News: Derby Theatre announces expansion of Board

Derby Theatre is delighted to announce an expansion of their Board, welcoming a new group of innovative, vibrant and forward-thinking people to join the current Board to further strengthen and support the Theatre, its overarching strategy and its leadership and staff team through governance and expert guidance.

New Board members join the Theatre from a variety of backgrounds, with a broad skill set and each with a wealth of experience and knowledge in their respective fields. The new group of members also combines local and national knowledge, plus governance and industry expertise, both within the arts and education sectors.

Derby Theatre, in partnership with the University of Derby, is the UK’s unique professional, producing and learning theatre. The Theatre is an Arts Council England National Portfolio organisation, a producing house which focuses on and prioritises professional produced work, combining their professional programme with a suite of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, community engagement, working with children and young people, artist development and a deeper, more meaningful engagement with their audiences through a diverse programme of work and participation programme.

The Derby Theatre Board members are: Professor Kath Mitchell, Chair of the Derby Theatre Board (Vice Chancellor, University of Derby); Lara Ratnaraja (a freelance cultural consultant specialising in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration and cultural policy implementation within the HE, cultural and digital sector); Richard Gerver (awardwinning speaker, best-selling author and world-renowned thinker, and proud UoD alumni); Charlene Edwards (a Surface Pattern Designer & Visual Artist, with a design career in textiles and print, born and bred in Derby); Jane Claire OBE (previously Executive Producer for English Touring Theatre); Professor Keith McLay (Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Education, UoD); Achusla Vigh-Bolger (recent graduate in Contemporary Theatre and Performance from the UoD); Jill Adamson (currently Director of Participation at Northern Stage, Newcastle Upon Tyne and a freelance Participation and Learning Consultant); Michael Pinchbeck (a writer, director and theatre-maker based in Nottingham); Carl Longworth (Director of Estates, UoD); Ruchita Shaikh (Executive Director of Artcore in Derby) and Susan Ambler (Head of Finance and Business, UoD).

Providing bespoke support, guidance and advice relating to specific areas of the organisation (in areas such as artistic, learning, finance, marketing and estates) also joining the Board in a sub-group capacity will be: Andrew Bevan (Head of Property Development, UoD); Ruby Glaskin (Executive Producer, Milk Presents); Natalie Ibu (Artistic Director and CEO of theatre company, tiata fahodzi); Laura Keeling (Business Accountant, UoD); Rob Lehman (Head of Participation at the Young Vic Theatre); Nichola Milner (HE and Theatre Education Administrator); Zahid Safdar (Head of Financial Accounting, University of Derby); Adam Tulloch (Chief Executive of Total Insight Theatre); Jane Calladine (Executive Head, Redwood Primary) and Abi Zakaria (a British-Armenian playwright).

Derby Theatre is a vibrant and thriving theatre and in an ambitious and exciting phase of development. Earlier this year, in partnership with an exciting and diverse range of partners and venues, was awarded £1.5 million from Arts Council England Producing Hubs fund and £1.1 million from Arts Council England Youth Performance Partnerships fund, a total of £2.6 million to work to support and strengthen the performing arts sector in the local area to provide new opportunities for more children and young people, aged 8-18, to take part in high quality cultural activities.

Sarah Brigham (Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Derby Theatre) said: “I am incredibly excited by our refreshed Board and the skills and expertise we now have access to. We are at an exciting juncture at Derby Theatre, as we look towards taking our innovative and unique learning theatre model on to the next level, and so I’m delighted that the leadership of the theatre is so broadly skilled and will support our vision moving forward.”

Kath Mitchell (Chair of the Derby Theatre Board and Vice Chancellor, University of Derby) said: “This expansion of the Board signals a very exciting, progressive and transitional period for the Theatre, its partnership with the University and how it consults and collaborates with key and influential people within the arts and education sectors, to help shape and develop the future of Derby Theatre”

Through its continued ambition, in relation to all strands of its work, Derby Theatre very much looks forward to working with the Board to further develop and enhance the organisation and its mission.


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