About Us

Our mission is to develop and support a thriving network of voluntary promoters, enabling them to promote high quality professional theatre and dance performances and community cinema screenings in rural venues.

Our ethos is completely audience-focused and our promoters fully understand the make-up of their communities. A recent survey confirms our satisfied customer base and our audiences recognise NEAT as excellent value for money.

In 1985, NEAT identified a service gap and became an organisation focused on providing affordable small-scale theatre and dance performances for local audiences in rural communities across the North East.

In 2010, NEAT became a Registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee.

Our community cinema scheme was launched in 2013 and our five sets of mobile cinema equipment enables rural communities to screen films via our trained volunteer promoters.

In 2015, NEAT launched a Young Promoter Scheme in partnership with Aberdeen International Youth Festival with financial support from Youth Arts Collective North East. The scheme empowers young people to become active event promoters in their community whilst also learning transferable skills in event and arts management.

NEAT is also committed to ensuring that young audiences have access to high quality theatre experiences and work closely with schools and our volunteer promoters to programme suitable work for young audiences.

NEAT is governed by a team of committed non-executive directors and the day-to-day running of the organisation is professionally executed by a small team of dedicated staff.

The Team

Emyr Bell

Emyr Bell

Executive Director


As someone with experience of being on both sides of the theatre curtain, Emyr has found his perfect job at NEAT.

His position of Executive Director means he is in charge of the daily running of the organisation and has the overall responsibility for NEAT’s artistic and strategic development.

Hailing from a Felindre a small Welsh village, Emyr can appreciate the importance of rural communities and since graduating as a mature student in 1997 he has not only been treading the boards but has also been a stage manager and youth theatre co-ordinator.

Emyr says: “I have immense pleasure working with a team of volunteer promoters who give so much time ensuring their communities are vibrant places to live and work. Very few jobs give you the opportunity to mix your interests and experience into one role but working for NEAT does!” 

Lynn Shaw

Lynn Shaw

Young Promoter Coordinator


Engaging with young people through the arts has always been Lynn’s ambition. Having trained as a dancer she spent many years as artistic director of a youth dance company, choreographing, creating and touring work, while nurturing talent and encouraging young people to find their creative voice.

Raised in the small village of Insch, she understands the positive impact the arts can bring to rural communities and how important it is for everyone to be exposed to as many different art forms as possible.

Lynn says “In my post as young promoter’s coordinator I want to create opportunities for youngsters to feel empowered by saying “We made this happen” and taking ownership of producing and promoting work that excites them”.

Outside work Lynn loves spending time with her daughter and has just recently began studying a part-time Masters at The Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow.

Erin Smith

Erin Smith

Marketing Assistant


From Oldmeldrum, Erin studied Drama, Business and Media at Oldmeldrum Academy. She is currently studying Media at Robert Gordon’s University.

Erin says: “I’m really exciting about having this opportunity to work with NEAT, it will give me the chance to put into practice many of basics that I’m learning as part of my course.”

As Marketing Assistant Erin will be a key player in helping NEAT deliver its Marketing Strategy and responsible for social media campaigns.

Ruth Thomson

Ruth Thomson

Office Manager


With many years of experience in a very successful national company, progressing through the ranks to become PA to several directors, Ruth is very happy to be in charge of all the administration and finance functions at NEAT.

She enjoys the variety of the job and appreciates the supportive team she works alongside.

Ruth says: “Every day at NEAT really is different!”

She moved to Oxfordshire in 2002 as part of her previous role with the Stewart Milne Group but returned to the north-east in 2006 when she started a family.

Outside work, Ruth’s interests are largely influenced by her daughter so the latest trends are always popular!

The Board

Alistair Farquhar

Alistair Farquhar

Chair & Board Member

As a busy community pharmacist, Alistair still makes time to promote theatre shows on the Moray coast and be a board member of NEAT.

Alistair says: “I really enjoy my position at NEAT because I get to help bring touring theatre and cinema screenings to a local venue.”

Other than indulging his love of the arts and attending many live performances in other areas, Alistair can be found walking his dog and being an active Rotarian.

