During a challenging year for all, NGCV saw the standing down of long-term CEOs and NGCV leaders Jim Beirne of Live Theatre, who will depart in the spring, and Iain Watson from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. Philip Bernays postponed his departure as CEO of Newcastle Theatre Royal to help the organisation through the early stages of the pandemic and will now retire. New senior appointments have been made at at Tyneside Cinema and Seven Stories, as well as those at Dance City and Northern Stage reported in our last newsletter.
Our three departing directors, who are all looking forward to enjoying their retirement, have not only given many years long services at their respective organisations, they have also been with NGCV since the very first meeting in July 2009 and are, in fact, the only remaining founding members of the network. Their tireless support and advocacy on behalf of NGCV will be sorely missed, however we look forward to welcoming their successors to the team.
Another one of our founding CEOs Kate Edwards stepped down from her role leading Seven Stories in 2019. Creative Director John Coburn and Collections Director Sarah Lawrence have been valiantly holding the fort in the interim, tackling the challenges of a national pandemic head on, and will continue to do so, until new Chief Executive Mairi Kidd, formerly of Creative Scotland and children’s book publisher Barrington Stoke, takes over in the coming months. Chris Pywell, Chair of Board of Trustees said: “In Mairi we have appointed the very best person to lead Seven Stories through a period of exciting sustainable growth. The wealth of her experience is vast and covers all of the main areas of our interest. She has run an award-winning publishing company; she has excellent relationships with many of our author, illustrator and publishing friends, she has worked in a senior role for a government cultural agency and expertly understands policy and funding; and finally, she is a published author with a passion for literature and literacy”.
Mairi Kidd, new director at Seven Stories
Tyneside Cinema has also announced the appointment of interim Chief Executive Officer Simon Drysdale, who comes to us after 14 years of heading up a specialist arts and culture marketing agency in London.
Earlier in 2020, we announced that Dance City had appointed former Executive Producer of the Aakash Odedra Company Anand Bhatt to the position of CEO. Anand takes over from Anthony Baker’s decade of transformative leadership, which was followed by an interim period headed by Creative Producer and Curious Festival chief Phil Douglas. After Northern Stage’s Artistic Director Lorne Campbell took up his new role at National Theatre Wales, Executive Director Kate Denby, who chaired NGCV in 2019-20, was joined by Natalie Ibu as the organisation’s joint Chief Executive in August 2020. Natalie’s previous role was director at fiata fahodzi, the only Black-led theatre company committed solely to producing new work in the UK.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our outgoing leaders and extend a warm welcome to those joining us. Despite the difficulties faced by the cultural sector throughout the Corona Virus Pandemic, we are sure those in the driving seats of our 10 vibrant and innovative organisations will continue to deliver outstanding work both separately and collectively.