Our dedicated board members share their skills, expertise and enthusiasm to help steer the strategy for the Conservatoire’s future. Most are local and became involved initially as loyal customers. 

  • Clare Cornwell

    Clare Cornwell

    Joint Chair

    Clare has lived in Blackheath for 10 years with her husband James, a barrister.

    After a history degree, Clare went into the Civil Service and spent 20 years in Whitehall working around the environment field, leading many policies including competition in the water industry, climate change adaptation, food waste reduction and the 5p plastic bag charge. Clare has been on the board at The Conservatoire since 2014.

  • Joanne Harrison

    Joanne Harrison

    Joanne is a Chartered Accountant and has worked in financial services for the past decade in Sydney, San Francisco and London.

    She lives locally with her young family and looks forward to using her financial skills to give back to her community as a trustee of the Conservatoire. Joanne plays the piano, her husband plays the drums and their 16 month old daughter loves to make “music” with anything in reach!

  • Thea Sakkas

    Joint Chair

    After graduating from Cambridge, Thea trained to be a lawyer at a magic circle law firm where she worked for a number of years.

    She went on to work as in-house counsel for an American investment bank. Thea lives locally with her family and together they have benefited from the excellent tuition and opportunities on offer at the Conservatoire. As a trustee she wants to ensure this historic arts hub continues to flourish, so it can benefit the community.

  • Emma Smillie

    Emma Smillie

    Board Member

    Emma grew up in Blackheath and studied at the Conservatoire from age eight to eighteen!

    After graduating in Economics and Law, she worked as a senior leader at the Financial Ombudsman Service for 15 years. Gaining extensive experience in helping organisations engage with stakeholders – and inspiring them to put their customers at the heart of what they do. Emma’s passionate about the difference that art, music and drama can make, both to mental well-being and enriching lives from young to old.

  • Jane Burton

    Board Member

    Art has always been central to Jane’s life. Starting out as an arts writer for national newspapers, she went on to postgraduate study at Courtauld.

    Jane has won two Baftas, and numerous other awards for her work in arts and media, the most recent a 2015 Royal Television Society Award for the live broadcast of Tate’s Matisse Exhibition to audiences in cinemas across the UK. Now working as Global Content Director at Christie’s, Jane leads a team of journalists, film directors and writers who produce magazines, online editorial, books and films that focus on the incredible objects.