Meet the Board

Our current Board members are listed below.

To read more about the duties of a SCIO trustee please visit the OSCR website and refer to their excellent Guidance for Charity Trustees – acting with care and diligence.


Stewart Aitken, Chair

Born and brought up in Dunfermline, Stewart always had a passion for drama and acting and so started his career by joining two youth theatres and trained as an actor at Queen Margaret College. He spent the first 10 years out of college as a jobbing actor & workshop director with many Scottish companies and TV shows including; Scottish Opera, Byre Theatre (St Andrews), Brunton Theatre (Musselburgh), Clyde Unity, Wildcat and Taggart.

His work journey has included running his own theatre company, working in the Scottish Borders as Artistic Director of The Borders Youth Theatre and six years as Artistic Director of Wigan Pier Theatre Company.

He is currently Artistic Director of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival and has been chair of AB+ since it started last year.

Louise Baxter, Artist.

In addition to being a founding member of AB+ and the Ferryhill Players Louise is a Director of Castlegate Arts. Louise has a postgraduate in special educational needs, taught Art and Design for 25 years and was a Cultural Co-ordinator for the Arts Education Team at Aberdeen City Council.

Annie Begg, Production Manager and writer in residence, Quids In Theatre Company

I have been in this role for over three years and worked hard to produce theatre that is both accessible and entertaining to a wide variety of audiences as well as providing the opportunity for those who wish to be involved. The opportunity for everyone to be involved in the Arts, at whatever level, is very important to me and I think that ABpositive can be fundamental in providing a joined up view of the culture and arts in Aberdeen and encouraging active participation in the Arts by providing a forum for discussion and sharing in Aberdeen.

Alison Chandler, ACVO (Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations)

A founding member of the AB+ Steering Group, Alison grew up in artistic circles in Dundee, took part in the Theatre Society while studying at Edinburgh University and culminated a career in London as CEO of Clean Break Theatre Company for Women Ex-Offenders. Returning to the North East to continue to develop Third Sector organisations, she has been Enterprise and Sustainability Lead for ACVO – The Third Sector Interface for nearly eight years supporting a wide range of arts organisations amongst her clients.

Paula Gibson, Artistic Director, ACT Aberdeen.

Paula had been Executive Manager at ACT Aberdeen for 7 years and is now Artistic Director. She has been closely involved with the cultural community in the city and is a founder member and trustee of AB+.

Paula has been involved with amateur theatre from an early age and is a dedicated and long time supporter of the arts and in particular Aberdeen Arts Centre and Theatre.

Paula is committed to furthering the vision and mission of AB+ and working with the wider cultural corporate and voluntary sectors in Aberdeen city and shire.

Stevie Kearney, Student Development & Volunteer Co-ordinator, RGU

Originally from Montrose, I lived in Aberdeen between 1998 and 2003 and have now been back since 2010, and have a very strong affinity for the city. I have a BA Hons in Corporate Communications from RGU and an MA in Journalism from Edinburgh Napier, so my background is primarily communications-based. My cultural involvement is mostly through music and I spent 4 years as a music journalist for The Scotsman, then 3 years running live music promotions and management in Aberdeen, booking local acts and those from as far away as Brooklyn. I was part of the team that launched the 57º North website which came out of the Strategic Music Partnership and have an increased knowledge of the cultural sector from 3 years working at shmu (2011-2014). Since February 2014, I’ve been employed as the Student Development and Volunteering Coordinator at RGU:Union, promoting extra-curricular activities and linking RGU with a range of 3rd sector organisations, including arts and cultural groups across Aberdeen. I also sit on RGU’s Public Art and Cultural Engagement (PACE) advisory group. I’m a big advocate of a broad definition of culture and of opening up opportunities to all in Aberdeen.

Hamish McKay

Caithnessian Hamish has lived in Aberdeen for 45 years – a senior news executive on The Press and Journal for 25 years before establishing his own media business. He has always been involved in the arts scene – a co-founder of the Aberdeen Alternative Festival, and an arts critic for numerous publications including The Stage.
He has also been involved in the political arena- always as an Independent candidate, and as a community activist on regeneration issues.

Hamish has been surprised but delighted with how quickly AB+ is bedding in – providing an innovative platform to launch a number of synergetic cultural initiatives in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Sandy McRobbie, Secretary

From a start as an Electrician at HMT, Aberdonian Sandy spent a number of years as a touring Lighting Director for acts ranging from London City Ballet to Talking Heads. A decade spent in London as a Production Manager for Theatre Projects culminated in running the Aerial aspects of the Millennium Dome. Back home and 7 years as Technical & Project Manager at HMT followed before a spell in Liverpool at the Empire Theatre for Live Nation. Currently he’s Production Manager at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Sandy is very keen to use his diverse experience to try and help the arts, in all their formats, to flourish in Aberdeen.

Angela Michael

Angela has extensive PR and marketing experience in both the corporate, public and charitable sector.

With an expertise in festival management, promotion, organisation, sponsorship and marketing she has successfully managed the PR, marketing, sponsorship liaison and event planning for events such as Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Big Tent Festival in Fife, Dancelive, AIYF and the North-east’s only two day outdoor music festival, Wizard Festival.

With an avid interest in culture and the arts and a passion for music she has worked at BBC Radio Scotland on the Tom Morton show and carried out interviews with bands and musicians for the Press and Journal’s Your Weekend supplement. Angela has just taken on a new role as Aberdeen Festivals Collective Coordinator.

Alan Silver, Treasurer

Having been involved in the technical side of theatre from school productions at Aberdeen Grammar School Alan progressed to being Artistic Director of Pro Arte. As chairman of Castlegate Ats Ltd he was a member of the steering group at the time of the formation of AB+. His professional role as Director of Roads for Grampian Region gave him grounding in financial control and experience to act as the group treasurer.

Ben Torrie, Aberdeen Performing Arts

Responsibilities as Director of Programming and Creative Projects include the strategic management of several new strands of unique programming, a season of new theatre productions, a successful commercial performing arts programme across three diverse venues, and APA’s drama and music development initiatives.  Ben has a range of professional experience including programming, education, marketing, box office and general management, and has strong local and national networks.  Also a practicing musician, Ben would bring his enthusiasm, passion and dedication to AB+, and would wish to play a significant role in ensuring that the organisation fulfils its potential to act as a powerful, influential and sympathetic voice for arts and culture in the region.

Stephanie Vandem, Artist

As a member ABpositive has been very ‘positive’ to me as an artist and hopefully will continue to exist. For instance, in increasing my network of contacts that lead to actual developments in my work and increasing profile, to having interesting and inspiring conversations with other creatives. About me: Brazilian by birth, travelled and worked around a lot. Have been in the ‘creative industry’ for 20 or so years in different capacities (costume designer, art teacher, and artist) after starting out as an academic. Have always incorporated ‘creativity’ on everything I have done/taught.

Have overcome and therefore am aware of the barriers that prevent people from engaging or pursuing a creative career. Especially as a woman and mother and wife of a brain tumour person. Have been painting and living in Aberdeenshire since 2006, specialising (and quite successful) as a portrait painter. Have started up and run a community art space in Aboyne (fully aware of the funding policies and challenges!). Doing a full programme of courses, community events, etc. stopped to go back into the studio to fulfil painting commitments, including preparing for upcoming show at 17.

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