Nottingham Playhouse artistic boss Croft steps down

Published: 26 July 2016
Reporter: Steve Orme

Time for change: Giles Croft Credit: Alan Fletcher

Giles Croft, artistic director of Nottingham Playhouse since 1999, is to step down in November 2017.

Under his tenure, the theatre increased its in-house productions from 6 to 14 per year. “There was an opportunity when I came here to see if I could revitalise the theatre,” said Croft. “That was the first thing I said—I’d like to come here but I’d like to do more work. They took a bit of a gamble I suppose and it worked out well. This is a wonderful theatre.”

On making the decision to leave, he said, “we are soon to begin the application process for the next four years of NPO Arts Council funding. It’s time for me to hand over to a new generation as the country enters a period of change and for Nottingham Playhouse to have a new artistic vision.

“The new artistic director will be joining a theatre where they can take artistic risks, that has an encouraging and supportive working environment and is in good business shape.”

Before Croft arrived in Nottingham, he was literary manager at the National Theatre for five-and-a-half years, advising the then artistic director Richard Eyre about which plays to put on. He then moved to the Palace Theatre in Watford where he was artistic director for four-and-a-half years.

He cites three productions which he directed as his Nottingham Playhouse highlights: Robert Lepage’s Polygraph in 2001, the European première of Matthew Spangler’s adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner in 2013 and Kefi Chadwick’s play Any Means Necessary, inspired by the national undercover policing scandal and subsequent Pitchford inquiry, in 2016.

During his time at Nottingham, Croft has produced more than 50 new plays. The Playhouse was a member of the European Theatre Convention for ten years, with Croft acting as a vice-president for five of those years.

Caroline Shutter, chair of the trustees, said, “I will miss his insightful and erudite contributions to board meetings. He has been a real asset to the city, helping to promote Nottingham Playhouse nationally, in London’s West End and through collaborations with other theatres. He’ll be a hard act to follow.”

Chief executive Stephanie Sirr said, “Giles has been a terrific artistic director for Nottingham Playhouse, in particular championing new writing and creating some unforgettable theatre. He’s also been a really wonderful colleague—passionate about the theatre and so supportive to emerging artists and to the organisation as a whole. We look forward to enjoying his final productions for Nottingham Playhouse and to his future directorial triumphs.”