Rambert School


The Conservatoire’s Board of Governors, which meets formally at least three times a year, comprises lay and academic persons appointed in accordance with the Conservatoire’s Articles of Association. Staff and students are also represented on the Board.

The Board approves the Conservatoire’s long-term objectives and strategies and provides overall financial and organisational control. The Board has a number of committees including a Finance Committee, an Audit Committee, a Nominations Committee and other ad hoc committees as required from time to time.

The Conservatoire adheres to CUC guidance as set out in the HE Code of Governance (2014, rev. 2018).

Corporate Governance



Caragh Merrick

Caragh was a senior audit partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers from 1990 to 2002 during which time she also fulfilled a number of practice leadership roles, including membership of the UK Assurance Board with specific responsibility for HR strategy development and implementation. On retiring from PWC, she worked with Chairmen and Chief Executives, principally in the public sector, to develop effective board leadership and corporate governance. She is an experienced non-executive director and Chair. Previous appointments include: Trustee for the National Theatre; Treasurer/Trustee for the National Foundation for Youth Music, Help Musicians UK and UCAS; Chair of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; Treasurer and Member of Council at the Royal College of Art and the University of Birmingham. Caragh was appointed Chair of the Conservatoire in November 2019.

Chief Executive Officer

David Ruebain

David took up the post of Chief Executive Officer at the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama in October 2018. Until April 2018 he was Chief Executive of Equality Challenge Unit, a policy and research agency funded to advance equality & diversity in universities in the UK and colleges in Scotland (until it merged with LHFE and HEA to form Advance HE). David practiced as a solicitor for 21 years; latterly as Director of Legal Policy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission of Great Britain and before that as a Partner at and founder of the department of Education, Equality and Disability Law at Levenes Solicitors. David has been the Equality Adviser to the English FA Premier League, a Trustee of ADD (Action on Disability and Development), a member of the Rights & Justice Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Advisory Board of the Wellcome Trust and a Fellow of the British American Project.


Brian Brodie


Brian is currently CEO of Freedom Finance having held senior positions in a range of financial services businesses during his career. Prior to Freedom Brian was Sales & Marketing Director for Virgin Money and was one of the executive team which floated the business in 2014. Prior to that Brian was CEO of HML Ltd which was and still is the largest Mortgage Servicer in the UK. Brian has a real passion for leading digital and operational transformations to deliver great outcomes for customers. His passion for dance stems from his three daughters who have been dancing since childhood. Brian strongly believes that dance, in all its genres, has enabled his daughters to successfully navigate many of their life challenges. Brian was as a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Dance for 8 years before joining the Northern School of Contemporary Dance as its Chairman this year.

Dr Roderick Clayton


Pete Dunleavy


Emily Fletcher


Janice French


Janice French is the Saïd Business School’s Director of Faculty Services and Governance at the University of Oxford, where she is also a Fellow by Special Election at St Edmund Hall. After an early career in dance administration at the Royal Academy of Dance, she has focused on higher education management holding positions at Imperial College, University College London and Cambridge University before joining Oxford University in 2009. Her experience has spanned faculty and research management, governance, accreditations, resource and strategic planning, and start-up projects. Janice holds an MA in Arts Administration and an MBA in Higher Education Management.

Prof Martin Halliwell


Martin Halliwell is the Head of the School of Arts and Professor of American Studies at the University of Leicester. He is a specialist in twentieth-century American culture, literature and history, and he has also published widely on the health humanities. Martin works broadly in the UK and internationally as an advocate for the arts and humanities. He is currently President of the English Association, Co-Chair of the Arts and Humanities Alliance, and an Ambassador for Early Career Researchers for the European Association for American Studies.

Rabia Harrison


Derek Hicks


Derek Hicks is the Nominated Governor for London Contemporary Dance School.

Robert Jude


Born in Plymouth, Devon, Robert studied dance locally before entering the Royal Ballet Upper School in West London. He graduated in to the Royal Ballet Company at Covent Garden in 1971 and performed with the Company in the UK and abroad.

After retiring as a soloist in 1990, he completed a Masters in Arts Management at City University. He was a freelance UK tour manager, working with dance companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet, Kirov (now Maryinski) Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Project. He went on to become Company Manager for the Royal Ballet Company , overseeing the move from their West London studios to the newly refurbished Opera House in 1999.

