Inner Circle

  • About


    The Inner Circle are a group of specially selected, Classically minded aod advocates who have a strong desire to see the charity thrive and prosper. They share a vision for our future and work closely with the artistic director and board of trustees toward a strategic policy of expansion, sustainability and longevity. They help to engineer a powerful support mechanism through direct funding, consultation, channelling support through contacts, sharing ideas and providing the framework to realise future plans.


    Members of the Inner Circle have a knowledge and understanding of aod’s ethos and programmes and are willing not only to give advice and serve as ambassadors but to facilitate introductions and nurture relationships in specific areas (with financial benefactors, industry contacts, high-profile champions of Classics), and in some cases will fund aod activities and events 


    aod is at an important crossroads, having reached 25 years of operation in 2018. Since its inception, we have enjoyed building audiences and growing our outreach programmes, and we have ambitious plans for the continuing development of the charity. However, because of ongoing cuts to arts funding, it is crucial that aod should have a creative strategy to attract core funding and develop revenue streams – Revenue which is essential for creating a strong infrastructure to carry out our work.


    The first Inner Circle meeting took place in London on June 2011. Thereafter members usually meet twice a year either as a full group or in smaller groups (in London or Brighton), in addition to keeping in regular contact with aod. Members generate innovative ideas for advancing the work of the charity and suggest contacts of potential benefit - They support us to follow up on suitable leads. Combined meetings of the Inner Circle and board of trustees are encouraged, as are internal recommendations for new members. 

  • Sir Stuart Etherington, Chair

    Stuart was appointed chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in 1994. The NCVO is a membership organisation which represents the interests of charities and voluntary bodies, and with his leadership it has increased its membership greatly - As of 2016 it numbered over 12,000 organisations. Throughout his career he has been involved in the leadership of voluntary organisations and the policies surrounding them. He has become a leading commentator for the voluntary sector both through his writing and his media profile.

  • James Albrecht

    James is head of venues at Fane Productions Ltd and artistic director of Crazy Coqs, a wonderful venue situated in the Brasserie Zedel, London. Crazy Coqs is part of Live at Zedel and James programmes over 800 shows a year - A host of cabaret, music, theatre, comedy and literary events. He was associate artistic director and then creative director at St. James Theatre (now called The Other Palace), which he helped establish as one of London’s leading off west end venues, culminating in its acquisition by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Group in 2016.

  • Kit Bird

    Christopher (Kit) Bird spent the first 14 years of his career in the leather chemicals industry, working in a variety of roles. From 1999 to 2002 he worked in North Yorkshire for the Prince’s Trust and it was during this period that he became interested in entrepreneurial activity. He has since become a “Business Angel”, working with start-up businesses around the country. He has served on the boards of a number of registered charities, including two arts charities, so brings to aod his knowledge of corporate and charity governance. He was a member of aod’s board from 2005 to 2011 and chair from 2010-2011.

  • Michael Brindle

    Michael Brindle QC has enjoyed a legal career spanning more than 40 years, in which time he has handled some of the most prominent finance cases in English legal history. His broadly based practice encompasses commercial litigation, international arbitration, banking and finance, company law, professional negligence in financial and commercial matters, insurance and international trade. He was appointed a deputy high court judge in 2000, is the former chairman of the Commercial Bar Association, and was special adviser to the attorney general of Singapore in 2015. In 2018 he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the UK Bar Awards.

  • Andrew Copson

    Andrew first encountered aod as a schoolboy on school trips to see our plays and it was one of the things that inspired him to go on to study Classics at Oxford. He has worked for and served on the boards of a number of education charities, including aod's, and has been chief executive of Humanists UK for the last decade.

  • Lady Lucy French

    Lucy began her career in PR, events and journalism and over the years has honed her skills and focused her energies on theatre and fundraising for the arts. Her previous roles include head of development at the glorious Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, and before that at The Other Palace. She is founder and CEO of Never Such Innocence, a charity which gives children and young people a voice on conflict and war. Lucy was awarded an OBE in the 2019 new year honours list for services to the arts and young people.

  • Robert Garbett

    Robert is an ex-army entrepreneur who in 2007 left the military as a major following injury in service. He recovered sufficiently to embark on a new career in software development and cyber security, eventually focusing on the fast growing drone industry. During his military service he established senior level expertise in electronic systems engineering, aeronautical engineering, airworthiness, aviation risk, technical authorship, standards, planning and project management. This background led him strategically to invest in the development of other complementary businesses and to bring them together within the Drone Major Group which is uniquely placed to provide a blend of services essential to the rapidly growing drone industry. Robert founded Drone Major Group which is comprised of the following companies: Software Major, Cyber Major, Drone Major and SUAS (the world’s largest online network for the drone industry). From 2016 - 2019, Bob was chair of our board.

  • Steve Pavey

    Steve is a professional management accountant and has spent most of his career in the commercial and educational world, in roles such as finance and business director for the University of Sussex. He works with a number of local charities, arts and community organisations – Helping with their finances and management, and has sat on the board of aod. He enjoys the performing arts and is keen to bring the discipline of good corporate governance into the charity world.

  • David Stuttard

    David Stuttard is an author, lecturer and theatre director. He was joint artistic director of aod for eleven years (1993-2004), and has translated or adapted most scripts for aod, most of which he has also directed. He continues to run workshops for aod and in 2018 was involved in a number of celebrations for aod’s 25th birthday. He is editor of Bloomsbury’s Looking at... series on Greek drama (featuring his translations), and has written on the Olympic Games, the Parthenon, Cleopatra, and the Sack of Rome for The British Museum Press; Greek History and Mythology and Roman Britain for Thames and Hudson; and Alcibiades for Harvard University Press, as well as articles including for Minerva and The Wall Street Journal. He developed a two-hander (Just a Little Murder) with Fenella Fielding and Stephen Greif. David gives regular talks on the classical world throughout the UK.

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