The Regent Centre is directed by a Board of Directors elected by Members of the Company.

The current members of the Board all have special responsibilities to oversee certain parts of the operation.

They were elected at the AGM on January 7th 2017.


Chris Root (Chairman and Finance)

Christopher has been a “user” of the Regent Centre since it re-opened in 1982 as a member of Christchurch Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and more recently with the Scout & Guide Gang Show. In addition to being on-stage he has also been involved for a number of years as part of the volunteer stage crew. Away from the Regent he is a Director of an Accountancy practice in Westbourne and spends a lot of his spare time Scouting and following the fortunes of both AFC Bournemouth and Christchurch Football Club.

Jennet Lambert

Jennet grew up in Dartford, Kent, and subsequently moved to Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire with her husband. She has a life-long love of dancing and, while attending adult classes in ballet and tap with a local ballet school, got the opportunity to dance in a local Am Dram G & S production in Stevenage. She was hooked, and subsequently danced in all their musical productions, including an annual Music Hall, which was great fun. On moving to Christchurch with her family, Jennet joined Milton Musical Society and performed in two productions, one of them - Brigadoon - on the Regent Centre stage (she still has the video!). She then became involved in folk dance and was a founder member of a local Morris side and a local Appalachian dance side, Spank the Planks. She is still the dance leader for Spank the Planks as well as for a Molly side, Holly Copse Molly (it’s akin to Morris, but without the bells). On retirement in April 2010 from her job as Customer Support Manager at a local defence communications company, Jennet joined the Regent Centre as a volunteer Receptionist. She has now also trained for the Box Office and as Duty Manager and occasionally ushers as well. She became Minutes Secretary to the Board in March 2013 and was voted onto the Board in January 2014.

John Cooper

John has been involved at the Regent Centre for some 25 years. A lifetime resident of Christchurch apart from a couple of years in Brighton. He is a Member of Christchurch Rotary Club and plays golf. John enjoys theatre, travel and eating! His career was in Local Government Finance and for the last 12 years was Borough Treasurer for Christchurch. Retiring in 1990, John joined the Board of Trustees and became Company Secretary. He oversaw the Regent Centre finances and when the then bookkeeper retired, he took on the of Finance Manager and became an employee. He had to leave the Board but continued to attend Board meetings as Company Secretary. When John retired as Finance Manager, he rejoined the Board and has remained a Director, with a one year break, since then. Both he and his wife volunteer as ushers and help with the bar.


Janet Townend (Company Secretary)

Born and brought up in Twickenham, her first holiday was in a chalet on Mudeford Sandbank and her father taught her to row in Christchurch Harbour at the age of 6.

At University she studied Biochemistry and was pleased to get a job back on the South coast at Poole Hospital. Whilst there she studied computing and ended up running the results service for all the NHS laboratories in the area. Janet met her husband Kit in Christchurch in 1975 and supported him while he and others got the Regent Centre off the ground from 1982.
She has been Secretary of CADArts, the arts umbrella body for the area, for several years. It was this body that with others persuaded Christchurch Borough Council to buy the Regent, create an apron to the stage and provide some back stage space so that live shows as well as films could be put on. Kit walked with sticks and was delighted to find the Jubilee Sailing Trust had a Tall Ship, The Lord Nelson, that they could both sail on. She is still a supporter. Janet currently plays in 4 music groups, on various instruments.

Valerie Gillard

Valerie studied singing, dance and drama at the Arts Educational School in London, took her music degree at the Guildhall School of Music and gave private piano lessons, before making her career in Arts PR. She also played badminton for Surrey. She became Assistant to the Press Officer of the English National Opera at the London Coliseum, before moving to the City of London’s newly built Barbican Centre, where she worked for 20 years becoming Head of Press and PR responsible for the Centre’s arts programme (music, theatre, film and exhibitions) and corporate PR, plus working closely with the Royal Shakespeare Company and London Symphony Orchestra.

Val moved to Highcliffe with her husband (the arts journalist David Gillard MBE, now a Patron of the Regent Centre) in 2000 and became a member of Highcliffe Charity Players, taking over their publicity. She has since also appeared regularly with Theatre 2000, BBLOC, Silhouette Opera Arena Theatre and Regent Rep. As well as being on the Committee of HCP, she is a Director of Cliff Close Management Company Limited.



Carole Toothill

From an early age, Carole became aware of the strong musical influence from both sides of the family as her grandfather, father and uncle were all professional musicians. 

She took dance, piano and singing lessons and after 3 years at teacher training college was able to put these skills to good use while working as a primary school teacher in Reading preparing junior choirs and instrumentalists for the annual music festivals. 

