The Occasion Board

Gillian Shaw - The Occasion

Gillian Shaw (Chair)

Gillian was a grants officer in performing arts development at the Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland)  for several years, before working freelance for performing arts companies including All or Nothing Aerial Dance and Live Music Now Scotland. 

She was company administrator for Stellar Quines Theatre Company – working with both Muriel Romanes and Jemima Levick and now works at Museums Galleries Scotland as an Executive Assistant.

Gillian has been a huge fan of The Occasion since it began (and before).

Alison Mussett - The Occasion Theatre

Alison Mussett

Alison has worked in the arts in Scotland for over 20 years. She ran marketing and PR for companies including Assembly Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe, Glasgow Jazz Festival and the Traverse Theatre.

Alison also worked in a freelance capacity for smaller theatre and dance companies including Benchtours, Dundee Rep, Theatre Workshop, Glasgow Art Fair and Hopscotch Theatre. Alison has been a professional fundraiser since 2016 and now works for YDance (Scottish Youth Dance).

Alison first met Pete and Catherine when they worked together at Benchtours.

Rebecca Robinson

Rebecca Robinson

After training at Ecole Phillipe Gaulier in Paris Rebecca returned to Scotland and became a founder member of Benchtours, acting in many of their early productions.

Other theatre work includes touring East Africa with Theatre Botanicum, filming the BBC’s Crowdie and Cream on the Outer Hebrides and studying Kathakali dance in India.

Rebecca went on to study Human Rights Law and completed a doctorate in 2009 on the newly formed National Theatre of Scotland. Since then Rebecca has worked with GRAMNet (Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network), Migrant Help and as a Life Events Manager and Research Associate at Glasgow University.

Ben Walmsley - The Occasion

Ben Walmsley

Ben is Professor of Cultural Engagement in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds and Director of the national Centre for Cultural Value. Since 2014 Ben has also been the Academic Director of the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy programme, which is now one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations.

Prior to his academic career, Ben was the General Manager of Benchtours theatre company in Edinburgh before working as Operations Manager and then Producer at the National Theatre of Scotland. Between 2010 and 2017, Ben was engaged as an Artistic Assessor for Drama for Arts Council England.

Ben is an Advisory Board Member of  ‘Cultural Trends’ and the Co-Editor of ‘Arts and the Market’. He has published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals on arts marketing, arts management, cultural policy and cultural value. His monograph ‘Audience Engagement in the Performing Arts: A critical analysis’ was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019.

Peter Clerke - The Occasion Theatre

Peter Clerke

Peter studied at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris and was a founder member and Co-Artistic Director of benchtours (1991-2009) directing or performing in all of their productions.

Prior to benchtours, work included the co-founding and artistic direction of Lung Ha’s and five years at Edinburgh’s Theatre Workshop. From 2009 -16 Peter was the Artistic Director of Blue Apple Theatre, Winchester, one of South-west England’s leading learning disability arts organisations.

Peter has directed all of The Occasion’s productions to date.

Catherine Gillard - The Occasion Theatre

Catherine Gillard

Catherine studied at Sydney Acting School and the Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris. She was a founder member and Co-Artistic Director of benchtours (1991-2009), directing or performing in all of their productions.

Major roles included Grusha in ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’, Aase in ‘Peer Gynt’ and Mother Courage. Previously, she worked for three years as a performer and sign language interpreter with Theatre of the Deaf, one of Australia’s leading inclusive companies.

Recent major projects include ‘Kill Me Now’ (Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre/ Philadelphia Live Arts Festival) as well as ‘Apocalypse’, ‘The Taking of Zena Charbonne’ and ‘The Monster & Mary Shelley’ with The Occasion.

The Occasion was founded in 2010 by Peter Clerke and Catherine Gillard. Previous to this they had both shared the Artistic Directorship of the Scottish touring theatre company, benchtours (1991 – 2009).

With extensive experience in creating brilliantly innovative touring work and ground-breaking, fully inclusive, community performance The Occasion’s artistic programme focuses on:

The Occasion is fully committed to widening access and participation in the arts, to working with artists who share our theatrical style and to keep our own work refreshed. We are aware of the need to be open to new influences in order to develop and stretch the company artistically.

The Occasion Theatre
the occasion – exciting and entertaining; challenging and deliciously different. Dynamic touring and innovative community projects.



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