Directors and Trustees

The Seaton Gateway Theatre charity has eleven Trustees who are also Directors of the organisation

Carol Manley – Chair of Trustees

It is a privilege and honour to be one of the founders of The Gateway Theatre, it has been a true adventure that unleashed a community spirit bringing everyone together.  In 2017 I returned to the Midlands to be with my family and became a trustee.  In 2020 during the worst year for everyone involved with theatres I became Chair of Trustees, welcoming new trustees to the board as we began to find our way through such unprecedented times.  I would like to thank our previous chair Alan Nicholas for his unwavering support and the hard work he gave to The Gateway over the years.

My background is in community and education, I am currently Deputy Head of DAE at De Montfort University, creating a global network of 90,000 DMU alumni.  We support staff, students and the wider aims of the university through our  UK and International Events and online community hub.  With 700 volunteers involved in enhancing employability and community projects.  Previously I worked as a training consultants for School Leadership Teams focused on Governance and Strategic Planning.

Paul Hotchkiss

Retirement seems to be a word missing from my vocabulary.

An electronics job with the Independent Broadcasting Authority brought me and my family back to Seaton in 1979 and I soon became involved in volunteer work within the community, giving technical advice for productions by local drama/operatic, pantomime and musical societies.

My long career in the Royal Air Force, beginning in 1961, gave me varied work experience and an opportunity to explore the world.

I was based at RAF Brize Norton helping with experimental trials for a new automatic ‘Blind Landing System’ using a commercial Comet 2 and Trident airliners. A similar system was subsequently installed in aircraft and airports worldwide. A qualification in Electrical Engineering led into my service in the Middle East and Singapore, where I worked as a volunteer Programme Director at a Forces Radio Station. My experience as a ‘radio man’ led to my final RAF team project to commission a secure Maritime Communication System for Coastal Command.

The South Pacific was the next stop. My wife enrolled as a nurse in the local hospital while my task was to relocate a coastal radio station in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. For five years various Government projects took us to many of the wonderful scattered islands. After work with the Independent Broadcasting Authority and a short Radar refresher course with the RAF I resumed my old job in what is now known as Air Traffic Engineering. But this time with the Royal Navy.

Even though now retired I was recently part of a team which was commissioned to create new ground to air communication system for RN Air Traffic Control in the South West including staff training. I continue to work with the local societies and feel honoured to now be giving technical support to Seaton’s Gateway Theatre Company.

Annette Bentley

As one of the founding members of The Gateway I have much love and interest in this amazing charity.

Prior to moving to Seaton some 23 years ago I lived and worked in London at Grosvenor House, Park Lane before joining Bally of Switzerland as a manager for the Knightsbridge branch. Twenty years within such an environment resulted in valuable experience and knowledge within the hospitality and customer service base.

The Gateway is an amazing resource for Seaton, the surrounding areas and visitors alike. I am very proud to have been a part of the birth and growth of this wonderful Charity.

Andrew Gwyn Davies

Having left the valleys of South Wales to study Media & Cultural Studies at University in Southampton I embarked upon my ambition to work in the Film & TV Industry.

Working my way up from the position of Trainee to that of Line Producer, I have established myself as a freelancer in an amazing and creative industry, working on projects such as Robin Hood, Prometheus, The Durrells and Justice League. I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing crew in some amazing places such as Iceland, Spain, Hungary, Greece, Argentina & Australia.

Since moving to the beautiful East Devon coast, with my wife in December 2017, I have worked at the Donkey Sanctuary, in local commerce as well as continuing my freelance work. I have also been involved in volunteering for the National Trust as well as work with Seaton Town Council.

I’m proud to be associated with The Gateway Theatre which is of great importance to the town and community. It has been a pleasure to volunteer and assist them with their fantastic work.

Ken Newland

Born in London, then 50 years in Berkshire, but with close links to Seaton for 20 years, we moved to Seaton permanently last year as it is where we wanted
to spend our final retirement years. As a chartered electronics engineer, Fellow of the Association of Project Management, Member of the British Computer Society, Certified practitioner and past CEO of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, I have had a varied and interesting career mainly in the defence industry working for both industry and the MoD. As department head for submarine combat systems engineering and managing Director of a medium sized systems engineering consultancy, I have managed teams from a few to over a hundred. In my latter years I designed and ran training courses across the world in bid management, proposal writing and risk management.

In my early retired years, I became chairman of our local carnival committee (12 years) and chairman of our parish council (8 years). Through these I developed an interest in local community matters and the arts and these, together with my management and professional background, are what I hope to bring to The Gateway. My other general interests include gardening, DIY, and portrait painting in oil.

Bindu Usher
Bindu Usher

I was born in India but have travelled extensively around the world as my GP father was an intrepid globe trotter, seeking new adventures every few years. I eventually settled, met and married Mark in Reading and remained there while my family moved on to Wales. I was employed at The Reading County Court for 23 years having covered a myriad of jobs but pre-dominantly Clerking for the County and High Court Judiciary.

We moved to Seaton 13 years ago to raise our then 5 year old son Robbie, seeking a more slower and child friendly pace. A wise move I feel as my son has had a wonderful childhood and all the opportunities we hoped for and more. My career took a turn here and I worked my way through the education system from Seaton Primary to The King’s School in Ottery St. Mary where I am an Interventions teaching Assistant, specialising in spelling and a Form Tutor. I support a vast array of SEN children. My son maintained a love for performing arts from an early age. The Gateway has been instrumental in helping him realise his dream. The Panto Society and Drama groups have helped nurture his love and now at age 18, thanks to this wonderful establishment and the amazing people involved here, he is taking his journey to the next level at college. My journey at the Gateway began with his. I have been involved in supporting the many fantastic productions and indeed enjoyed volunteering my services for the many events hosted by The Gateway. It is a privilege to be a Trustee for this incredible establishment. My involvement at an outstanding secondary school puts me in a good position to bring safeguarding knowledge to the table.