After moving north with her husband and family, Carole worked for 29 years as a music specialist in Lancashire. She became involved in the educational work of the Ludus Dance Company and Lancaster Playhouse Theatre in Education as well as becoming Chair of Lancashire Schools  Dance Association. 

On moving to Highcliffe in 2001, Carole and her husband joined the Regent as volunteers. Carole has recently trained in other areas and also serves as an usher and in her regular Duty Manager's slot

She loves the work and ethos of the Regent and, after several months as Minutes Secretary to the Board,  was delighted to be elected to the Board.She is currently continuing to write up the Minutes and also serves on the Development and Finance Sub Committees.

She hopes to continue the close and rewarding association with the Regent for many years to come. 


David Roper

His background was in the airline industry, were he was crew for 37 years. He is married to Joyce, has 2 grown up daughters, and 2 grandchildren. After retiring about 7 years ago, much of his time is taken up travelling, when time and other commitments permit, although his other passion is sailing, which alas is not as often as he would like nowadays. Other hobbies include the cinema/theatre, walking, gym, and dining out with friends.

Being a Regent volunteer, has been a real pleasure, and being elected to the Board is something he is really looking forward to getting his teeth into, and being part of the team that gets things moving forward. Christchurch should be duly proud of having such fantastic place as the Regent. 


Linda Kirkman

Linda’s working life began in one of the major banks, where she was part of a team responsible for training others in management skills, but a career change in 1991 took her into journalism, specialising in her lifelong love, theatre. She wrote for Interval Magazine before moving in 1995 to Bournemouth Echo, where she was responsible for the weekly amateur theatre-based Curtain Call page. In 2007 she started up her own publication, Scene One, specifically to give a voice to local amateur theatre, but she has now retired from this, although still does the odd review from time to time.

Along the way Linda became a judge for the national TMA Awards, was part of the judging panel for various Echo-sponsored Talent Shows and was on the committee of the Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival. She also spent a happy year as part of the Mayflower Theatre’s marketing team.

On the other side of the footlights, Linda began performing in local musical theatre in 1967, playing a number of principal roles over the years with several societies. Her biggest claim to fame was during a production of Salad Days at this very theatre, when on the last night she fell none-too-gracefully through an on-stage bench and brought the house down to tears of laughter from crew, cast and audience. Perhaps it is just as well that she no longer treads the boards!

Linda has been a supporter of the Regent Centre since its reopening in 1983, and was thrilled to be asked to re-join the Board in 2017.


Art Wardle

Before retirement Art worked in the Training Simulator Industry. For over 45 working years he gained a wide knowledge of Electronics, Hardware Design, Computer Programming, and Project Management. Art was a Senior Project and Contract Manager of multi-million pound Military Team Trainers, and Civilian Air Traffic Control simulator projects which were delivered to customers in the UK and worldwide.

He has been involved in theatre from boyhood, assisting his father who was also involved with the technical aspects and stage management of amateur theatre. Throughout his life Art has been a member of theatre groups at senior school, university, and military establishments in the UK. He also took a leading role in Stage Management, Set Design and Lighting at the amateur Windmill Theatre group in Littlehampton for several years.

After retiring in 2014, Art joined the Regent Centre as a Technical Volunteer working on live performances and broadcasts, and very much enjoys being part of the team. He is a keen Croquet player and is the Secretary of his local Croquet Club. Art takes an active interest in the Regent Centre, and his wealth of experience makes him eminently suited to overview all the technical aspects of the theatre. 


Sue Woodward

Sue was born and brought up in Bedfordshire, she was, in her youth, a Member of the then famous Luton Girls’ Choir. Sue did a course In Business Studies at a local Commercial College and from there secured a position as a Secretary in the House of Commons moving on after a few years to a similar position at the Ministry of Defence.

In 1985 Sue moved with her family to Highcliffe and has worked since then on a self- employed basis doing book-keeping, accounts and taxation, she is also Company Secretary to a Highcliffe based Property Company.

In 1992 Sue joined The Highcliffe Charity Players beginning her association with The Regent Centre. Sue has been Secretary and Treasurer of the Society for the past 20 years and has also recently joined the Highcliffe Castle Choir.


Alastair Hoare

Alastair was formerly the Property and Managing Partner of Williams Thompson Solicitors, with responsibility for commercial property work. He remains the paid Clerk to the trustees of a local charity, the Hospital of St Magdalen. He has also been variously Chair of Christchurch Citizens Advice Bureau, Christchurch Round Table and Western Challenge Housing Group (now Spectrum Housing Group) and President of the Christchurch Chamber of Trade & Commerce. He therefore brings to the Regent relevant legal and as well as local knowledge and many years’ experience as a volunteer both in, and in managing, charities and within business.

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