about us

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 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.


Marie Archer

Marie Archer

Community Cinema Coordinator

Being responsible for the running and development of the NEAT rural cinema network is a delight for Marie as in her other creative role she assists film and TV production here in the North East of Scotland. So, if it was filmed here, she’s the girl to tell you where.

Born a Londoner and growing up in rural Oxfordshire has given Marie a love of bright lights and country life.  Her academic achievements range from a Masters in Communicating Science – with a dissertation in The impact of using “Street Performance” to a Postgrad in Education and a first degree in Biological Science & Geological Science.

Marie has worked in the Creative Industries for over 25 years working with communities both in cities and rural locations supporting them to access arts and cultural programming.

Marie says “I always place the audience centre stage during the creative process and they will be forefront in my mind when producing our cinema programme.”

Outside work Marie can be found with a camera in hand, foraging basket and dogs at her side. Her photography has found its way into publications and exhibitions.


Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith

Marketing Assistant

Michelle is an experienced administrator and her main role will be providing administrative and marketing support to our team of dedicated volunteers.

After spending many years as an administrator at Robert Gordon University Michelle took a career break to raise her two sons.

Michelle says “As a family friendly employer NEAT has given me the balance I need to have a healthy work/family balance making it the ideal job for a working parent”.

Born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Michelle moved to the North East of Scotland when she was six months old.


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

Vice 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”.

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”.


Cameron Mowat

Cameron Mowat

Board Member

Cameron is an actor and Theatre Maker. He originates from Aberdeen and has worked and toured around nationally with different Theatre companies including: Royal Lyceum, Citizens Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland, APA, Magnetic North, Dundee Rep Ensemble, Perth Theatre, The Barbican.

Cameron now lives in Aberdeen and is Co-Founder and Co-Artsitic Director of a Theatre Company in Aberdeen City – 10ft Tall Theatre. Since it’s incoroporation in late 2016, 10ft Tall Theatre have gone onto create numerous different experiences for audiences in the North East, including Theatre productions of stories old and new, interactive storytelling workshops for young children, community Theatre projects and creative learning programmes.

Cameron says “I’m keen to develop further the artistic activity in the region as well as collaboration between different creative organisations”.


Helen Macdonald

Helen Macdonald

Board Member

Helen is based in Glasgow and works as a Marketing Officer at Scottish Opera. Her work involves planning and implementing marketing campaigns for a range of projects, including large-scale opera productions and smaller touring shows across Scotland.

Prior to this, Helen studied at the University of Aberdeen, and worked at Aberdeen International Youth Festival in a communications and marketing position. It was during this time that she became involved touring to the smaller and remote venues in the North East.

Helen has a Master’s degree from Glasgow Caledonian University, where she studied Creative & Cultural Business, with a focus on the culture-led regeneration of cities through large-scale events. She has also worked and volunteered with a number of festivals, including Edinburgh International Book Festival, DanceLive, Southside Film Festival and Glasgow Film Festival.

Helen says: ‘NEAT is a vital strand of community life. I am passionate about bringing a range of arts and cultural events to the North East, specifically helping the charity to develop their audiences and create unique opportunities for young people.’

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.


Nicola Henderson

Nicola Henderson

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


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.

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