This role will enable Sarah to continue leading the organisation in further developing the theatre and its various strands of work, including produced and presented theatre, the learning theatre programme and its relationship with the University of Derby.
Derby Theatre is now in the process of recruiting and appointing an executive director, with a specific focus on commercial and business. This role, along with the head of learning, will support Sarah in leading and developing the organisation.
Since Sarah joined Derby Theatre in January 2013, the organisation has gone from strength to strength and the theatre’s successes have included: seeing a dramatic increase in the size of its audiences and the number of people from the local community and region engaging in its work and numerous participation opportunities; being recognised and celebrated on a local and national level, including by Arts Council England, for their unique partnership with the University of Derby and the learning theatre model; being awarded thousands of pounds of funding to support its learning theatre programme and related initiatives, launching In Good Company, a professional development programme for emerging artists; launching Plus One, a ticket donation scheme to provide children in care with the chance to experience, for free, live performance, film and workshops in the city.
In July 2014, the theatre was accepted as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO), with a significant uplift in funding, by Arts Council England.
Sarah Brigham said: “I’m delighted to be taking on this new role, a position which I will fully embrace and one which will allow the theatre to plan for a successful future, combining artistic excellence and business acumen at the top of the organisation.”
Hari Punchihewa, deputy chief executive for the University of Derby and acting chair for the Derby Theatre Board, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Sarah will be taking on this new role for Derby Theatre. Since joining the organisation in 2013, Sarah has achieved so much.
Sarah truly believes in the concept of a learning theatre and is very focussed on making it the best in the country. Her boundless energy, enthusiasm and passion for the theatre is always evident and tremendously inspirational. I am confident that Sarah will continue to lead Derby Theatre, as part of the University of Derby Theatre, to continued success.”
The theatre is currently breaking box office records with its current run of Brassed Off and celebrating the production being Derby Theatre’s best-selling produced show to date. By the end of the run, over 12,500 people will have seen the production.