Pooja Ghai is an award-winning theatre practitioner with over twenty years of experience. She started out as an actor but has been working as a Director for many years, including at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Shakespeare’s Globe, Kiln Theatre, Tamasha, Soho Theatre, Kali Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange. From 2015 to 2018 she was the Associate Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Pooja champions the female voice, the migrant’s story, the refugee’s story, the colonial and post-colonial histories that we all share. She is also passionate about new writing and the stories that contemporary playwrights tell to reflect our times. She has been a judge on playwrighting awards and is versed in nurturing young writers through a process of constructive criticism and collaboration. In addition to her experience of talent development, she brings invaluable experience of creative production, commissioning, programming, artistic budget management and stakeholder engagement to Pop Up’s Board. She is also a trustee for Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF).
Sunny Singh is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning writer of fiction and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel, Nani’s Book of Suicides, published in 2000, was described as a “first novel of rare scope and power”. The Spanish translation of the novel won the inaugural Mar de Letras Prize in 2003. Her second book, a work of nonfiction titled Single in the City: The Independent Woman’s Handbook, was a first-of- its-kind exploration of single women in contemporary India and was described as “witty and insightful”. Her most recent novel Hotel Arcadia (Quartet Books, 2015) has received rave reviews. The Independent described the novel as “powerful and absorbing”. Her groundbreaking study of Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan is forthcoming with BFI/Palgrave. Her short stories have been published by prestigious international literary journals including The Drawbridge, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and World Literature Today. Her creative nonfiction has been published across the world in key journals and anthologies. She also writes for newspapers and magazines, in Spanish and English, across the globe. Sunny also comments on aspects of politics and culture on radio and television, and has appeared on BBC World, BBC News, Radio Four, ITV News and Sky News.
Kathy MacLean is a teacher and an educational consultant with over 30 years of experience of working in Education. She has an MA in English language and literacy in education and teaches at both Roehampton University and Goldsmiths’ University. She is also employed as an Advisory teacher at CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education).
Previously Kathy was the Head of Ethnic Minority Achievement Service at Wandsworth Council. Her work included a particular focus on ensuring access to the curriculum for pupils for whom English is an additional language (EAL) and raising the attainment of Black and Minority Ethnic pupils.
Kathy is passionate about exposing children and young people to quality literature and the use of storytelling in schools. She has led on innovative projects to raise standards of literacy and promote engagement and enjoyment of reading. Her strategies involved writers and storytellers in residence projects with particular emphasis on diversity. She has also worked on storytelling projects with children and parents from a range of cultures. She gives advice and support to senior leadership and teachers in schools and provides training, coaching and mentoring for teachers and school staff.
Kathy has contributed to a number of educational publications and is the co-author of an educational pack A Caribbean History Hillsborough: a plantation in Dominica. She is a school governor and a trustee at the Children’s Discovery Centre.
John Lehal advises business and charities on strategy, reputation and growth. After a long consultancy career, he now provides senior counsel to CEOs and Boards to address the strategic challenges they face. John is active as charity trustee, serving as Vice-Chair of the Taylor Bennett Foundation and Treasurer of Bedfordshire Refugee and Asylum Seeker Service. He serves on the Executive Committee of Labour Business. John launched and grew Insight Consulting Group for eleven years. Having founded the agency in 2006, John ran the consultancy until it was acquired by Four Communications Group in January 2017. Following the transition, John was CEO of Four Public Affairs before embarking on a freelance career. John frequently speaks at conferences and seminars on issues relating to politics and public policy. He is a regular commentator and media pundit on issues relating to business, Brexit and politics.
Lana Howard is Head of Strategic Insight at the world’s largest conference business, KNect365, the £200m+ rev/year Division of FTSE 100 media company, Informa. She has a wide base of leadership and general management experience, having worked in roles leading strategy and business planning, product development, partnerships and new ventures. Lana’s most recent roles have involved commercialising and growing content and learning businesses, including developing digital platforms, creating valuable content partnerships, growing audience and community, and improving events (product and efficiency), experience that she’s excited to apply to Pop Up, especially on the digital side. Before moving into the corporate world, Lana worked in the charity sector in International Development. Outside of work she has previously been a trustee of East African charity, Grow Movement, and set up the London chapter of the international youth leadership network, One Young World, as well as a number of other voluntary activities.