THE GUARDIAN 🔵 ‘Dream come true’: Elizabeth Newman to be Sheffield Theatres’ artistic director – Shango Media

THE GUARDIAN 🔵 ‘Dream come true’: Elizabeth Newman to be Sheffield Theatres’ artistic director

Sheffield Theatres have appointed Elizabeth Newman as artistic director, succeeding Robert Hastie, who leaves the organisation this summer.

Earlier this month, Newman announced that she would be stepping down from leading Pitlochry Festival theatre after six years in the post. In December, she will join chief executive Tom Bird and deputy chief executive Bookey Oshin at the helm of the three Sheffield venues – the Crucible, Playhouse and Lyceum – which form one of England’s major theatrical entities.

Newman said her new role is “a dream come true, as I have long admired the incredible work being done at these amazing theatres”. She described Sheffield as a “vibrant city, rich with art, music and a community of brilliant individuals” and a place where “creativity thrives”. Bird said that Newman had “a superb reputation for making big-hearted theatre work” and that she “cares deeply for the communities in which she works and has a resolute focus on how theatres can serve and enthral their audiences”.

Before arriving at Pitlochry, Newman ran Bolton’s Octagon theatre for three years, bowing out with a freewheeling open-air version of the musical Summer Holiday that took place partly at the city’s new interchange. In 2017, she was named woman of the year at the Inspirational women of Bolton awards.

Newman has directed more than 100 productions around the UK, including a version of Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine at Pitlochry that received a five-star Guardian review. She was named best director at the 2020 Critics’ awards for theatre in Scotland for her Pitlochry production of Brian Friel’s Faith Healer. Her adaptation of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett opens this month at Pitlochry, in Highland Perthshire. Her final production at the theatre will be The Sound of Music this winter.

Hastie announced his departure from Sheffield Theatres in March. “It has been an honour to lead this wonderful group of theatres for the last eight years, and to work alongside such a committed, talented and kind collection of people,” he said. His final Sheffield season includes an adaptation of the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire which he is directing in the Crucible.

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