Neil & Karen Leatherbarrow

In 1985, Neil trained as a youth worker in Brixton, South West London and worked with ILEA (Inner London Education Authority), before it was abolished by the government in 1990. Karen trained as a nurse in 1983 and worked at St.Thomas’s hospital until 1990.

In February 1990 Neil & Karen were married and went on to live and work in Amsterdam, Holland where Neil was able to fulfil his musical ambition of drumming in a rock band called No Longer Music. After travelling and working abroad for six years they decided to come back to London to work and raise a family. Together they worked with local churches, and local government youth inclusion projects building teams of youth workers.

Neil & Karen have 3 children Luke now aged 18, Jason aged 15, and Charlotte aged 12. Karen was kept busy managing Charlotte’s flourishing career in the performing arts until her fatal accident in March 2011. In response to their tragedy Neil & Karen have now set up the Charlotte Leatherbarrow Foundation.

Karen Boram Wright

Karen has been best friends with Karen Leatherbarrow since the age of 10 and was Karen and Neil’s bridesmaid on their wedding day.  

She started her career as an Executive Assistant in the corporate world of finance for several years before moving into property management for 20+ years while bringing up her 3 children.  

Karen has now changed vocation and is now a trainee counsellor with a passion for singing and yoga in her free time. 

With her love for Karen and the family, she is pleased to work with the Charlotte Leatherbarrow Foundation to develop and help children reach their dream in the performing arts world.

Kathryn Ackley

Kathryn began her professional journey with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain’s’ company performing in various productions, Heart Of Ice Battersea Arts Centre, Lionel Barts’ Maggie May Royalty Theatre, Amphibious Spangulatos Greenwich Theatre. She was inspired by North East director Ed Wilson (NYT’s director) who empowered young actors from across the country to aim high in the creative arts industry. Kathryn then carved a career in acting and drama facilitation for companies such as Live Theatre, The Customs House, Barbican Theatre, BBC Radio Four, Berwick Arts Centre.

She then progressed to become Principal at Stagecoach Theatre Arts Durham where her passion empowering young performers became priority. Students performed regionally in professional theatre projects( with national acclaimed companies), such as Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat, Whistle Down the Wind, Madam Butterfly and Shakespeare 4 Kids. In 2006, Kathryn developed Shotton Hall Community Theatre School, which was the first theatre school based in East Durham where talent has been nurtured and high standard teaching and learning inspiring students to audition and appear in Billy Elliot West End(Nick Evans and Lee Hall), Channel 5 Don’t Stop believing(Creative director Kim Gavin), CBBC Glee Club 2010-present(Professional Judges Cary &David Grant, Stacy Soloman, Cisco Gomez) and National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.

‘I am passionate about nurturing the new wave of young actors from the North East. And am driven by inspiring young actors to be active and empowered in the Creative Arts Industry. I feel passionate that performing arts training should be for all, regardless of social and economic background. Charlottes Legacy is helping to make this possible. We strive for excellent training for all in her name.’