Sarah Brigham appointed Derby artistic director
Derby Theatre has announced that Sarah Brigham is to be its first artistic director.
It follows Arts Council East Midlands’ decision to award the former Derby Playhouse £923,000 over a three-year period which will help the venue to stage three in-house productions per year.
The venue, which is leased by the University of Derby, has been relying on touring productions after the Arts Council turned down the theatre's application to become part of the national portfolio.
Previously the University had a partnership with Derby city council's entertainments arm Derby LIVE which had helped to reopen the building after it had been dark for almost two years.
But although the Arts Council turned down the original application for £750,000 a year, it ring-fenced an amount of cash for produced theatre in the city. That was granted to the University in May.
Sarah Brigham is currently artistic director of The Point, Eastleigh, a role she has held since January 2010, and the Berry Theatre at Hedge End, Hampshire.
Before that she was associate director at Dundee Rep for four years where she led its creative learning team and directed professional productions with the Dundee Rep Ensemble.
Sarah Brigham said, “I'm delighted to be taking on the role of artistic director at Derby Theatre.
“It's a fantastic opportunity to work at a theatre with a great history of producing quality and exciting work.
“It’s my ambition to build on this wonderful legacy and to bring productions of daring and delight to the audiences of Derby and beyond.
“I’m also looking forward to developing the theatre's unique vision to be a building which truly has learning at its heart, helping emerging artists and those in training develop their skills and add to the creative economy of Derby.”
Professor John Coyne, vice-chancellor of the University of Derby and chair of Derby Theatre board, commented, “We’re extremely pleased about Sarah’s appointment and excited about what the future holds for Derby Theatre under her artistic leadership.
“We’re confident that her previous experience and her ambitions for Derby Theatre will be of great benefit to us as a regional venue and will excite our audiences too.”
Peter Knott, director of Arts Council England, added, “Sarah’s appointment is really good news and her reputation is rapidly rising.
“She is known for innovative ways of nurturing young talent and provides the perfect environment for emerging theatre makers and companies to make great work.”
Sarah Brigham is expected to take up her new appointment towards the end of this year or early next year.