Our leadership team

As an independent charity, Woolwich Works is governed by a board of Trustees to which the Chief Executive is accountable for its success, along with the Royal Borough of Greenwich as its founder. Our leadership team runs the organisation on a day-to-day basis.

James Heaton, Chief Executive & Creative Director

James was born in the south and raised in the north, before coming back to London to study music at Goldsmiths.

He spent seven years at the Roundhouse where he was responsible for its general operations, managed the iTunes Festival, and designed and delivered London’s first pop-up beach. He has worked for The Guardian, and as Operations Director for the Nimax group of theatres where he helped to open shows including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and supported Nica Burns in delivering her vision for the West End’s forthcoming new theatre at Soho Place.

James is a Trustee / non-executive Director of High House Production Park, Battersea Arts Centre Enterprises, Wilton’s Music Hall and Visit Greenwich.

As our Chief Executive, he has overall responsibility for running Woolwich Works and developing and driving its creative vision and strategic plan.

Ali Gannagé-Stewart, Executive Director

Ali is passionate about making the arts accessible to all and she has a decade's experience of running events and commercial operations within arts organisations. After managing the country wide events programme for the Arts Marketing Association, in 2013 she moved to London to take an Events Manager role at Whitechapel Gallery, before going on to join Southbank Centre as a Commercial Events Manager and latterly becoming Head of Commercial Events. She is also a Non-Executive Director for Battersea Arts Centre Enterprises and a Trustee at Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts.

As our Executive Director, she leads on commercial hires and artistic rentals, bars and catering, marketing, fundraising, PR, event management and ticketing, and works closely with James on many other things including programming, planning and partnerships.

Mark Smedley, Operations Director

Mark has been working in theatres and arts spaces since he was 16, starting as an usher at the Key Theatre in his hometown of Peterborough. He moved to London in 2006 to study Drama and Theatre Arts, and has been here ever since working in various venues across the wider area. He spent two seasons as Box Office Supervisor at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park before moving to Nimax Theatres where he moved up through theatre management across the six theatres, including opening the Kenneth Branagh Plays at the Garrick’ season, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

He then spent five years at the Nimax Head Office in Covent Garden, first as Operations Coordinator and then Operations Manager, overseeing the company-wide operation. He is also Vice Chair of the Board for Jumped Up Theatre, a charitable arts organisation in Peterborough providing productions and arts-based events to the wider community.

As our Operations Director, Mark leads on running our buildings – overseeing venue management and visitor services, technical and IT. He is also responsible for HR and safety management.