Empty chair at Bristol Old Vic

Published: 14 February 2021
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Dame Liz Forgan
Bristol Old Vic exterior

Bristol Old Vic has started its search to replace Dame Liz Forgan, who steps down as chair of the venue's board of trustees.

Forgan has been at the helm as the theatre underwent an award winning redevelopment, enjoyed a new period of success on stage, and celebrated its 250th birthday.

Her career started in journalism and television where at Channel 4 she progressed from being part of the founding team to director of programmes. Later, at the BBC, Forgan held the position of managing director for BBC Network Radio where she saw in the launch of the DAB digital radio service.

Currently, Forgan is, amongst other roles, a trustee of the Art Fund and the Landmark Trust and a patron of the Churches Conservation Trust and the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness.

Bristol Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris said, “the last 8 years have been a period of extraordinary success and change for this beautiful old theatre, now fabulously renewed through a two-stage refurbishment.

"You can’t achieve change of this kind without the skills of an outstanding chair, and Liz Forgan has provided that across the period. She has combined the deftest skills in steering the organisation through the complex processes of fundraising, constituency-building and commercial development, while never losing her passion for the work, from the Engagement Programme she championed so fiercely to the Bristol Proms which she simply adored. She has celebrated every hit, and applauded the enterprise of every miss, while keeping an assiduous eye on the stability of the business.

"She has also been a fantastic boss, encouraging, kind, compassionate, forensic and needle sharp. Her name should be etched into the pavement in King Street and I very much hope that sometime soon it will be.”

Forgan leaves the theatre after eight years, having extended her original five-year tenure.

Applicants for the role of chair should look on the Bristol Old Vic web site for further information.