Thomas Hescott
Thomas Hescott / Executive Director

Thomas was a founding member of SDUK and was a member of the SDUK board before taking on the role of Executive Director.

He has worked as a director in both theatre and TV for almost twenty years. He was a staff director at the National Theatre, Resident Director at Chichester Festival Theatre, Associate Director for Y Touring. He also ran the Heat and Light Company for Hampstead Theatre.

He has been a regular contributor for The Stage Newspaper. He is currently writing a report on Training and Career Development for theatre directors, which was commissioned by the National Theatre, RADA and the Old Vic.


Liz Holmes / General Manager

Liz has been pushing paper for artistic companies since graduating with a Drama degree in 2001. Starting at the Centre for Performance Research, she moved to Shared Experience Theatre Company until 2006, then managed the admin, tenants, and studio hires of Toynbee Studios, home of live art pioneers, Artsadmin (where she can still be found duty managing, on occasion), while starting a new venture (motherhood) in 2011.

She joined the ranks at SDUK shortly after the launch in September 2014, and was Administrator until 2017, when the role expanded. She loves a spreadsheet, and a well-ordered ‘to do’ list, and can’t abide an overloaded inbox. She believes strongly in the moral imperative for organisations such as SDUK to improve access to the arts, so the industry moves away from being the privilege of a wealthy elite.

Liz wears several other hats, including as Conference Coordinator for a charity that supports new families, and as mezzo-soprano soloist and chorus member of the Medici Choir.


Jemma Gross/ Membership Engagement Officer

Jemma was a founding member of SDUK and a member of the SDUK board before taking on the role of Membership Engagement Officer.

She is a freelance theatre and film director and currently the Artistic Director of award-winning company Epsilon Productions.  Jemma is a member of the Young Vic Genesis Directors Network and an invited member of The Director’s Lab, Lincoln Centre Theatre, New York. Over the last decade she has directed multiple shows across the UK.

Like Liz, Jemma is a wearer of many hats. Over the years to support her directing work, Jemma has been an assistant, an associate, an acting coach, a company stage manager, a producer and most recently worked in marketing and PR. Outside of theatre Jemma has worked in the charity sector in a variety of guises. Each of these roles, (theatrical or other) were a practical necessity in order to, well…you know…live. However each role brought a new skill which Jemma now intends to use for the good of her fellow SDUK member. Jemma believes that SDUK is about camaraderie and support amongst Directors at every level, as well ensuring a greater transparency across the sector.


Piers Haggard / Founder (and former Chief Executive)  PiersHaggard-2 (lo-res)

Piers started as an Assistant Director at the Royal Court under George Devine, then directed at Dundee Rep and Glasgow Citizens before joining the first National Theatre company in 1963 where he co-directed with John Dexter and Bill Gaskill, and assisted Olivier and Zefirelli.

In 1965 he went into television, doing distinguished productions over several decades, including Dennis Potter’s Pennies From Heaven (1978), Alan Bennett’s Rolling Home (1983), and Jack Rosenthal’s Eskimo Day (1996). Piers has also written screenplays, and directed several feature films, A Summer Story (1888), and 2 cult classics The Blood on Satan’s Claw and Venom.

Piers has also had a 50 year parallel career campaigning for directors’ rights. He was President of The Association of Directors and Producers in 1976, he founded and was first Chairman of the Directors Guild of Great Britain (DGGB, 1982), and the Directors’ and Producers’ Rights Society (DPRS, 1987), serving on its board for 20 years, until it transmuted into Directors UK. He is still on the Board. He was also Vice President and Chairman of FERA, the Association of European film directors from 2010 – 2013.

In the spring of 2014, sensing a need, Piers started trying to set up an organisation to represent theatre directors. Exhaustive enquiries led to messages of support, then meetings, then the formation of a distinguished provisional Board, and in September 2014 Stage Directors UK was launched, rapidly gaining over 1000 supporters. SDUK is now widely respected and active on many fronts; and Piers is still enjoying the challenge of being involved.

Piers was awarded an OBE in the 2016 New Years Honours.