Geoffrey Brown is Off!

Published: 19 February 2024
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Geoffrey Brown

Geoffrey Brown, who has been at the helm of OffWestEnd and the Offies since 2017, is to step down as director at the end of June.

OffWestEnd champions independent and alternative theatres recognising their role in the industry ecosystem as a breeding ground for new talent and ground-breaking ideas, and their place in their local and wider community. The Offies is an award scheme to recognise and celebrate excellence, innovation and ingenuity in the independent theatre sector in and around London (and beyond).

During Brown’s seven-year tenure, OffWestEnd and the Offies have thrived and grown despite the impact of the COVID pandemic on independent theatre, which also resulted in OffWestEnd and the Offies losing their entire income stream.

He has overseen the growth of the Offies with the addition of seven new live performance award categories and the expansion of others, which together see more than four hundred shows being assessed every year.

In 2020, the Offies were the first major theatre or film awards to scrap the gender split in key performance categories and, in response to artists moving work online because of lockdown measures, the OnComms, Online Commendations, were introduced for shows, audio productions and audio versions of shows, in total covering eight categories of which two continue to this day supporting work in these media.

The Offies awards ceremony went online for 2021 and 2022 and this year takes place live on 25 February at the Woolwich Works, having returned with full force at Alexandra Palace last February.

Geoffrey Brown, said, “the last 7 years have been some of the most stimulating, exciting and challenging of my entire career of over 45 years of working in arts and culture. The creativity, imagination and commitment of those working in OffWestEnd and other independent theatres is inspiring—especially given the precarious nature of the sector generally and particularly post-COVID.

"I am pleased that the Offies have expanded and we are now able to promote and celebrate a wider range of productions, and I hope we have played a small part in helping the sector be recognised for the breadth and quality of the work that is produced and presented. Though I am stepping down and away, I am looking forward to opportunities to continue to enjoy independent theatre, wherever I happen to be.”

OffWestEnd and the Offies were founded in 2010 by Sofie Mason and Diana Jervis Read. Under Geoffrey Brown’s directorship umbrella organisation TheatresOff now encompasses OffWestEnd and the Offies. The goal of TheatresOff is to ensure that culturally diverse performances in independent and alternative theatres are presented in an equal, positive and unbiased manner to people interested in seeing new work and supporting new talent.

Brown will oversee his last Offies Awards Ceremony, the 14th, which around 900 people will attend on 25 February at the Woolwich Works. His successor will be announced at the ceremony.

Those unable to attend in person can follow events on social media: Twitter @offwestendcom, Facebook or Instagram offwestendcom.

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