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. 

  • 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.

  • Kat

    Katrina Shenton

    Joint Chair

    Kat lives locally and her children attend the Conservatoire!

    Kat is an experienced director and growth manager with a long career in finance and renewable energy, as well as several years in charity management and governance roles. As a trustee, she is very excited to help the Conservatoire improve the accessibility of arts education for the wider community.

  • Clare Cornwell

    Clare Cornwell

    Board Member

    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.

  • 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 journalist, she went on to postgraduate study at the Courtauld.

    She has over two decades of leadership experience in arts and media, and has won two Baftas and numerous other awards for her work. Now Global Content Director for the auction house Christies, Jane lives locally and appreciates the inspiring programmes that the Conservatoire offers and wants to contribute to its ongoing success.

  • Nathan Homan

    Nathan Homan

    Board Member

    Nathan has been designing and producing imaginative live experiences for over 15 years for brands as diverse as Channel 4, Google, and IKEA.

    Nathan also performs regularly both in London and abroad with the London Symphony Orchestra as a member of their chorus. He’s an adult learner at the Conservatoire, and in 2020 achieved his Grade 8 with distinction. Nathan is a passionate advocate for the Conservatoire and the importance of its creative role within the wider community.