Sanderson steps down after nine years in Nottingham

Steve Orme

Robert Sanderson, the 69-year-old managing director of the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham, is retiring after nine years in the role.

Sanderson will leave the venue at the end of April 2018 after the completion of the venue’s £3.3 million Royal Transformation Project. He said he was “immensely proud to have played my part” but was looking forward to spending more time with his wife Margaret at their home in Suffolk and returning to his arts management consultancy business.

Sanderson has led the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall (TRCH) team since joining the venue as interim managing director in January 2009. He planned to stay for only three months.

“When I came here I could see straightaway that the venue and the staff had such great, untapped potential, so I said I would take it on full time with a view to transforming the organisation. I’d always wanted to run an original Victorian theatre and an acoustically perfect, modern concert hall and suddenly here it was,” he said.

Since 2009, the TRCH has been transformed into a thriving business, returning a “healthy” surplus for owners Nottingham city council. The Royal Transformation Project has improved the venue’s foyers, restaurants and meeting spaces, brought the roof terrace back into use and improved disabled access.

Councillor Graham Chapman, deputy leader of Nottingham city council, paid tribute. He said, “Robert Sanderson has been exceptional. He’s achieved a unique balance between providing a first-class programme for both the concert hall and the Theatre Royal.

“At the same time he’s moved both from loss-making to profitable organisations. I doubt whether any other director in the UK could match his record. He’s provided a great service to the city for which we should be very grateful.”