The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth – the Bishop of Coventry
Bishop Christopher became a Patron of the theatre in June 2019 following in the footsteps of one of his predecessors, Bishop Simon Barrington-Ward, a Patron in the 1960’s. Born in Sussex, Bishop Christopher read Theology at the University of Manchester where he later pursued his doctoral studies. Between 2001 and 2008 he was Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge. Bishop Christopher entered the House of Lords (as Lord Spiritual) in 2013. Bishop Christopher is married to Charlotte and they have 5 sons, 2 daughters-in-law and, currently, 2 grandchildren.
I first experienced the Talisman soon after we came to live in Kenilworth in 1963. We lived in Bertie Road, which was then a cul-de-sac: you climbed over a stile into a field, and there was the Talisman Theatre, a rather rickety structure with a tin roof. But its standards then were as high as they are today: I remember a brilliant production of Ann Jellicoe’s The Knack, soon after its West End run. Now I’m proud to be a patron of the Talisman Theatre as it moves into its new phase of expansion and continued excellence, delighting local audiences and championing the arts for decades to come.
Councillor Alix Dearing
I’m married to John and have lived in Kenilworth for over 30 years. We’ve two grown up sons who both attended “Playbox” and local schools. I’m now a Green Party Town and District Councillor involved in a number of community projects but have also worked in business, freelance writing, and, since the 90’s, as a secondary schoolteacher who loved being involved in school productions. I have produced and taken part in two Garden Party plays for charity– A Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 2014) and Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale (2017) and I want to promote and contribute to the continued success of this wonderful Theatre in which I have never seen a bad play!
Councillor John Dearing
I’ve lived in Kenilworth with Alix since returning from Sweden in 1981 to work at Coventry University, and both our sons grew up in the town. I now work as a university professor studying the effects of environmental and climate change on society. I joined the Green Party after the 2007-2008 financial crash and was a founding member of the Kenilworth group in 2015. As a Town and District Councillor, I’m trying to help ensure that Kenilworth continues to be a great place to live in – high housing standards, thriving local businesses, safe and easy travel, a protected countryside – and a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The Talisman has been my favourite theatre for years, providing so many memorable performances – long may it continue.
Kate Dickson is a Town and District Councillor. She was Kenilworth Town Mayor in 2017/18. Since 1997 she’s lived in Barrow Road as a neighbour of the Talisman. Two of her daughters enjoyed being part of the Youth Theatre and along with her husband Richard, she’s been a regular attendee at the theatre for both film and stage productions. Kate says ‘she is delighted to support the Talisman as Patron because of its inclusive contribution to the community of Kenilworth’.
David Grindrod was a member of the Talisman Theatre from the late 60’s which led to a career in the performing arts taking him worldwide. He founded his Casting office over 20 years ago specialising in Musicals in all genres. Working with composers from Andrew Lloyd Webber to ABBA David is a Consultant to Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, concentrating on the importance of training in the performing arts and teaching of music within schools.
Councillor George Illingworth
George has lived in Kenilworth for over 40 years. As an engineer he worked in industry and later in an international manufacturing consultancy before retirement. He was also an officer in the Territorial Army for 36 years. After that he served on Kenilworth Town Council and is now in his 13th year on Warwick District Council. He is currently the Chairman. George is delighted to be a patron of the Talisman where he appeared on the stage to make a speech when he was the Mayor. He has also appeared on the stage of the Albert Hall, but that was to receive his degree some years ago.
It is a great honour to have been asked to become patron to the Talisman Theatre. Our family is immensely proud to still have our association with Kenilworth and this year being our centenary of my great grandfather foundation of Armstrong Siddeley car production, John Siddeley the first Baron of Kenilworth.