The Herd Theatre become a charity and appoint Executive Director of International Arts Charity Naqiya Ebrahim as Chair of Trustees

The Hull theatre company takes a leap forward as it becomes a charity committed to providing high-quality arts and theatre experiences to children and families in the region.  

Hull-based theatre company The Herd is now a charity, led by a board of trustees with local, national and international experience of arts, theatre and education.

Ruby Thompson, co-director and founder of The Herd, said: “Our new charity status will allow us to create more projects locally and escalate our ambition to deliver world-leading, innovative arts experiences for children and families in Hull. We’ve worked with an incredible steering board over the last 18 months, who have now become our Board of Trustees. Their passion for our work, and more importantly for the children we work with, has encouraged us to be bolder and more ambitious.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Naqiya Ebrahim as our first Chair of Trustees at The Herd. Naqiya shares our company mission – a belief that drama, creativity and storytelling can be a powerful agent of change for children, young people and their communities.

“Naqiya is the Executive Director of Seenyaro, an award-winning international charity specialising in theatre and play-based learning with under-served communities in Lebanon and Jordan. Naqiya’s leadership experience of growing a world-leading charity is clearly suited to the role of The Herd’s Chair. Naqiya’s background in designing and delivering participatory work also allows a shared language and a deep understanding of the purpose of our work at The Herd. We are hugely excited by Naqiya’s outward, international view of the sector.”

Chair of Trustees Naqiya Ebrahim said: “I am delighted and honoured to be the first chair of The Herd. Having worked in the theatre, education and early years space for many years, I am constantly seeing barriers to children accessing theatre and play in safe, creative, inclusive ways. The Herd’s work directly addresses this and does so without using a cookie cutter model.

“I love how out of the box their ideas are and how committed Sam and Ruby – the co-founders and directors – are to innovating unique, playful experiences that transcend the templates we’ve already seen and truly serve the communities they work with. In all my conversations with Sam and Ruby I can see how hard they work to think about what will be the most meaningful experience for the children themselves, how to make sure the young people’s ideas are heard and included, and how to make sure no child is left behind in accessing the story or experience. 

“Even beyond their project output, one of the things that drew me to The Herd was their conscientiousness in thinking about best practice every step of the way. Whether it’s actively working to make sure their hiring practice is inclusive and attracting diverse talent or setting highly ambitious goals for their environmental policy and working to use sustainable materials in all of their projects.

“While I am not connected to Hull personally, it hugely excites me to advocate for work outside of London, particularly in the North of the country. Hull was a recent City of Culture and it is thanks to organisations like The Herd that it continues to pioneer exceptional arts and culture.

“I am excited to work with the brilliant board and team as The Herd continues to make standout theatre and play experiences that challenge our conception of what theatre and play can be and tell the untold stories that champion young voices, all the while making sure that hard-to-reach audiences are accessing their work.”

The Herd’s Co-Director Sam Caseley added: “We are entering a new and exciting chapter. With our brilliant new board and our excellent new chair Naqiya, we’re set up to make more brilliant art with more children and families than ever before.”