Theatre Royal Stratford East today announces that Kerry Michael will step down as Artistic Director after twelve years in post. He will leave at the end of 2017 and will announce his future plans in due course.
Kerry Michael said today, “One of the most rewarding aspects of this job is supporting the next wave of artists and staff, so it’s important I give someone else the opportunity to have one of the best jobs in British Theatre. We, as a company, are in a healthy, ambitious place, so now feels the right time to step aside. It’s been a total privilege to lead this theatre for over twelve years and play a part in its history and vision. I believe, at a time when as a nation we are being fed fear and suspicion in a bid to divide and rule, TRSE now more than ever, needs to invest in and celebrate its complex and vibrant community, and seek out those new stories and storytellers many of whom unfortunately continue to be ignored by the mainstream arts sector and media. My successor will inherit a committed and engaged board lead by the formidable Margaret Hodge, who has been a joy to work with, a talented and hardworking workforce, and one of the most young and diverse audiences in the country. I’m going to very much enjoy watching this important theatre that I love soar higher and higher in the years to come.”
Margaret Hodge MP Chair of the Board said: “Kerry's contribution to the Theatre Royal Stratford East has been simply wonderful. He has relentlessly put into practice the values that underpin this unique theatre by prioritising and pursuing diversity and opportunity at every level. He leaves us with a genuinely diverse and young audience, and a great record in nurturing and developing the creative talents of young people in East London. He has consistently demonstrated a radical and brave determination to stage work that challenges many boundaries and delivers strong messages. He has built a committed, talented and diverse staff, and a beautifully renovated theatre with a strong tradition and huge opportunities that will enable us to fulfil a leading national role. We are all immensely grateful for everything that Kerry has done and achieved. We will all miss him but I am sure he will continue to make a vital contribution to the theatre world in a new role.”
Neil Darlison, Director, Theatre of Arts Council England commented, “Kerry Michael has been a central figure in British theatre for nearly two decades. He has recently overseen the refurbishment to the Stratford Theatre Royal’s magnificent main auditorium, and built a truly welcoming and lively community space where audiences have enjoyed many, many great plays and musicals. He leaves a legacy worthy of the theatre’s founder, and we look forward with anticipation to Kerry’s next endeavours, to the future of Stratford East and to what his successor brings.”
Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, added “Under Kerry Michael’s leadership the Theatre Royal Stratford East has played an important part in supporting our community and engendering pride and cohesion during an exciting time of regeneration for our borough. Kerry’s outstanding programmes and creative spirit have augmented Stratford’s existing cultural offer to make it a destination to be enjoyed by local people, visitors to the area, and by young people especially through the theatre’s support of Newham Council’s Every Child a Theatre-goer initiative. We wish Kerry success in the future and look forward to continuing to work with the theatre to ensure it remains a high quality offer which is hard to beat anywhere in London.”
Theatre Royal Stratford East will soon start the search for a new Artistic Director.