Kerry Michael to leave Stratford East

Published: 5 February 2017
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Kerry Michael steps down

Kerry Michael is leave Theatre Royal Stratford East at the end of 2017 after twelve years in the post of artistic director.

Michael said, “one of the most rewarding aspects of this job is supporting the next wave of artists and staff, so it’s important I give someone else the opportunity to have one of the best jobs in British Theatre.

"We, as a company, are in a healthy, ambitious place, so now feels the right time to step aside. It’s been a total privilege to lead this theatre for over twelve years and play a part in its history and vision. I believe, at a time when as a nation we are being fed fear and suspicion in a bid to divide and rule, TRSE, now more than ever, needs to invest in and celebrate its complex and vibrant community, and seek out those new stories and storytellers many of whom unfortunately continue to be ignored by the mainstream arts sector and media.

"My successor will inherit a committed and engaged board lead by the formidable Margaret Hodge, who has been joy to work with, a talented and hardworking workforce and one of the most young and diverse audiences in the country. I’m going to very much enjoy watching this important theatre that I love soar higher and higher in the years to come.”

Kerry Michael's directing credits include the opera I Was Looking at The Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky and the musicals Takeaway, Come Dancing, The Harder They Come and the forthcoming national tour of The Who’s Tommy with a cast of 22 disabled and non-disabled actors and musicians.

Theatre Royal Stratford East is located in East London, an area with the lowest arts engagement in England (29%). Under Michael's leadership, the venue has enjoyed success in attracting those not considered traditional arts-goers with shows playing to 74% capacity (average over the last five years), with audiences made up of more than a 35% from a group characterised by low levels of cultural engagement and mixed ages and cultural backgrounds. This is significantly higher than the 10% average achieved in London.

The search for a new artistic director will commence shortly.