New Theatre Royal CEO departs, interim appointed

Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal have announced the departure of its artistic director and CEO Caroline Sharman after eight years at the helm.

Caroline has led an exceptional team through a multi-million pound capital project from its conception to its completion, including fundraising, developing the ideas, project managing, and brokering new partnerships through its first year of activity.

Judith Smyth, Chair of New Theatre Royal Trustees, commented: “Caroline has made a major contribution to secure the future of our theatre and we are all very grateful for her leadership through some very challenging years. She will be missed.”

The revival of the New Theatre Royal was driven by Caroline’s international experience. She has directed shows on heritage sites in Syria, Mexico, and Greece for the British Council, and devised and created new plays, pantomimes, and operas in GlyndebourneThe Minerva, and Theatre Chipping Norton.

During her tenure at the New Theatre Royal, Caroline’s passion to provide an inclusive platform for local artist was visible in her initiating an Associate Artists scheme which has blossomed into the Creative Lab and has encouraged the Creative Learning team to work with local artists to explore and challenge issues head-on.

On October 15 2015, the historic theatre reopened its doors with a new stage, fly-tower, and backstage area, a new creative studio space, a refreshed auditorium, and improved accessibility to the heritage theatre through the partnership with the University of Portsmouth.

Judith Smyth said: “We will be recruiting a new CEO but [in the meantime], Sheena Hume, Director of Operations, will be stepping up to caretaker the role, with the support of the current team.

“We are confident that the theatre will continue to go from strength to strength, welcoming exciting and adventurous shows that challenge perceptions. We have a beautiful building and a strong programme of great performances to look forward to.”

Sheena’s extensive management expertise and in-depth knowledge of the theatre industry will provide her with the experience to continue the theatre’s drive to success, having managed a variety of theatres including Dominion Theatre in London as well as Britain’s largest theatre: the Hammersmith Apollo.