Bristol Old Vic announces new Executive Director

27 Jun 2019

Bristol Old Vic today announced the appointment of the organisation’s new Executive Director to carry the theatre’s business into the new era, which began in Sep 2018 with the completion of its multi-million-pound redevelopment and reinvention as a destination venue.

Charlotte Geeves, current Chief Executive Officer of the annual Henley Festival, will take up her position on 2 Sep this year.
Geeves is an experienced CEO with a deep knowledge of producing theatre and a passion for the cultural strength of Bristol. She began her career in stage management, rising to the role of Company Manager for both The Young Vic under David Lan and Shakespeare’s Globe under Dominic Dromgoole. From there she developed her producing skills working as Project Manager for Alistair Spalding at Sadler’s Wells and then as General Manager at Salisbury International Arts Festival before working as Festivals Manager for Wildscreen here in Bristol.
This provided the platform for her move to Henley Festival in 2014. During her five years as CEO of Henley Festival, Charlotte has transformed the scale, financial success and media impact of a unique Arts institution. She has grown turnover by 35%, sponsorship and individual giving by 30%, and audience size by 40%, as well as developed the artistic programme and cemented the Festival's charitable aims within the business plan. 

Speaking today,Charlotte said: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Tom and the team at such a magnificent theatre. I can’t wait to get started and immerse myself in life in Bristol again.”

Bristol Old Vic’s Artistic Director Tom Morrissaid: “Charlotte is a leader of dazzling talent with the perfect combination of skills to marry the creative ambition of our beautiful theatre with the complex and changing matrix of its resources. Crushing cuts have made life very tricky for theatres in recent years, but the business potential of Bristol Old Vic’s new building is undeniable. I can’t wait to start work with Charlotte on building the structures which will ensure that this vital and unique factory of creativity can continue to create world class shows, to carry genuine creative opportunity into the lives of young people across the region, and to offer meaningful pathways into theatre and other art forms to the amazing bed of talent which Bristol possesses.”
Bristol Old Vic Chair Dame Liz Forgan said: “The Board considered a long and exceptionally strong list of candidates and we are delighted that our unanimous choice, Charlotte Geeves, is to join as our new Executive Director in September. Her knowledge of Bristol, her experience working with some of the greats of British theatre and her transformational achievements at the Henley Festival make her an outstanding addition to our senior team at this exciting moment in the theatre’s history. “

Charlotte will take the Executive Director role at Bristol Old Vic which was previously held by Emma Stenning (now Executive Director of Canada’s Soulpepper Theatre Company) and on an interim basis by Sally Cordwell, who will be continuing to pursue her freelance projects. Stenning’s achievements in Bristol are already the stuff of legend, to which Bristol Old Vic would like to add a special note of thanks to Sally Cordwell for overseeing the organisation’s transformation into its wonderful new building.
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Bristol Old Vic is the longest continuously running theatre in the UK, and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016. The historic playhouse aims to inspire audiences with its own original productions, both at home and on tour, whilst nurturing the next generation of artists, whether that be through their 350-strong Young Company, their many outreach and education projects or their trailblazing artist development programme, Bristol Ferment.

They use their funding to support experiment and innovation, to allow access to their programme for people who would not otherwise encounter it, or be able to afford it, and to keep their extraordinary heritage alive and animated.

On 24 Sep 2018, Bristol Old Vic completed its 2-year multi-million pound redevelopment project, which transformed its front of house space into a warm and welcoming public building for all of Bristol to enjoy, created a new studio theatre and opened up its unique theatrical heritage to the public for the first time.

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