Erica Whyman to join RSC as Deputy Artistic Director

20 July 2012

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Gregory Doran, the RSC's Artistic Director Designate, announced today that he has appointed Erica Whyman as his Deputy Artistic Director. Erica will join the RSC in January, after seven years as Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Northern Stage. She will lead the revitalisation of the RSC's experimental studio space, The Other Place, as a home for new work, as well as directing her own productions and playing an active role in forging new artistic collaborations.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director Designate, said:

'I am so pleased that Erica Whyman has agreed to join the RSC in a newly created role as my Deputy Artistic Director, following her highly successful tenure at Northern Stage. Erica will play a key part in developing new work and new artistic collaborations, as well as directing for us. She will contribute to our future creative strategy and will deputise for me on artistic matters.

'At Northern Stage, she has held an unusual joint position, as Chief Executive and Artistic Director, demonstrating her creative and strategic leadership skills and cementing her reputation both as a director and a producer. She has worked in partnership with a notably wide range of nationally and internationally significant theatre makers, and has shown an appetite and aptitude for creative change and collaborative working practice. She has a great track record and knows the RSC from her long association with us in Newcastle.

'The unique relationship between the RSC and the theatres of Newcastle has always been a source of great pride for us and we are very pleased that Northern Stage is currently a partner in the World Shakespeare Festival.'

Erica Whyman said:

'I am delighted to be joining the RSC at such an exciting time as it builds on its significant recent success. I am a great admirer of Greg's work as a director, his plans for the company are thrilling and Catherine Mallyon is a tremendous appointment as Executive Director. I have had seven exceedingly happy and rewarding years at Northern Stage and the company and the North East will always be part of my life, but it is an honour to be invited to join a remarkable new team at a moment of change and opportunity for the RSC.

'I have a life-long love of Shakespeare, his humanity, his theatrical ambition and his powerful sense of mischief. I look forward very much to being able to interpret his work for the next generation both of audiences and of theatre makers.

'Northern Stage is in excellent shape, following the success of Close The Coalhouse Door and as we launch Northern Stage at St Stephens, our new venue at the Edinburgh Fringe. I have enjoyed every minute of working in this wonderful building with such a dedicated team of colleagues and friends. I know that I leave it in great hands and look forward to seeing what ambitious adventures are round the next corner.'

-ends-

Media enquiries

Liz Thompson, Director of Communications
Liz.thompson@rsc.org.uk
Tel: 01789 412667 or 07717 297 181

Philippa Harland, Head of Press
Philippa.harland@rsc.org.uk
Tel: 0207 845 0512 or 07887 837 900

Nada Zakula, Senior Press Officer
Nada.zakula@rsc.org.uk
Tel: 07831 766086

For enquiries about Northern Stage, please contact Peter Flynn on pflynn@northernstage.co.uk 0191 241 7229 or 07940057335

Images of Erica Whyman are available on request from the RSC Press Office or www.epo-online.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

Biography of Erica Whyman

Erica has been Chief Executive of Northern Stage in Newcastle Upon Tyne since 2005. She has overseen the opening of a completely redesigned new building, introduced a notably collaborative organisational culture and attracted local and national acclaim for the company's repertoire of work. Under her stewardship Northern Stage has become known for ambitious international partnerships (Northern Stage co-produced Lipsynch by Robert Lepage, which opened in Newcastle in 2007), the development of experimental new work especially by young theatre makers and for bold interpretations of modern classics (most recently Close The Coalhouse Door, directed by Samuel West in a new version by Lee Hall)

Erica is a theatre director with many years' experience all over the UK. For Northern Stage she has directed Son of Man; Ruby Moon; Our Friends in the North; A Christmas Carol; A Doll's House; Look Back in Anger; Hansel and Gretel, Oh What a Lovely War (nominated for two TMA awards), The Wind in the Willows, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (in co-production with Sheffield Theatres for which she was nominated for best director at the 2011 TMA awards), The Glass Slipper and the UK premiere of Oh, The Humanity (which re-opens in Edinburgh and then Soho Theatre in August/September 2012). Other work includes The Birthday Party (Sheffield Crucible); The Shadow of a Boy (National Theatre); The Flu Season, Marieluise, Witness and Les Justes (Gate Theatre); The Winter's Tale and The Glass Slipper (Southwark Playhouse).

Erica has a first class honours degree in French and Philosophy from Oxford. She trained in the theatre with Philippe Gaulier in Paris and then at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She was the recipient of the John S Cohen Bursary for directors at the National Theatre Studio and ETT, and later Associate Producer at the Tricycle Theatre and Associate Director at ETT. She was Artistic Director of Southwark Playhouse (1998-2000) and then Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill (2000-2004). At the Gate she ensured that the theatre paid its actors for the first time in 25 years, and inaugurated the UK's first award for translation. She was one of the first fellows of the Clore Leadership Programme and speaks regularly for Clore and other programmes especially on artists in leadership roles.

Northern Stage

Northern Stage is the North East of England's largest producing theatre, with three flexible stages and a diverse programme both of performances and opportunities to make and discover theatre. The company makes theatre for adults, children and across generations. Each year the company tours nationally with a major revival of a modern classic. Alongside its own productions Northern Stage has extensive partnerships with the best UK theatre makers including Kneehigh, Gecko, ETT, Headlong, Cheek By Jowl, Tim Crouch, Unlimited Theatre, Third Angel and Slunglow, ensuring their work is seen in the North East. Northern Stage runs an annual competition for daring new theatre, Title Pending, won this year by Leeds-based The Paper Birds and will open a new venue this summer at the Edinburgh Fringe, 'Northern Stage at St Stephens' to showcase contemporary theatre from across the North of England.

The RSC has collaborated with Northern Stage for more than 30 years as a key partner in its long-standing relationship with Newcastle theatres. In 2012, Northern Stage have been partners in the World Shakespeare Festival, re-creating dreamthinkspeaks' remarkable The Rest Is Silence and hosting the Tunisian company Artistes, Producteurs, Associes' interpretation of Macbeth; Leila and Ben, a bloody history.

Northern Stage is also one of ten cultural buildings (NGCV) engaged in extensive and groundbreaking collaboration across Newcastle Gateshead.

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