Friends and Trustees

It takes the support of many people to make Dramatic Need a success, and we are very lucky to have some very committed and passionate friends behind us.

Dr. Lindiwe Mabuza

Dramatic Need Patron & Former South African High Commissioner to the UK

"It is through Dramatic Need volunteers that these children, who endure hardship, may learn creative skills that allow them to express the challenges they face on a daily basis"

UK Board of Trustees

Clemency Burton-Hill

is a journalist, novelist, musician and presenter. Clemency currently presents the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 3, the BBC Culture Show and the Proms. A reporter on Channel 4’s award-winning series Unreported World, she is also regular commentator on current affairs programmes on Sky News and Radio 4.Clemency is the author of two novels and has written for all the major UK broadsheets. Currently a freelance contributor to the FT Weekend Magazine, the Economist’s Intelligent Life, the Independent and the Guardian, she is the music columnist for BBC Culture Worldwide and has elsewhere contributed to WSJ, Departures, Opera News, the Spectator, New Statesman, TLS and Vogue. A voting member of BAFTA, Clemency has also judged the Costa Books Prize and Amnesty Media Awards.She graduated from Cambridge University with a Double First in English Literature.


Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Kobna was born in Accra raised in Surrey and is now a Film, Theatre,  TV and Voice actor working between London, L.A. and New York. He has played leads in programmes on the BBC, Sky TV, Channel 4 and ITV and has also received extensive critical acclaim for his stage work in London, leading casts at the National, Royal Court, Young Vic, Globe and Manchester Royal Exchange theatres, among many others. He produces and directs and (also writes for Theatre under pseudonyms.) Kobna voices Peter Grant, Nightingale (and everybody else) in the #1 bestselling book series Rivers of London series. In 2010 Kobna was the co-producer of the Dramatic Need Childrens' Monologues at the Old Vic Theatre in London and then in 2013 he was the creative associate on Dramatic Need's ARTiculate project.


James Mullighan

Born in Australia and resident in London since 1998, James Mullighan has since 2007 been Creative Director of Shooting People, the global networking community for independent filmmakers. James has Bachelor degrees in Law and Arts from the University of Adelaide. For over two decades, he has been an arts journalist, specialising in theatre and classical music; his work has been published in the Times, GQ, the Scotsman, Vogue, Rolling Stone and The Age. For four years he worked at Sony Music (Entertainment) Australia, running first the Sony Classical then the Columbia labels. Prior to working at Shooting People, he was associate producer RESFEST UK & Ireland, four times producing the annual UK tour of the Festival which comprised of short film, music, art and design. He sits on the Advisory Boards of the Sheffield Doc Fest, Bristol Encounters, London Short Film, Abandon Normal Devices and Branchage Jersey International Film Festivals. In 2011 James acted as Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Since 2013, he has been Creative Director of the Cork Film Festival.



Simon Oakes

Simon Oakes is Vice-Chairman of Exclusive Media and President & CEO of Hammer Films. Prior to his role at Hammer, Simon Oakes held the posts of Managing Director UPCTV and latterly Head of Content Chellomedia, Europe’s largest cable company. Simon Oakes’ early career highlights were founding producer of “The Comic Strip”, Managing Director of Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel’s production company Cucumber Productions (producers of “Max Headroom”) and founder of Crossbow Films. He is also the Chairman of The Big Sleep Hotel Group and Chairman of B@TV.


Phil Drew

Phil is a Director of leading communications consultancy, Brunswick, where he advises a range of global businesses, such as Shell, Nestle, and SABMiller, on communications strategy, sustainability and responsible business, media relations and social media. He was previously Director of Communications for Climate Week, a campaign backed by Al Gore, Kofi Annan, Paul McCartney and a coalition of businesses, NGOs, and government to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low carbon society. Before this, for a number of years he was with Unity, a communications agency where he worked on and led award-winning behaviour change campaigns for brands such as Orange, and NGOs such as WWF and Friends of the Earth. Career highlights included staging the UK’s first Johnny Cash-style prison gig at HM Pentonville with chart-topping rockbands to raise awareness of male suicide; getting Paul Weller, Beth Ditto, and a host of superstars to create a record for homelessness charity Crisis, inspired by the kids game consequences and produced by Academy award winning superproducer Paul Epworth; and working with stars such as Lady Gaga and Akon to connect young people to their communities through music for Orange RockCorps. Phil writes regularly for the Guardian and Huffington Post on the power of business to shape society for the better. He read English at Cambridge University, where he also won the British University Boxing Championships.


Michael Sackler

Michael set up film production company Rooks Nest Entertainment in 2010. Rooks Nest has produced 9 films as of early 2014, including My Brother The Devil, The Truth About Emanuel, Exhibition and Obvious Child. Prior to founding his own business, Michael worked in the charitable sector at Charity:Water and FilmAid where he filmed a number of expeditions, worked on financial schemes and fundraisers while teaching filmmaking in underprivileged communities. Michael currently sits on the board of FilmAid and children's TV production company, Doodle Productions.


Vanessa Garwood

Vanessa Garwood is a British artist, born in Israel 1982, who studied in Florence for three years at the Charles Cecil Studios. Her work has been exhibited in the National Portrait Galleries BP Award where her painting won the Visitors Choice. She also exhibited at the London Costa Gallery, the London Art Fair and has featured in private collections. In the past few years her work has focused on travelling and landscape painting and this change resulted in an three month apprenticeship with the South African sculptor Dylan Lewis, in Cape Town. Since her return she has focused on sculpture in bronze in partnership with the Talisman Gallery in London. Whilst sculpting in South Africa’s Western Cape in 2009, Vanessa worked with a charitable organisation called Imibala, and taught art lessons to children from local schools. Vanessa has family in Kenya and South Africa, and travelled extensively in Africa throughout her life.




Contact Us

For general enquiries, contact:


England and Wales Charity Number: 1119443

England and Wales Company Number: 06051122


South Africa Non-Profit Company Number: 2017/212994/08

USA 501(c)(3) Foundation Number: 82-1037862


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All content © 2006 - 2019 by Dramatic Need. All rights reserved.


Dramatic Need is a registered charity and company in England and Wales, numbers 1119443 and 06051122 respectively; a registered non-profit company in South Africa, number 2017/212994/08; and a registered 501(c)(3) foundation in the USA, number 82-1037862 


Official Patron: Her Excellency, Dr. Lindiwe Mabuza, former South African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.


Board of Trustees UK and South Africa: Ms. Clemency Burton-Hill,  Ms. Vanessa Garwood, Mr. Phil Drew, Mr. Simon Oakes, Ms. Amanda Lambert, 

Mr Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Board of Trustees USA: Ms. Aubrey Henderson Siegel, Ms. Amanda Lambert, Ms Holly Noland Dunlap.