High House Production Park is the result long term collaboration between the Royal Opera House, Creative & Cultural Skills, Acme Studios ,Thurrock Council, Arts Council England, together with the departments of Business Innovation and Skills, Communities and Local Government and their agencies.
The first phase of development of the fourteen acre site, its heritage buildings and public park, was completed in 2010 with the opening of the Royal Opera House's Bob and Tamar Manoukian Set Production workshop. This was followed in 2013 by the launch of Creative & Cultural Skills' Backstage Centre, a world class production, rehearsal and training venue for performance, broadcast and live events.
Acme Studios opened the High House Artists Studios in October 2013, a new building that reflects the latest thinking in creative workspace.
The Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre opened on the site in 2015. The Centre is designed to hold costumes for Royal Opera House productions, as well as historic costumes, musical instruments and furniture from the archive collection. The Centre delivers a BA (Hons.) degree course in Costume Construction, in partnership with South Essex College and University of the Arts London.
In 2011, High House Production Park Ltd transferred from the public sector into the charitable sector and is now led by a Board of Trustees and a small executive team.
High House Production Park is a new charity established to support an international centre of excellence for creative industries in Thurrock that will inspire a new generation. We work in partnership with the Royal Opera House, Creative & Cultural Skills, Acme Studios and Thurrock Council to :
- Develop a shared vision and strategy for the production park
- Broker wider relationships and resources to advance joint priorities
- Champion the work and achievements of High House Production Park.
- Company registration number 06683419
- High House Production Park is registered as a charity in England No 1145424
- VAT registration number 123 4207 57
Board of Trustees
Alex Beard (Chair)
Alex Beard is Chair of the High House Production Park and Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House.
Prior to his arrival in September 2013, Alex was Deputy Director at Tate since 2002 having started there as Finance Director in 1994.
At Tate, Alex had particular responsibility for the business activities, resource management and audience development initiatives, as well as leading on their capital programme and government relations. Previously he was at the Arts Council for seven years.
Andy Swarbrick has been a partner with Deloitte (and predecessor firm) for most of his career, having joined the company following graduation from Reading University with a degree in French.
He has led a specialist team providing audit, accounting, tax and advisory services to a wide range of smaller businesses including hi-tech, life sciences, manufacturers, professional practices and charities.
He has also been heavily involved in the management of Deloitte’s own practice, holding a number of roles culminating in being senior partner of the Cambridge office for 7 years until 2008. He steps down from the firm after 39 years in May 2014. Andy currently holds a number of trustee positions in the cultural and wider voluntary sector.
As Operations Director for Nimax Theatres, James Heaton is responsible for the running of six of London’s West End venues – the Palace, Garrick, Lyric, Apollo, Vaudeville and Duchess Theatres. He was previously Deputy Director of Operations for Camden’s Roundhouse, Venue Director for The Guardian, and Director of his own business which developed and operated pubs in south-east London.
Alongside HHPP, James sits on the board of trustees of Wilton’s Music Hall (where he has previously also acted as a consultant) and is a Director of the commercial subsidiary of Battersea Arts Centre. He holds a Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is currently enrolled on Edinburgh Business School’s MBA programme.
Ali Pretty is best known as the founding member and artistic director of the international outdoor arts company Kinetica which she founded in 1997 after an established career in carnival arts and a growing commitment to community engagement work.
Ali has collaborated with and led teams of artists to deliver large-scale events to diverse audiences all over the world such as WOMAD (1985 – 1991), FIFA World Cup (2009), the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Her artistic direction and her hand painted silk designs are renowned for their quality , both in their individual style as well as their ability to engage and leave lasting legacies in communities and individuals alike. In recent years Ali has been developing her practice as an artist in her own right.
She creates transformational walking arts projects with diverse communities. Through these projects Ali brings people together by walking, talking and painting large-scale silk creations. She created 12 large-scale silks for the Royal Opera House that hung in the ROH Paul Hamlyn Hall during Deloitte ignite 2015 Festival.
Her current project, Silk River links communities in London along the river Thames with those along the Hooghly in West Bengal as part of the UK/India celebrations. It is an international development of the pioneering place-making model that Ali has established since 2012, leading walking projects in Wiltshire, Isle of Wight, Lincolnshire and Essex including Thurrock where she has delivered a two year project (2015-17) entitled Thurrock 100.
