Artistic Director Hamish Glen and Executive Director Joanna Reid will step down after 18 years at the Belgrade

Today we announce a major restructure to our senior leadership team for 2022. Chief Executive and Artistic Director Hamish Glen and Executive Director Joanna Reid will step down at the end of March 2022, following 18 years at the helm of Coventry’s largest arts venue.

Two new posts will be created – a Chief Executive responsible for overall strategy and to run the commercial side of the Belgrade, and a Creative Director, reporting to the CEO, to focus on our artistic output across both the professional and community areas.

There will be a scaled down leadership 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.

These changes have been 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.

Hamish Glen and Joanna Reid said, “As with all theatres across the UK, the pandemic has proved uniquely challenging for the Belgrade, both financially and logistically. We’re proud of the way the whole team has pulled together, that we’re riding the storm with resilience and we’re excited for the work both inside and outside the building during City of Culture year. We feel that now is the right time to look to the future and to step aside, handing over a strong organisation to allow the next generation of talented and innovative theatre leaders to take the Belgrade forward.”

As previously announced, David Hanson will take over as Chairman of the Board later this year, taking over from Stewart Ferguson who has served as Chairman since 2012. Hanson is joined by Alan Pollock as Vice Chair, and other trustees joining the Board at this time are Nyasha Pitt, Tyrone Huggins, Thanh Sinden and Colin Bell. Recruitment for the new CEO and Creative Director posts will begin immediately in July, with the aim that the successful appointees will be in post in January 2022.