New artistic director appointed to lead Alnwick Playhouse

Alnwick Playhouse has appointed an award-winning new artistic director.

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 3:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 3:50 pm

Damian Cruden takes on the management role previously held by Jo Potts, who stepped down in October.

He will join later this month as the much-loved theatre, which has received a £3.3m revamp, attempts to recover from the financial impact of Covid pandemic.

“I am delighted to join the team at Alnwick Playhouse as artistic director,” said Damian.

Damian Cruden, artistic director at Alnwick Playhouse.

“The building is in fantastic shape, clearly much loved by the community and a hive of activity.

"I look forward to meeting those who are currently involved in creating and curating work for the centre and those who come to the events.

"Jo Potts leaves an organisation that is thriving and I can only thank her for having guided the company through the capital project and Covid with great skill and sensitivity.

"It is indeed a joy to pick up the reins. I hope I can do her legacy justice and bring something to the community that continues the tradition of a cultural programme centred on the community of Alnwick and beyond.”

Alnwick Playhouse.

Damian trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has worked extensively throughout the UK as a theatre director, arts practitioner and artistic director in various contexts.

He was artistic director at York Theatre Royal from 1997 until 2019 in which time the venue became well known for community productions working with large groups of local people and professional artists, immersive projects in found/non-theatre spaces and working with museums and other partners to deliver narrative around particular events, subjects and/or issues. He won an Olivier for his production of The Railway Children.

He became artistic director at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in 2019, producing eight productions in two 900 seat pop up theatre spaces, with an acting company of 76.

In 2020/21 he directed and managed the community project The Whispering House York in Tang Hall and Heworth working with 30 members of the community to create a series of creative responses to the National Census.

He is currently a tutor/director for The Soldiers Arts Academy running weekly online workshops for current and ex-military personnel and their families. The project offers them access to a wide variety of cultural activities to assist with their journey from service life back to civilian.

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