, and more. After a spell at Premier PR as Associate Director, she left in 2019 to set up Lipsey PR to specialise in theatre and dance; alongside OVO, her roster includes New English Ballet Theatre, Mark Bruce Company, Let’s Dance International Frontiers Festival, Lost Dog Dance and Didy Veldman among others.

Steph Allison

Associate Artist

Biography coming soon

Amy Connery

Associate Artist

Biography coming soon

Simon Nicholas

Associate Artist and Founder

As a Co-Founder of OVO, Simon pioneered the innovative use of film in the company’s work, including Romeo and Juliet, The New World Order, The Ladykillers, Betrayal and the lockdown Zoom sensation, Twelfth Night Live. He has also integrated film into the musicals Chess and Jesus Christ Superstar and, most recently, for Sir Trevor Nunn’s Beckett Triple Bill at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre. For the last five years, Simon has built the theatre inside the remains of the Roman Theatre of Verulamium for our annual festival. He has created the sets for dozens of OVO shows including the award winning production of As You Like It, which gave him the challenge of creating a life-size VW campervan, and Much Ado About Nothing, for which he built an authentic 1950s American diner. His acting career now spans four decades, most recently in OVO's highly acclaimed production of The 39 Steps, described as "A tour de force.” (★★★★ The Stage). He has fond memories of playing the shadowy Historic William Tell in the controversial 2015 Royal Opera House production of Guillaume Tell – although he wasn’t singing!

Janet Podd

Associate Director

Janet began her acting career in Oxford where roles included Sonya in Uncle Vanya and Virgilia in Coriolanus. She has worked as a freelance theatre and opera director in Oxford, Edinburgh and London - productions include Don Giovanni (Scottish Sinfonia), The Birthday Party (Oxfordshire Touring), Dido and Aeneas (Scottish Music School) The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni (Harrow Opera) and The Marriage of Figaro (Prior Park College, Bath). Directing credits for OVO include Landscape, A Kind of Alaska, La Boheme, Playhouse Creatures, Hold off the Earth, Splendour, The Crucible and Hedda Gabler. With Adam Nichols she has co-directed OVO’s productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter's Tale. Janet created the Drama Department at the North London Collegiate School and acts as Drama Consultant for the Maru-a-Pula School in Botswana.

Matt Strachan

Associate Director

Matt is a freelance director originally from Yorkshire. Credits include head/lining (Pleasance), Beyond Neverland (Theatre503), Tier Three Sisters, Starved (Hope) and An Ode to Modern Democracy and the Hairdresser (BBC). He directed The Chimes for OVO and has assistant directed OVO's productions of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Vinegar Tom as well as numerous productions at London's West End and Fringe theatres. Matt is also currently an Associate of the King’s Head Theatre and his recent work has been recognised by the Offies and London Pub Theatre's Standing Ovation Awards.

Ryan Wilce

Associate Producer

Ryan is a Producer and Production Manager originally from Devon. He has worked on a wide variety of theatre productions, tours and art installations across the UK. He has been lucky enough to work with some of the country’s largest regional theatres including, most recently, the Theatre Royal Plymouth where he has taken on production and technical roles across several departments. Ryan has also worked on numerous national touring productions including The Rocky Horror Show, Miss Saigon, Shrek: The Musical, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty, Welsh National Opera’s Rigoletto and the National Theatre’s War Horse. As a Production Manager his most recent credits include Savitri for Hampstead Garden Opera. For OVO, he produced the 2021 Roman Theatre Open Air Theatre Festival and the company's productions of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Vinegar Tom and Hedda Gabler.

Beth Wilson

Associate Artist

Beth is a young, female, queer director working in new writing and devised work, giving collaborators a chance to tell stories based on their own experiences. She founded and directed at Theatre of Minds, a St Albans based company of young people creating work raising funds and awareness for the charity Young Minds, and has since trained at LAMDA. After graduating in 2020, she has directed and developed new writing and devised work including two short plays with Women’s Writes (Arcola Theatre). She has consistently sought out and initiated projects allowing her to explore female strength, the transitions young people face and queer experiences navigating the chaos. Beth made her debut with OVO as Assistant Director on Comedy of Errors at the Roman Theatre in July 2020. Recent Credits include Almost Adult by Charlotte Anne-Tilly (Old Red Lion, The Space), Dinner Theatre by Laura May Price (Clapham Fringe, Bread and Roses Theatre) and Hyenas devised by the company (LAMDA).