In 2004, Robert moved to Really Useful Theatres as Programming Manager, working with Nica Burns and Andre Ptaszynski on the running of its 13 playhouses and theatres including the London Palladium and Theatre Royal Drury Lane. He retired in 2016.

Mindy Kilby


Mindy Kilby is the Director of Finance at the Royal Opera House. Qualifying in the US, she has extensive accounting and finance experience, predominantly in the charity sector. She joined the Royal Opera House in 2000, where she has been Director of Finance since September 2013. Mindy is also a trustee of Southbank Sinfonia and Tete a Tete Opera and sits on the audit committee for National Opera Studio.

Rebecca Laschetti


Lesley Payne


Lesley has wide experience in the cultural sector, both as an employee and an independent consultant. She worked for many years in client-facing private sector businesses, and with several public sector organisations. As a consultant, she has provided project development and management, developed organisational strategies, and written and edited many policy documents, award applications and other corporate papers.

She has worked in commercial and subsidised theatre, dance, visual arts, urban regeneration, literature, theatre design, classical music, arts education, community regeneration and citizenship.

She was previously on the Board of the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, serving on the HR Committee and chairing the Risk and Audit Committee.

Julian Roskill

Senior Independent

Julian is the Senior Independent Governor of CDD and a member of its Audit Committee.

His career as a lawyer was at two international law firms based in the City of London. He was a commercial litigator at Allen & Overy and an employment lawyer at Mayer Brown. As Partner and Head of the Employment Group at Mayer Brown, he regularly worked with senior management and boards of national and international businesses and was a member of its London Management Board.

He now runs his own business:

• Advising people on their appointments and roles;
• Coaching and mentoring people in the context of their work and careers;
• Providing an independent perspective as a Facilitator to address disagreements in organisations before they escalate into formal disputes: and
• Acting as a Mediator in disputes.

Matthew Slater


Matthew began dancing at the age of 17 whilst studying A-Level Performing Arts and went on to train at NSCD, graduating in 2005. He toured with VERVE before completing a postgraduate diploma at London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS), and toured internationally as a member of EDge to France, Denmark, Sweden and Portugal in work choreographed by Sue MacLennan, Trisha Brown and Siobhan Davies.
Upon graduating from LCDS Matthew joined Yael Flexer’s Bedlam Dance Company and toured as part of her production of ‘Doing, Done and Undone’ alongside working for Retina Dance Company in their graduate project ‘PAGE1’. He worked with Retina Dance Company extensively between 2006 and 2014 as a Dancer, Rehearsal Director and Education Manager, touring internationally to Belgium, Germany, Ireland and South Korea.
In 2010 Matthew joined the staff at NSCD as Education & Community Dance Worker (later Learning & Participation Officer) and since 2014 has been a Lecturer in Technique & Performance Practice (Contemporary), teaching contemporary technique, partner work, performance practice, choreography and repertory, alongside being a Year Liaison for year 3 students. In 2018 Matthew joined the CDD Board as a Staff Governor.

Guy Stobart


Guy Stobart is the Nominated Governor for Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

William Underhill


William Underhill is the Nominated Governor for National Centre for Circus Arts.

Louise Verrill


Louise Verrill is the Nominated Governor for Rambert School.

Colette Wilson


Colette is an independent member of the CDD Board and Chair of the Audit Committee. Currently taking a sabbatical from her career as an assurance professional, she is studying for an MA in History of Design at the Royal College of Art in London. Colette has performed leadership roles in large internal audit functions, most recently helping to improve the performance, organisation and governance of such functions in the financial services sector. In those roles she attended group Audit and other board level Committees. Prior roles included co-creating a global internal audit function and delivering external and internal assurance services in two Big Four professional services firms. Colette is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant. Before joining CDD, Colette held non-executive and Audit Committee chair roles in the Higher and Further Education sectors.

Tamas Wood


Tamas is a Partner at KPMG LLP working in the Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare practice. He focuses on central government and is KPMG’s lead Partner for several government departments. A chartered accountant, he is an experienced external audit, internal audit and risk management practitioner specialising in bespoke risk management and assurance services. Tamas was appointed to Central School of Ballet’s Board of Governors and as Chair of the Audit Committee in 2013 and is currently the school’s nominated governor on the Board of the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama.