Our Mission

Building on a legacy of over 25 years of fundraising by the theatre industry, The Make A Difference Trust raises funds for HIV and AIDS projects that build awareness and provide care, support and education in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Our Team

  • trustees
  • staff
  • work for us
Melanie Tranter
Melanie Tranter
Co-Founder, Trustee & Chair

Melanie became involved with MAD Trust in early 2008. She left her role as General Manager for Dress Circle in 2010 to devote more time to the charity. She previously worked as Corporate Event Manager for Teswaine Business Communications.

Patrick Holzen
Patrick Holzen
Trustee

Patrick Holzen is a Chartered Accountant who has over 18 years executive and professional experience in the UK TV and Film industry, ranging from production, post production and distribution.

He is the founder and Managing Director of Mutz Media a film and television production and sales company and is in the process of developing several projects, including a South African project based on the award winning novel: Agaat; a romantic comedy The Swinger; New York 1920s’ set musical The Amazing Kapakowski Sisters (Bloodbath at the Ritz), and an exotic crime series for television based on the Diamond Dagger Award winning character – Inspector Ghote. He has just produced Guys Reading Poems which the company is also selling internationally, about an all-male, literary secret society that intervenes in the lives of a creative but troubled family residing in a downtown Los Angeles artist’s loft directed by Hunter Lee Hughes and a short film, Unforgivable, directed by Christian Parton.

Patrick is a voting member of BAFTA. He has served on the Board of Directors of UK Screen –a trade body which represents and promotes over 140 service companies working in film, commercials and television in the UK.

Maggie Korde
Maggie Korde
Trustee

Maggie has worked in the international development sector for over 10 years and currently works for Plan International UK. She loves being a Trustee for the MAD Trust as she says ‘It’s very different from my day job – the need is both close to home as well overseas and it’s so inspiring to see how the entertainment community in the UK rally around the cause.’

Richard Le Cocq
Richard Le Cocq
Trustee

Richard Le Cocq is the Director and founder of the digital agency, Laughing Buddha and has worked in the entertainment industry for over 16 years. He has worked on various brands in the UK, USA and Australia, managing and launching several international and national campaigns for film, television, computer games and live entertainment including: Universal Pictures, Disney, Working Title, ITV, Channel 4, Electronic Arts, Royal Opera House, Avalon Public Relations, Ambassador Theatre Group The Frank Skinner Show, Harry Hill’s TV Burp, Wicked, Jersey Boys, The Edinburgh Comedy Festival and Jerry Springer – The Opera. He has also lectured at Society of London Theatre & Theatrical Management Association and the University of the Arts, London. Richard is incredibly excited to be joining MAD Trust board and is looking forward to being able to give his time and experience in supporting people who are affected by HIV & AIDS and the organisations who continue to support and fight the disease.

Rev'd Simon Grigg
Rev'd Simon Grigg
Trustee

Simon trained in theatre at Warwick University before being ordained as a Priest in the Church of England in 1990. He has been Rector of St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden since 2006. St. Paul’s is often known as the Actors’ Church, and hosts a huge number of events connected with the theatre industry. For many years, TheatreMAD has held its prestigious ‘West End Christmas’ event at St. Paul’s and it is through this connection that Simon became involved in the work of TheatreMAD. He is honoured to be asked to be a Trustee of the Charity and greatly looks forward to becoming more involved in all of its activities. (Outside of work, his hobbies include politics, theatre, gym, and, of course, Paul.)

Dr. John Forni
Dr. John Forni
Trustee

Dr Forni trained as a Biochemist and Pharmacologist at the University of Southampton achieving a First class honours degree and an award in Pharmacology. During this 4 year degree he opted for an elective placement in BASF Pharma where he investigated novel antidepressant and anti-obesity agents contributing to the FDA submission for Sibutramine (Meridia). Dr Forni then went on to complete a research PhD in neuroscience at Kings College London before commencing a medical degree at UCL. During this time he became interested in HIV/GUM and Rheumatology and explored both options as careers as well as spending 8 years with Terrence Higgins Trust as a volunteer outreach and development officer. He then went on to complete an ACF programme in GUM/HIV at MMC and General Medical SHO rotations in North West London. Dr Forni has also been a PI at a novel CRO exploring Human Viral challenges before joining ViiV in 2013 as a medical advisor.

Christian Pankhurst
Christian Pankhurst
Trustee

Christian has over 15 years of experience working in the NHS where he compliments various multi-disciplinary teams both in the acute and community setting.

After graduating, Christian showed a keen interest in the world of diabetes and its secondary complications, with an enthusiasm for sharing clinical multi-disciplinary knowledge, experiences and relevant education available for frontline clinicians and patients. This passion has seen him running annual international multi-disciplinary conferences. As well as this, Christian set up the first ever Diabetic Foot and Lower Limb Care conference specifically designed for people with diabetes and their carers, which this led to the creation of the innovative Medicine and Me: Diabetes seminars with the Royal Society of Medicine.

Christian has been a supporter and volunteer of the Make a Difference Trust for some years and looks forward to bringing his enthusiasm and experience to the charity.

David Pearson
David Pearson
Executive Producer & General Manager

David has extensive experience within the theatre industry having managed large scale provincial and West End theatres for Live Nation and Apollo Leisure. In 2013 David conceived and produced West End Heroes which returned the next two years and raised much needed funds for Help for Heroes by joining West End shows and talent with military musicians. Having worked with MAD Trust through three years of West End Eurovision David is delighted to have joined the team to support and develop our productions and to build on our fundraising activities.

Jeremy Ellis
Jeremy Ellis
Charity Administrator

Jeremy is pleased to be back at TheatreMAD; having previously worked for The Make A Difference Trust as Office and IT Manager at the Trust’s West End Office.  He is a retired theatre sound engineer with many years experience mixing large musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera & Oliver!

He has been brought in to support the Charity Manager and the Chair with their aim to grow and move the Charity forwards.

There are currently no vacancies at The Make A Difference Trust. However, we are always looking for volunteers to help in the office and at events. For more information please visit the Volunteer page.

Our History

The Make A Difference Trust, trading as TheatreMAD, also known as MAD Trust, is the ongoing response by the UK theatre industry to HIV and AIDS. The charity was founded in 2008 by David Pendlebury, together with Melanie Tranter and Julian Bird, and was initially known as West End Cares & subsequently Theatrecares. It was set up to continue the vital fundraising and grant making work undertaken by the theatre industry & its supporters. In New York in February 1988 Broadway Cares merged with Equity Fights AIDS to coordinate the fundraising and support from the Broadway and American Theatre community. In a similar vein, West End Cares was established in 1990 by Bob West and David Kernan together with Geoffrey Henning under the aegis of Crusaid, to focus, and coordinate the fundraising by the UK and West End Theatre community and its supporters.

West End Cares staged Late Night Cabarets, Midnight Matinee performances of West End shows, and initiated the annual World AIDS Day Theatre Bucket Collections to raise funds to support friends, colleagues and the wider community affected by HIV and AIDS. The initial impact of the virus on the industry and the wider community was devastating. All funds raised went to the Crusaid Hardship Fund, primarily paying for palliative care and funerals, but as medications and treatments were discovered, funds were later used to support those living with the virus. The driving force behind the fundraising was a committee led by Anthony Lynn, and subsequently David Pendlebury, whose members included Jill Nalder, Jane Salberg, Katy Bryant, Michael England, David Bingham, Murray Lane, Robert Jon, Neil Peters, Ben Jones & Steve Devereaux.

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Until 2000, West End Cares focused its efforts on fundraising and raising awareness, however, with the arrival, and massive fundraising efforts of Disney’s The Lion King in the West End, the WEC committee took the decision to support a number of Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa; projects that focused on education, fighting poverty, testing and treatment.

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Now supporting UK and overseas projects, West End Cares had become a voluntary fundraising & grant making organization, and in 2002 West End Cares changed its name to Theatrecares to reflect its nationwide appeal. Bucket collections, Late Night Cabarets and A West End Christmas continued to raise much-needed funds for the increasing portfolio of projects.

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With years of research and the development and the advancement of effective medications HIV and AIDS were considered by many to no longer be an issue. However, rising rates of infection and continued stigma, prejudice, discrimination and fear meant that the need for support in communities all over the UK and the world was as important as ever.

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As a direct response, The Make A Difference Trust (trading as TheatreMAD) was founded in 2008, establishing the first official stand-alone Charity to coordinate the theatre community’s fundraising and grant making for HIV and AIDS. In recognition of the theatre industry’s long term fundraising efforts, MAD set up The Make A Difference Trust Hardship Fund to support people in the theatre industry affected by long term chronic illness. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.

MAD Trust’s philosophy is all about community making a difference: namely the theatre community, working together, using theirs kills and talents, to help other communities living with, or affected by HIV and AIDS.

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Today as a fundraising and grant making organisation, the Trust is building on a legacy of over 25 years to raise funds for HIV and AIDS projects that increase awareness; deliver education about the virus, deliver education about its impact and how to prevent transmission; encourage early testing and provide care and support to those affected by HIV, both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Trust continues to work with established partners to ensure projects have maximum impact and are sustainable. The Trust has distributed over £1.6 million in grants to support individuals experiencing hardship across the UK, as well as over £1 million to support projects with our UK and international partners.

Our Finances

The Make A Difference Trust is a small, flexible organisation, focused on community projects that genuinely transform the lives of vulnerable children and adults living with, and affected by, HIV and AIDS.

The Trust ensures that it researches, monitors and evaluates any project to which it makes a grant, before, during and after, to ensure that it maximises its impact.

In order to run itself in a professional and effective way the Make A Difference Trust incurs necessary costs; raising funds, making grants and organisational overheads cost real money.

We are committed to ensuring that our administration costs and other overheads are kept as low as possible.

Download the Make A Difference Trust’s Annual Trustees’ Report and Accounts: