The team

Paula Van Hagen

Paula Van Hagen


Paula is an experienced producer and programmer, with a considerable track record in leading building-based arts organisations… More

Gary Horsman

Gary Horsman

Building & Technical Manager

Gary has worked in the arts since the age of fourteen, engaging in all aspects of the industry from production & events management… More


Stefania Valente

Stefania Valente

Finance Administrator

Stefania’s journey out of motherland Italy took off in the year 2000, moving on from a career in marketing that she happily left behind… More

Laura-Anne Smith

Laura-Anne Smith

Events & Hires Officer

Laura-Anne has been working in the Events industry for six years, creating, organising and overseeing various events including dance, circus,… More

Tamar Hopkins

Tamar Hopkins

Front of House Manager

After completing a BA in Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, Tamar went on to gain experience working in wide range of creative venues, producing events, managing front of house teams and looking after weird and wonderful buildings.

In addition to her work at Chats Palace Tamar programmes a variety of film, artists performance and art events around London.

Front of House

Jo Czernuszka  – Molly Line – Laura Muldoon

Steven Murphy – Juraj Vojenciak – Thom Walker


Board of Trustees

Cllr Rebecca Rennison


Rebecca has been a Hackney councillor since 2014, representing Kings Park ward which is home to Chats Palace. An active councilor, she holds roles across the Council as well as within the ward and joined Chats Palace Board in the summer of 2015. Away from the Council Rebecca works in the charity sector. She is currently Director at a charity working in women’s health where she manages a team that provides direct support to women, offers training to healthcare professionals and campaigns for improvements in treatment and awareness.

Jacquetta May


Jacquetta has been committed to Chats Palace for over 6 years, serving as trustee and more recently as Chair. In 2011 she organised an art auction raising £20,000 for the charity. She has lived in Clapton for 25 years. Jacquetta is a writer, actress, and theatre director. Her long acting career includes appearances at The National Theatre, The Royal Exchange and Liverpool Playhouse and as a regular in EastEnders, Cardiac Arrest and Dangerfield amongst many others. She co-founded the new writing theatre company Plain Clothes Productions, based at Dalston’s Cultural Partnerships, commissioning, producing and directing work that toured nationally and showed at BAC, The Bush, Young Vic and Lyric Hammersmith. She has delivered workshops for all ages and abilities, worked in primary and secondary schools all over east London, run a youth theatre at City and East London College and been a befriender for Freedom From Torture. She has written episodes for No Angels, New Tricks, Torchwood; co-created the BBC youth drama UGetMe (3 series), wrote the BBC 4 90min film In Love With Barbara (starring Anne Reid), and adapted Erica Jong’s iconic novel Fear of Flying. Her legal thriller Lawless (Suranne Jones, Lindsay Duncan) was piloted on Sky Living in 2012. She is currently adapting Educating Rita for ITV, developing an Italian co-production and projects for BBC and C4. She mentors aspiring scriptwriters and has lectured at the V&A and The University of the Arts.

Gary Bridgewood

Gary is a director of Bridgewood & Neitzert violin dealers, makers and repairers in Stoke Newington. An experienced and effective team leader Gary manages and trains a team of repairers/restorers and is involved in marketing, sales, customer relations, training, HR and H&S. Since 1983 the business has grown into an international concern. Gary was a trustee at St Paul’s Steiner School in Islington for 9 years where he set up effective systems and procedures to deal with H&S, Concerns and Complaints. He was also involved in letting the Nave as a venue to raise funds. Hosting classical concerts, album launches and video shoots the space ran at a profit and employed an events co-ordinator. Gary is a musician and lives in Lower Clapton.

Guy Holland Groen

After completing his studies of Economics and Business management in Amsterdam, Guy began his theatre career as an actor in 1970, moving permanently to England in 1971. In 1974 he co-founded Sidewalk Theatre, which continues to exist to this day, albeit under the name of Spare Tyre Theatre. After leaving this company he became a member on the Board for close to 20 years, serving in the capacities of both Chair and Treasurer. In 1978 he founded the national touring company Quicksilver Theatre, of which he was both CEO and Artistic Director. He remained there for 33 years. The company continues to this day as a building-based company under the name of New Diorama. Guy founded New Diorama in 2009 and was its CEO and Artistic Director till 2011.  Further relevant experience includes roles as member (treasurer) on the Boards of Directors Guild of Great Britain, National Campaign for the Arts, Children’s Theatre Association (Chair 1983-91), the International Association of Children’s Theatre, and the Highbury Roundhouse Youth and Community Centre (Executive Treasurer 1978-83). Guy was a co-founder of the Independent Theatre Council and has acted as advisor and mentor to numerous young professionals.  Guy has been a Hackney resident for 33 years – his association with Chats Palace began in 1978.

Cllr Ian Rathbone

London Borough of Hackney Appointment

Ian has been a councillor for Lea Bridge ward for 13 years. He is currently Chair of Hackney Community Law Centre as well a number of other charities and groups. He has worked all his life in the media, as a journalist and editor, lecturer in journalism, and in corporate Public Relations, marketing and Public Affairs management in the Church of England, local government and the transport industry, winning a number of national awards for his campaigning work. As a teacher, he worked in projects at Chats Palace in the early 1980s, working with young unemployed people in communications and arts skills. He is also a musician, playing a number of instruments. He is married with several grown up children.


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