Campbell moves on to Wales

Published: 22 October 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Northern Stage’s Artistic Director Lorne Campbell will leave Newcastle in April 2020 to become Artistic Director of Cardiff-based National Theatre Wales, taking over from Kully Thiarai.

He joined Northern Stage in 2013, following the departure of Erica Whyman to the RSC. Before then he worked as a freelance director creating productions for Liverpool Theatres, Birmingham Rep, Theatre Royal Bath, Traverse Theatre, The Almeida and Hull Truck. He was Associate Director at the Traverse Theatre between 2004 and 2008. He worked as a Course Director at Drama Centre and as a Creative Fellow of the RSC between 2011 and 2013 and as founding co-Artistic Director of Greyscale between 2009 and 2013.

He had brought a production to Northern Stage before he was appointed, the challenge to the audience’s trust which was Theatre Brothel, produced by Greyscale and co-directed by Selma Dimitrijevic.

Since his appointment in 2013, Northern Stage has produced more in-house shows, attracted larger audiences, developed its commitment to nurturing talent across the North East and pioneered new co-creation models with young people and communities of economic disadvantage. Theatrical highlights during this time include Get Carter (2016) and The Last Ship (2018), alongside Northern Stage’s successful participation in the Edinburgh Fringe.

Simon Elliott, Chair of Northern Stage said, “Lorne has brought his energy, skill and artistic flair to every day of his time with Northern Stage. He will leave it in 2020 in great shape for the future, with a compelling vision and an enhanced reputation amongst stakeholders and audiences. We wish him well for his new appointment and know that he will bring the same qualities to the same effect.”

“We were impressed by the range and depth of Lorne's artistic work, his obvious leadership skills and clear commitment to promoting and developing Welsh talent,” said Clive Jones, chair of NTW. He will bring a new energy and vitality to theatre in Wales.”

Phil George, Chair Arts Council Wales, agreed. “We congratulate NTW on this exciting appointment and look forward to welcoming Lorne to Wales,” he said. “He will find, as he knows, a vibrant theatre scene which NTW has helped to shape with its distinctive approach and its national remit. Lorne's range of experience bodes well for the company's continuing development, working closely with the artists of Wales. And his depth of experience engaging with communities in the North East will give added strength and energy to NTW's extensive community network across Wales.”

“It is a profoundly exciting prospect to be joining National Theatre Wales as Artistic Director and also a great sadness to be leaving Northern Stage after six and a half years,” Campbell said. “I have been privileged to work with the most wonderful colleagues, artists, audiences and communities that you could wish for. I am very proud of what we have achieved together and know that the theatre is in a great place to continue to evolve and thrive in the years ahead.

“The chance to work with the incredible talent, ambition and dynamism of Welsh theatre and through the innovative and flexible model of NTW, to create opportunities for new conversations between audiences, artists and communities, domestically and internationally, is both remarkable and humbling. There is great work happening in Wales and I cannot wait to engage with the depth and breadth of this creativity, aspiration and expression.”

Northern Stage will announce recruitment details for Campbell’s successor in November.