Writer Chino Odimba and former High Sheriff of Bristol Helen Wilde join Bristol Old Vic Board of Trustees

Chino Odimba and Helen Wilde
Chino Odimba and Helen Wilde

Bristol Old Vic today announced two new appointments to its Board of Trustees: playwright and poet Chino Odimba and former High Sheriff and philanthropist Helen Wilde.

Chino Odimba is a Bristol-based playwright and poet. Over the last 18 years, Chino has worked in a varied number of roles across the city, starting her career in the media, arts and charitable sectors.

She previously worked for BBC Nations and Regions and Arts Council jointly for nearly five years, producing content for both radio and TV, before working in the development teams of independent TV production companies in Bristol. She then went on to found an Arts Marketing/Audience Development consultancy, working closely with many of the key organisations in Bristol – Watershed, St George’s, Colston Hall, St Paul’s Carnival, Bristol City Council Arts Team, NHS and many more.

Now a playwright, Chino is currently under commission with National Theatre Connections, Theatre Centre, Eclipse/Bristol Old Vic and Talawa/Channel 4 Playwright Scheme, as well as being shortlisted for The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2016. She is currently supporting Bottleyard Studios, Bristol to widen their participation and talent pool in the city.

Chino continues to be connected to Bristol Old Vic artistically – with a recent run of her modern re-telling of Medea (May 2017), and as Assistant Director for The Caretaker (September 2017).

Speaking today, Chino said: “I am so pleased to be joining the Board of Trustees at this very exciting time in Bristol Old Vic’s history. And as a local artist, it feels important to me to be part of the conversation on how we broaden our vision moving forward, and ensure we are serving all the communities and people of Bristol. I want to help put that real diversity at the heart of what we do.”

Chino is joined on the Board by Helen Wilde, High Sheriff of the City of Bristol for 2016/17. She has lived in Bristol for 36 years. After a career in marketing, working in both the private and voluntary sectors, she now spends much of her time working in the charity sector. She started, and continues to chair, The Funding Network Bristol, raising over £250000 benefitting nearly 60 local charities over 11 years.

Since retiring after 6 years as Regional Manager with Children’s Hospice South West, she has been able to devote more time to her own philanthropic activities, both as a donor and an active supporter of several local charities. She and her husband, Peter, have established an endowment fund with Quartet Community Foundation from which they support small local charities. She has recently become a trustee of Quartet, and is a trustee of One25 (a charity supporting women trapped in street sex work, helping them live new lives away from violence, poverty and addiction), Chair of Redland and Cotham Amenities Society (a local community organisation) and Room 13 (a thriving arts project based at Hareclive Primary School in South Bristol). She is also a trustee of the Hannah Memorial Academy near Darjeeling, and an advisor to Home-Start Bristol.

Helen said: “I feel privileged to join the Board of Bristol Old Vic. This is such a thrilling moment in the Theatre’s story; the redevelopment project is going to make the theatre more accessible, more welcoming and more capable than ever of producing world class theatre to ever widening audiences.”  

Chair of Bristol Old Vic’s Board of Trustees, Dame Elizabeth Forgan DBE said: “We are delighted to welcome Chino and Helen, both well-known Bristol faces and expert in their respective fields. They will strengthen the board of Bristol Old Vic enormously over the next very important year and into its ambitious future.