BJ Chong is one of the Management Partners at Palmers Solicitors. Palmers is one of the largest law firms in the London Gateway area with eight partners, 80 staff and three offices across SE Essex.
BJ graduated with a LLB (Hons) and also holds a LLM (Company Law) from UCL. He trained with Palmers and became a Partner within three years of qualifying as a solicitor.
He has received citations in the independent review publication “Legal 500” between 2008-2014. He was also part of the winning team for the Basildon B2B business awards 2014. BJ has steered the Thurrock office to win two consecutive Thurrock business awards in delivering Excellent Customer Service in 2014 & 2015.
BJ is a member of the Thurrock Business Board, a body set-up help raise Thurrock's profile and to promote economic growth.
Lyn Carpenter is Chief Executive of Thurrock Council. She took up her post in September 2015, joining Thurrock from both Hammersmith & Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea - bi-boroughs - where she was Executive Director of Environment, Leisure and Residents Services.
Lyn also chaired the tri-borough (including Westminster City Council) Public Health Board and Violence Against Women and Girls Board and is a member of the national Society of Local Authority Chief Executives Board (SOLACE).
Outside the work environment, Lyn has had over 30 years' involvement in netball - contributing as a player, coach, administrator and volunteer. She was an England Under-18 and Under-21 player and became a senior international in 1997, representing England in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and a year later at the Netball World Championships and winning bronze medals at both.
Lyn started work in the private leisure industry straight from university in 1987, before moving to the public sector at the London Borough of Bexley in 1992.
She has also worked at Bexley, Crawley, Elmbridge, and Merton councils.
Hannah is a director of Second Floor Studios and Arts, she is also working as an a advisor to Assemble who wish to expand their work on affordable spaces for the creative and third sector economy, the Durham Wharf Foundation and the GLA on a fixed term appointment as a Senior Advisor leading their Creative Enterprise Zones policy area.
Prior to this Hannah was the CEO for Acme Artist Studios and had also worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where she served as Commissioner General and Director for the UK at the Milan Expo 2015 commissioning an artist-led, UK Pavilion and leading a global programme of business and cultural events promoting UK creative strengths internationally.
Hannah has also held a wide range of senior UK policy and diplomatic roles with a focus on the global economy, European Union and post-conflict reconstruction and worked for international organisations including the European Commission and International Energy Agency. She also sat as a member of the FCO Operations Committee overseeing the management of its finances and overseas estates, advised on work-live housing projects in Hackney Wick and worked for a local authority on housing allocation.
In 2016, Hannah received an OBE for services to diplomacy and UK trade and investment.
Sue has worked in FE for over 30 years with 9 years as FE Principal and CEO. She has led improvement to Ofsted Grade 2, two mergers and substantial culture change, with an emphasis on leadership development and support, while maintaining financial stability.
Sue has an extensive knowledge of FE, Apprenticeships and HE including policy, funding, and curriculum as well as highly developed networking skills proven in leadership roles in the Learning and Skills Council, in partnership working with employers and other stakeholders in West Sussex, in Higher Education and in Adult Responsiveness. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
She was the Chair of FE Sussex, the member organisation of the twelve FE Colleges in Sussex, for four years and is a Trustee on two separate arts trusts for the locality. She was also Chair of the National Qualifications Advisory Group, which advised Government and the Skills Funding Agency on changes to qualifications and funding from 2012-2015, and Vice Chair of the Mixed Economy Group of FE Colleges with high volume HE provision from 2011 to 2016. Sue was awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to education in June 2017.
Since retirement Sue has worked as an education consultant and leadership coach. In April 2018, Sue joined the Board of PROCAT in Basildon, a specialist college for Engineering focussed on apprenticeships. She is currently undertaking an interim Principal role at the National College Creative Industries.
Biog details to follow
Paul Hellen , General Manager
Paul joined High House Production Park as its Operations Manager in 2011. He is responsible for the smooth running of the Production Park and works closely with its tenant partners to achieve this.
Prior to HHPP, Paul worked for Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation. As Finance and Administration Manager for the Association of British Insurers, Paul worked in the capital for eighteen years.