Honorary Patrons

Jo Brand

Jo Brand is a British comedian who first rose to success in the late 1980’s. She has written and starred in various TV sitcoms s and dramas including  Getting On, set in a geriatric ward, for which she won a BAFTA, and her latest series Damned about hard-pressed social workers. She has appeared in Live at the Apollo and is a regular panelist on many TV quiz shows such as QI, Countdown and Have I Got News For You. Jo is a generous charity supporter via national charities like Comic & Sports Relief, last year walking coast to coast for the latter. She first became involved in charitable work in Herefordshire through her work with Megan Baker House. She came to The Courtyard in 2006 for Borderlines Film Festival and returned again in Sept 2011 to perform a joint fundraiser gig for The Courtyard and Megan Baker House, something she has done a couple of times since and does so again this May 2017 Jo also kindly supports our annual Youth Theatre Awards, giving her name to the ‘Outstanding Youth Theatre Member’ category, awarded each year at our Ignite Youth Theatre Day.

Sir Derek Jacobi & Richard Clifford

Sir Derek Jacobi

‘I support The Courtyard and its wide variety of both live and screened performances because I believe that all ages have an opportunity to share a unique experience,’ says Sir Derek. ‘The work The Courtyard does to encourage new audiences and involve its existing clientele from all walks of life is invaluable and it cannot continue without your generous donations. I appeal to you to support The Courtyard so that its diverse programme of work can continue to thrive.’ 

Sir Derek is a BAFTA award winning actor who has been in the business for over 50 years. A Cambridge graduate, he first found work with Birmingham Repertory Theatre. While at Birmingham, he was invited by Laurence Olivier to join the newly-established National Theatre, where he stayed for a further eight acclaimed years.

Sir Derek is best known for his career-defining role in I, Claudius (BBC, 1976). He has played a variety of prolific Shakespearian roles over the years such as Richard II and Hamlet. In 1994 he received a knighthood and embarked on the popular series Cadfael (ITV, 1994-98). Within the last year he has appeared in ITV’s comedy Vicious with Sir Ian McKellan, a sitcom about a gay couple who’ve been together for 48 years living in Soho, and co-stars alongside Anne Reid in Last Tango in Halifax which has received a BAFTA for Best Drama Series.

Sir Derek’s partner Richard Clifford is also a well respected Shakespearean actor, having appeared in many theatrical and film productions of the Bard’s plays, as well as many well known TV series such as the acclaimed The Tudors. Richard has countless film credits including My Week With Marilyn (2011) which many consider to be Eddie Redmayne’s breakthrough role.

Sir Derek and Richard became Honorary Patrons of The Courtyard in 2008 following the staging of a fundraising poetry evening featuring the two actors. Sir Derek performed an ‘Audience with…’ evening at The Courtyard in October 2010 as a Courtyard fundraiser. In 2013 at the March Borderlines Festival, Sir Derek did a ‘Film Retrospective’ interview with Francine Stock, where he reminisced on his film work over the past 50 years. This event was part of the Festival programme, but was run as a Courtyard fundraiser. Like Jo Brand, Sir Derek supports our Youth Theatre Awards, putting his name to the ‘Excellence in Acting’ award.

Lorraine Kelly OBE

‘I was so impressed with the work being done by the enthusiastic and passionate team at The Courtyard that I was delighted and very honoured to be asked to come on board as an Honorary Patron. The huge range of important, educational, funny, moving and entertaining events at The Courtyard is just extraordinary and adds to the richness of life in Herefordshire.’

Lorraine is a Scottish television presenter, journalist and actress, best known for her morning television show on ITV, Lorraine. Lorraine first appeared at The Courtyard in 2011 to host Let’s Get Cooking in association with the Hereford Garrison. She has since returned to host a Tea and Champagne with Lorraine fundraiser event, the latest in April 2013 to coincide with the organisation’s 15th Anniversary. Lorraine also supports our Youth Theatre Awards, sponsoring the ‘Most Committed Member’ award.

Dr Phil Clark

Phil Clark is a theatre director and writer, specialising in work for young people. He trained at Rose Bruford College and in 2007 received a PhD in from the University of Glamorgan. Starting as a founding member of Theatre Powys in 1972 he then became the Artistic Director of Newcastle upon Tyne’s Bruvvers Theatre Company (1975–82). In 1983 he joined the Tyne Wear Theatre Company as a director and established the UK’s largest annual youth theatre festival. The position of Artistic Director of the Crucible Theatre in Education followed from 1985 to 89. In January 1990 he became the Artistic Director of the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff, Wales, which was later renamed Sherman Cymru, a post he held until 2006. He is a trustee of The Theatres Trust (the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres) appointed in 2008.

Mrs Monique Heijn

Mrs Monique Heijn is part of the family of Eign Enterprises, the Dutch supermarket giants made successful by her late husband Dr. Albert Heijn. Mrs Heijn is based in Herefordshire and in the late 19902/early 2000s, the family invested heavily in the County, developing the Left Bank complex and rearing pedigree Hereford Bulls on their farm. Mrs Heijn is very supportive of the Arts in Herefordshire and is also a great supporter of various Aids charities.

Baroness Morris of Yardley

Estelle Morris, Baroness Morris of Yardley, is a British Labour Party politician; she was MP for Birmingham Yardley from 1992 to 2005 and served briefly in the Cabinet as Education Secretary.