Cathy Guthrie

Cathy Guthrie

Board Member

Cathy has over 25 years’ experience at steering group and board level across a range of tourism, cultural and arts projects, ranging from marketing consortia such as the Captain Cook Tourism Association to the creation of the Scottish Community Rural Touring Forum. She became a consultant following 20 years working in tourism destination management and taking postgraduate qualifications.

She has been a Director of the Tourism Management Institute since the late 1990s, during which time as Hon. Secretary she steered and supported TMI through three major constitutional changes. Her current role is to provide freelance membership communications and administration support for the Institute’s two main annual conferences, and run the TMI Higher Education course accreditation scheme in addition to continuing as Hon. Secretary.

Cathy has been the Haddo Arts Festival Administrator since its inception in 2012 and was fund raiser for the Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society for a number of years until she joined Con Anima chamber choir in January 2016.

Cathy says “I cannot imagine life without access to opportunities to participate in arts performances either as performer or audience member and as a board member I aim to draw on my experiences to ensure a strong future for the arts across the North East”.

Nicola Henderson

Nicola Henderson

Co-Chair & Board Member

Nicola Henderson is a freelance arts consultant. She has worked within Scotland’s cultural sector for 15 years – from Glasgow to Aberdeenshire via Skye and Sutherland.

Nicola gained practical experience working within arts venues box offices and marketing departments before becoming director of Timespan Museum and Arts Centre in Helmsdale and Woodend Barn in Banchory.

Following the birth of her first child in 2014, Nicola has worked as a freelance on a number of different projects – from devising and delivering Associate Artist programmes to managing New Music Scotland. Driven by a passion for helping rural communities have the same access to high quality arts events as is available in the cities, Nicola is delighted to work with NEAT on ensuring new and continued access to such events across the North East.

Nicola says “NEAT is the embodiment of what I love – good theatre, good dance and good film that brings communities together to share ideas, be inspired, have fun and get to know each other.”

Nicola was Co-Chair of NEAT between 2015 and 2017  

Neil McArthur

Neil McArthur

Board Member

Neil worked in banking for many years before retiring from a senior position based in Aberdeen. He then became the Managing Director of a large international oil spill intervention company and travelled extensively visiting the company’s 28 bases around the world.

He has  held other board appointments both as an executive and non-executive director, including PR, offshore waste management and business consultancy. He was Chairman of one of Scotland’s major port authorities as well as an Ellon based engineering company.

His direct connection with performing arts has been restricted  to being a member of the well known Cluny Players.

Neil says “ NEAT is a hugely worthy charity bringing highly professional theatre performances to rural areas which enhance both community involvement and cohesion”

Neil has many interests include charity work. He is an enthusiastic amateur magician.

Cameron Mowat

Cameron Mowat

Board Member

Cameron joined the Board in November 2017 and his biography will appear soon

Catherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson

Board Member

Catherine currently works as communications manager at Aberdeen Foyer, a charity and social enterprise which works to alleviate and prevent youth homelessness and unemployment in the north-east of Scotland.

With a keen interest in arts and culture, she supported the curator to bring a programme of art exhibitions to the erstwhile Foyer Restaurant and Gallery in the city. She has experience in marketing, public relations, social media, advertising, internal/external communications and building relationships.

Catherine says: “Nothing quite matches the experience of a live performance whether it is dance, theatre, poetry or music. I wholeheartedly support the provision and promotion of professional touring arts to communities across the north-east.”

Her interests include local, national and international issues and she is a “champion for equality and tolerance”.

NEAT is a wonderful organisation. To be able to see such high quality performances by walking 200 yards through the village is amazing.


Richard Firth


NEAT performances bring a community together. As a new resident it gave me the opportunity to meet others in an informal setting. I just love the “coothy” nature of the performances.



Versatile and responsive. NEAT engages with local people and places to create a sense of community.



Always a great night out.



North East Arts Touring Limited is a Company registered in Scotland No. 380002.

Registered Scottish Charity No. SC041764.