Live’s Artistic Director steps down

Peter Lathan

Newcastle’s Live Theatre’s Artistic Director, Max Roberts, is stepping down after thirty years in the post and applications are now being invited for someone to replace him.

Roberts, a founding member of the company, has a new role as Emeritus Director at Live Theatre in addition to his position as Visiting Professor of Performing Arts at the University of Sunderland.

A major contributor to the cultuiral life of the region, in 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from Northumbria University and in 2016 a professorship at Sunderland University. In 2011 he received the Journal Culture Award's Special Contribution Award to honour his achievements in bringing national and international recognition to the work of Live Theatre.

He has worked with many leading playwrights who have strong connections to the North East region including C P Taylor, Tom Hadaway, Alan Plater, Phil Woods, Julia Darling, Pater Straughan, Lee Hall, Michael Chaplin, Sean O'Brien, Paddy Campbell, David Almond and Shelagh Stephenson.

His replacement as Artistic Director will, the job descrition states, have “exceptional experience as a theatre artist, a talent for leadership, a proven ability to work with writers and other theatre makers, a passion for engagement and the experience to drive forward the organisation’s award-winning work.

“The new Artistic Director will need outstanding creative skills, an eagerness to be located in the North East of England and a commitment to engaging with the communities of the region. (S)he will have the tenacity, diplomacy and creativity to take on the artistic leadership of a theatre with a rich heritage and an eye to the future.

“(S)he will have national and international contacts, and be passionate about engagement, access and diversity. (S)he will take a leadership role in the cultural and social development of the region, and be eager to commit to the company and region for the medium to long term.”

Live Theatre has the largest free drama education and participation programme in the region and its work with young people was recognised with an Outstanding Contribution Award at the North East Youth Work Awards and has achieved Investors in Children status for its child-led approach.

“Live Theatre has supported generation after generation of new writers, actors and theatre artists,” says playwright Lee Hall, much of whose work has premièred at the Quayside venue.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Monday 16 October 2017, with initial interviews in Newcastle scheduled for the week of Monday 30 October. For more information go to To request an application pack, e-mail or ring 0191 269 3493.

Live Theatre is funded by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation and receives financial support from Newcastle City Council through the Newcastle Culture Investment Fund managed by the Community Foundation and from other trusts and foundations, corporate partners and Friends.

It also draws on a broad portfolio of income streams and is recognised as a national leader in developing new strategies for increasing income and assets. These include The Schoolhouse, a hub for creative businesses; Live Garden, a outdoor performance space; Live Tales, a centre for children and young people’s creative writing, and Live Works, a commercial office building which has won architectural awards from RIBA and the Civic Trust.

In addition, Live Theatre receives a percentage of the income from award-winning gastro pub The Broad Chare and from Head of Steam, Quayside.