Live appoints new Artistic Director

Published: 29 April 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Jack McNamara

Newcastle’s Live Theatre has announced the appointment of a new Artistic Director / Joint CEO, Jack McNamara, who replaces Joe Douglas who left the theatre in November 2020.

McNamara has been Artistic Director of Nottingham-based touring company New Perspectives since 2012. Before that, he was on the Young Vic directors scheme in 2008–9 and was an assistant director at the RSC.

Based in Nottingham, New Perspectives is a touring company, which, under his direction, played in a wide variety of venues from village halls to theatres ranging from Trafalgar Studios and the Arcola in London (The Fishermen), through the Edinburgh Fringe (The Boss of It All) to Nottingham Playhouse (Darkness, Darkness).

During the pandemic, New Perspectives has experimented with new ideas: a series of five-minute telephone dramas for Valentine’s weekend performed to an audience of one person at a time, collaborating with six UK theatre-makers to produce limited edition Christmas cards, each reimagining traditional yuletide messages, Zoom performances of Lars von Trier's office comedy The Boss of It All with Josie Lawrence, a 10-part podcast series PlacePrints by David Rudkin, Love From Cleethorpes, a drama told through a series of six postcards, and a Halloween drama which used WhatsApp as a dramatic form.

“I am totally thrilled to be joining such an incredible organisation at this time and to have the chance to work with artists, audiences and communities in such a dynamic region,” said McNamara. “Everything about Live Theatre inspires me, from its unique space to its deep commitment to breaking down cultural barriers. It's been a hard year for live arts to say the least, but now is the time for us to radically reimagine how theatre and creativity can really thrive in our society going forward, becoming braver, better and truly for everyone.”

Lucy Winskell, Chair of Live Theatre's Board, said, “we're delighted to welcome Jack to the Live Theatre team following a rigorous recruitment and interview process. He stood out from a pool of high quality candidates thanks to his impressive experience and clear understanding and respect for the organisation's roots and achievements on the national stage. He has great vision, a commitment to talent development and an inclusive leadership style which is a perfect fit with joint CEO Jacqui Kell. Together, they will take Live Theatre forward, delivering our strategic goals and bringing new stories to the stage that shine and connect with our audiences.”

Jack McNamara will take up his post in late August.