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News: Northern Stage’s Lorne Campbell appointed as new artistic director of National Theatre Wales

Northern Stage’s Lorne Campbell appointed as new artistic director of National Theatre Wales

After almost seven years as Artistic Director and joint Chief Executive, Lorne Campbell, will leave Northern Stage in April 2020 to take up a new role as Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales.  

Photo: Mark Savage
Since Lorne’s appointment in 2013 Northern Stage has produced more in house shows, attracted greater audiences, developed its commitment to nurturing talent across the North East and pioneered new co-creation models with young people and communities of economic disadvantage. Theatrical highlights of Lorne’s time at Northern Stage include The Bloody Great Border Ballad (2015), Get Carter (2016) and The Last Ship (2018), alongside Northern Stage’s multi-award winning showcasing programme at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  

Lorne’s final production for Northern Stage, The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff (4-22 February – details below) will open the  theatre’s 50th birthday year in 2020. The show is a new theatrical version of Teesside folk trio The Young’uns album celebrating northern working class activism with songs from the original album alongside new material and stunning animation.

Photo: Topher McGrillis
Lorne Campbell said: “It is a profoundly exciting prospect to be joining National Theatre of Wales as Artistic Director and also a great sadness to be leaving Northern Stage after six and half years. My final production for Northern Stage, The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff, feels the perfect show to encapsulate the company at the start of its 50th anniversary. Local in its context, global in its ambition and innovative in its style. Just like the North East.

Since my arrival at Northern Stage I have been privileged to work with the most wonderful colleagues, artists, audiences and communities that you could wish for. I am very proud of what we have achieved together and know that the theatre is in a great place to continue to evolve and thrive in the years ahead.  

The chance to work with the incredible talent, ambition and dynamism of Welsh theatre and through the innovative and flexible model of NTW to create opportunities for new conversations between audiences, artists and communities domestically and internationally is both remarkable and humbling. There is great work happening in Wales and I cannot wait to engage with the depth and breadth of this creativity, aspiration and expression.

Simon Elliott, Chair of Northern Stage said, "Lorne has brought his energy, skill and artistic flair to every day of his time with Northern Stage.  He will leave it in 2020 in great shape for the future, with a compelling vision and an enhanced reputation amongst stakeholders and audiences.  We wish him well for his new appointment and know that he will bring the same qualities to the same effect.  It is testament to Northern Stage that artistic leaders have gone on to lead national companies, from Erica Wyman who is deputy artistic director of The Royal Shakespeare Company and now Lorne heading up National Theatre Wales.”

Clive Jones, Chair of NTW said: “We were impressed by the range and depth of Lorne’s artistic work, his obvious leadership skills and clear commitment to promoting and developing Welsh talent. He will bring a new energy and vitality to theatre in Wales.

Northern Stage will announce recruitment details for Campbell’s successor in November 2019.

The Ballad Of Johnny Longstaff - Tuesday 4 – Saturday 22 February 2020
Tickets from £10 - Box office 0191 230 5151 /
Teesside folk trio The Young’uns perform a new, theatrical version of The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff. A true story following the footsteps of a working class hero who chose not to look the other way when the world needed his help in this timely, touching and often hilarious musical adventure directed by Lorne Campbell (The Last Ship). 

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