BELGRADE THEATRE ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP TEAM
LAURA ELLIOT JOINS THE BELGRADE AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE
CURRENT CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR COREY CAMPBELL APPOINTED AS NEW CREATIVE DIRECTOR
The Board of the Belgrade Theatre is thrilled to announce the appointment of the new senior leadership, who will take up their posts in January 2022, succeeding outgoing Executive Director, Joanna Reid and Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Hamish Glen.
Laura Elliot has been appointed as Chief Executive, responsible for overall strategy and to run the commercial side of the Belgrade.
Corey Campbell – currently one of the three Co-Artistic Directors of the Belgrade for Coventry’s year as City of Culture 2021 – has been appointed to the new post of Creative Director, focusing on the Theatre’s artistic output across both its professional and community areas.
The CEO and Creative Director will lead a restructured senior team of six. This team will lead on producing and programming, technical production, marketing, general management such as fundraising and income generation, financial management and commercial income and operations such as catering and conferencing.
Laura Elliot brings significant senior management and leadership experience to the Belgrade; from her current role as Programme Director of Oxford Playhouse and previous role as Programme Manager at Warwick Arts Centre. A resident of Kenilworth for nearly a decade, she combines strong connections to the regional arts scene with a real passion for the importance of culture, particularly as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture legacy.
Corey Campbell is Artistic Director of Strictly Arts Theatre Company, formerly supported by the Belgrade’s Springboard talent development programme. Through productions such as Green Leaves Fall and the critically acclaimed, Edinburgh sell-out show Freeman, Strictly Arts have used their collaborative, devising process to bring stories from real people to the stage, building long-lasting relationships with audiences through targeted workshop and outreach programmes, with a particular focus on African and Caribbean communities.
Corey’s flagship production for the City of Culture year has been SEAVIEW, a new digital television series created, produced, and filmed in the West Midlands using a unique Writers Room project which involved local emerging writers from the region. SeaView was created using theatrical devising techniques, from an original, pre-pandemic idea by Campbell. It celebrates a Black working class aspirational family and all the things they come up against on their journey to achieve great things. SeaView will premiere at the Belgrade in November.
In 2022, as his final project for Coventry City of Culture and as his tenure as Co-Artistic Director comes to an end, Corey will be co-directing FIGHTING IRISH with Hamish Glen, due to play at the Belgrade in March.
Laura Elliot said,“I’m delighted to be taking up the role of CEO, alongside Corey Campbell as Creative Director. The Belgrade Theatre has been my local producing theatre for nearly a decade. I’m inspired by its deep rooted, nationally renowned commitment to community engagement, diversity, learning, talent development and high quality entertainment. I look forward to collaborating with the team to build on the Theatre’s plentiful past achievements, and propel it into an exciting, ambitious future.”
Corey Campbell said, “Let’s get it in, let’s get it done.”
Chairman of the Board, David Hanson said, “I’m delighted with the new appointments we’ve made. Laura is an exceptional leader, and I have no doubt that she will inspire all those that work with her as she leads a newly refurbished and invigorated Belgrade. Corey has been a huge creative asset to the Theatre during the City of Culture Year and I’m hugely excited to see what he will bring to the post of Creative Director. This is a new post for The Belgrade which draws together our theatre programme, the creation of new productions and our community and education work so that we can better achieve our ambition to improve life for the people of Coventry and beyond.”
Arts Council England Area Director, Peter Knott said, “We’re delighted to welcome Laura Elliot and Corey Campbell in their new roles and look forward to working with them. We’re sure that both their experience and expertise will benefit the Belgrade Theatre in the long term in an exciting time for creative venues in Coventry. We’d also like to thank Joanna Reid and Hamish Glen for their fantastic work over the last 18 years, including their part in this year’s City of Culture programme.”
Joanna Reid and Hamish Glen announced their departure from the venue and the senior leadership team restructure in July this year, with the changes driven by two issues: the need to address the financial challenges of the pandemic and its aftermath, and the desire to develop a new vision and way of working for a 21st century theatre.
Important to this new vision will be the legacy of Coventry’s year as City of Culture and Hamish Glen’s KEYS project. This was inspired by the story of Ira Aldridge, a young African-American actor, who came to Coventry in 1828 to manage a short season of plays at the old Coventry Theatre. Not even 21 years of age, he became the country’s first theatre manager of colour at time when slavery was still widespread throughout the British Empire. To honour this unusual event, Glen wanted to ‘hand the keys’ of the theatre over to the next generation of young and diverse theatre-makers.
Corey Campbell, Balisha Karra and Justine Themen were appointed as Co-Artistic Directors of the Theatre for 2021, bringing with them a unique perspective that celebrates Coventry’s diversity and drives positive change. The three Co-Artistic Directors have driven the City of Culture programme of work with their own individual projects, as well as learning from Glen about the processes and challenges of running a major venue. Campbell will now take that legacy forward with his new appointment.