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News: Newcastle's Live Theatre announces appointment of new Executive Director/Joint CEO

Newcastle's Live Theatre announces appointment of new Executive Director/Joint CEO 

Live Theatre today announces that Jacqui Kell has been appointed Executive Director/Joint CEO, and she will take up the post in March 2021. The Executive Director post is part of a new leadership structure at this internationally renowned new writing theatre which will see two posts, Executive Director and Artistic Director, working together as Joint CEOs and replacing that of Jim Beirne, the outgoing Chief Executive. 

Before joining Live Theatre as Operations Director in September 2018, Jacqui worked as Director of Business Strategy and Interim Chief Executive at Arch in Northumberland. Prior to that she spent ten years at Newcastle City Council in several high-profile roles including management of the European team charged with attracting international and national funds to major projects in the city. 

Jacqui Kell 

Commenting on her appointment as Executive Director/Joint CEO, Jacqui said: “I’m really privileged and looking forward to taking up this new role.  Following a difficult year for many sectors including theatres we have great plans for 2021 and beyond.  Work will start in January to improve our physical space and we have a brilliant creative programme planned, which will continue to present work digitally, but most importantly will see audiences welcomed back into our theatre to enjoy the work on stage.  It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Jim Beirne and I’m excited about what our outstanding team can continue to create and achieve as well as working with our board, partners, tenants, funders and stakeholders on delivering our future plans.” 

Lucy Winskell OBE, Chair of the Board, Live Theatre said: “I am delighted that Jacqui has been appointed to this new role, following a rigorous recruitment process. During her time as Operations Director she has proven to be extremely commercially minded, developing new partnerships, managing fruitful stakeholder relationships and leading on both the successful Arts Council England capital programme bid and the Culture Recovery Fund application. Live Theatre has a great reputation for breaking new ground and I am confident that Jacqui’s vision, expertise and innovative and entrepreneurial approach will make a significant contribution to the long-term sustainability of Live Theatre.” 

Jim Beirne, Chief Executive Live Theatre said: “Having worked with Jacqui for over two years, I am thrilled by the news of her appointment. I have seen first-hand her outstanding leadership skills and I know she will guide her highly creative and talented colleagues, to further successes. I am personally very proud of the achievements of the team at Live Theatre and our reputation.” 

Image: Stephen Oliver

Live Theatre has an international reputation as a theatre for the quality of work with the four phase (Live Elevator) approach to the development and production of artistically strong and relevant new plays. In the last few years Live Theatre’s work has received an Olivier Award for Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour and The Red Lion by Patrick Marber, directed by Max Roberts, starring Stephen Tompkinson was nominated for an Olivier Award. In 2016 Live Theatre’s commission from Shelagh Stephenson, Harriet Martineau Dreams of Dancing was nominated as best regional theatre production by BBC Radio 4 Front Row listeners. Guardian readers nominated Iris, commissioned from Alison Carr as Regional Play of the Year and Clear White Light written by Paul Sirett was voted one of the Guardian readers’ top theatre shows in 2018. 

Live Theatre’s pioneering work with children and young people (CYP) is also highly regarded. A key part of the continuum of talent development and a seminal part of the artistic programme, CYP’s two main strands are Live Tales and Live Youth Theatre. 

The team at Live Theatre have continued to develop their artistic, creative and learning programmes throughout the pandemic.Live Wired was introduced to bring their work and shows including the critically acclaimed 10 Minutes To … Call Home and the recent 5 Plays of Christmas to audiences through digital platforms. 

Applications are still open for the new Artistic Director/Joint CEO role. Creative professionals with a significant track record of creating exciting work, wanting to engage with new approaches to making work and engaging communities have until 10am on Monday 18 January 2021 to apply. For more information see 

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