Harrogate Theatres has appointed nationally renowned playwright Amanda Whittington, executive director of Unlimited Theatre and former member of ACE Yorkshire senior management Mark Hollander, and writer and director Joyce Branagh to its board of directors.
The changes follow Kevin Jamieson moves to become Senior Producer at a new culture hub in Manchester called HOME. Kevin had been the Executive Producer for 10-years at Harrogate Theatre.
Harrogate Theatres comprises a 500-seat main house, 60-seat studio space, and programming capacity at the 1000-seat Royal Hall and 2000-seat HIC (Harrogate International Centre), making it one of the largest arts complexes in the north of England. The new board members bring with them a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience, which will support the theatres’ senior management in shaping the future of the organisation.
Hollander, Branagh and Whittington join Harrogate Theatres as the company also welcomes much-loved pantomime director Phil Lowe onboard as artistic associate and part of a new programming team.
The most-performed female playwright in the country, Amanda Whittington’s 1998 play Be My Baby is now a GCSE set text. The former journalist has also written three youth theatre plays and is a former chair of the Writers’ Guild Theatre Committee.
Mark Hollander has worked on the senior management team for Arts Council England, Yorkshire, and has extensive experience as an arts practitioner, including his role as executive director of the award-winning Unlimited Theatre.
Director, playwright and actor Joyce Branagh has made a name for herself in the theatre world outside of the connection with her big brother Kenneth. She has directed a host of excellent productions, ranging from meaty dramas to fun-filled pantomimes, and has just finished a run as Lady Macbeth for GB Theatre Company.
Harrogate Theatres CEO David Bown said: It’s testament to our current success and future ambition that we are able to attract such accomplished practitioners as Amanda, Joyce and Mark onto the board and I’m really looking forward to working with them. They bring a wealth of experience that will help Harrogate Theatres continue to develop as one of the North’s leading cultural providers.
This is a very exciting time for Harrogate Theatres,” he continues. “We now have four auditoria to programme, ranging from 60 seats to 2000 seats; there are 15 associate companies developing new work with us here in Harrogate or out on tour; this month we opened Hive, a new workshop space dedicated to education and outreach; and Harrogate Theatre Scenic Services goes from strength to strength building sets for theatres – including Newcastle Live, Sheffield Theatres and English National Opera – all over the country.
Amanda Whittington said: I’m delighted to be joining the board of Harrogate Theatre, particularly at a time when the organisation is widening its reach across new venues. Its diverse artistic programme makes it one of the most dynamic theatres in the region and the growing audience is a testament to its success. I had a great time working at Harrogate on my adaptation of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and I look forward to becoming more involved with the theatre’s plans for the future.
Joyce Branagh said: I loved working at this beautiful theatre a few years ago and have had a keen interest in it ever since. I’m now delighted that I may play a significant part in forging its future.