Meet The Team

Meet the team that make the Forum what it is.

Board of Directors

Allison McKay

Chief Executive

Allison grew up in the Northeast and moved to London in her early 20’s where she rose to Artistic Director of a chain of Salons. This experience led her to pursue a successful career as a session stylist in various aspects of media and TV which span globally. As a founder Director, she was involved in the early planning and creation of the social enterprise that would save the Forum from closure. Since start of trading in Jan 2011 and as the CEO, Allison has dedicated her career with passion and drive to ensure the Forum Music Studios is a vibrant and sustainable cultural community hub for Darlington.

Michael Bainbridge

Non-Executive Chair

Michael works as Senior Accountant at HC One in Darlington. He has previously worked for Darlington Building Society and Wolseley. Michael qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 2019. He joined the Forum’s Board of Directors in 2020, to help us achieve our community benefit ambitions. Joining shortly before the Covid pandemic, Michael was quickly involved in assisting Allison in the production of financial assessments aiding grant applications including the Culture Recovery Fund. Outside of work, Michael enjoys attending gigs, cinema visits and days away with his wife. He has previous volunteering experience from a couple of Northern League Football clubs.

Tori Gill

Non-Executive

Tori, worked in Local Government for 15 years then established tgi MEDIA, her own marketing company specialising in digital marketing and web design & build. Tori was also the Commercial Director at Darlington Football Club for two years and is the deputy chair of Bike Stop Darlington, which is a social enterprise. She joined the board in 2022 to strengthen links between a range of external bodies plus inputs in to the marketing & PR of The Forum Music Studios. In her spare time, Tori, enjoys spending time with family & friends, going to live music gigs & holidays abroad.

Steve Milbourne

Non-Executive

Steve has worked in the music industry at a high level in both labels and management for twenty years. He started his career at Kitchenware Records where he worked with the multi-platinum selling band Editors. He then moved to Sony Music where he served as Creative Director for almost a decade, creating award winning work with artists including AC/DC, Mark Ronson and Kasabian. In 2016 he set up an artist management company, later merging with the Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group where he served on the senior management team. Since 2021 he has ran Nebraska Management, representing songwriters and producers, including the multiple #1 selling producer/writers Seb Sternberg and Pedro Vito and twice Grammy nominated producer Okan.

Laura Saunders-Jerrom

Non-Executive

Laura has been a qualified lawyer since 1998. She began her career in London with the Crown Prosecution Service working at one point with the Flying Squad and attending the “Old Bailey” (Central Criminal Courts) Over the past 25 years she has practised in criminal law, mental health law and now children’s law and has achieved accredited status from the Law Society in each area. She is currently a partner in Hewitt’s one of the largest firms of solicitors in County Durham. Laura is a classically trained trumpet player and for many years played with brass bands in the County Durham area. In her spare time, she enjoys socialising and pursues her interest in reclamation and interior design.

Jack William McKay

Non-Executive

Jack qualified as a chartered accountant while working as an auditor for Ernst & Young LLP. Following 5 years working with a range of listed PLCs to smaller SME arrangements, Jack moved to work at the global headquarters of Froneri, producing consolidated financial statements, reporting, controls and other group accounting functions. After over 3 years at Froneri, Jack took on the role as Group Financial Controller, at Bremsen Technik group, where he is responsible for the financial reporting and day to day financial controls within the organisation. Outside of work Jack has a keen passion for music, being a grade 8 guitarist himself as well as enjoying football and golf.

Meet The Team

Top Left to Right

Chris Davison – Studio Manager
Matt Eland – Audio/Visual Technician
Steve Matthews – Business Admin
Dave Smith – Bar Manger
June Van Den Heuvel – Daly – Live Music Events Coordinator

Bottom Left to Right

Kirsten Yates – Creative Development
Phil Wilson – Technical Manager
Allison McKay – Chief Executive
Katie Wilson – General Manager


Cultural Community Live Events

Darlington For Culture Board Members
Led By James Watson & Kath Matthews