Stephen Joseph Theatre announces new chief executive

Stephen Freeman
Stephen Freeman

The new Chief Executive of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, is Stephen Freeman.

Stephen joins the SJT from Arts Council England, where he has been Relationship Manager Theatre since 2011, following five years as the General Manager at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. During that time he was also Festival Director for Pulse Festival, a showcase of new national and international work. Previously Stephen was producer for Stafford Festival Shakespeare and Artistic Programme Manager at the Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford.

He will take up his post at the SJT towards the end of July; new Artistic Director Paul Robinson joins the SJT on 1 June from London’s Theatre503.

Stephen said: “I am delighted to be joining the SJT, an organisation with a rich and prolific history of producing work with a national and international reputation. It’s a privilege to play a role in the life of this organisation that is much loved by artists and audiences alike. I’m also looking forward to calling Scarborough my home and making the most of its extraordinary setting.

“I believe organisations like the SJT have a vital role to play in connecting the local community and providing a resource for both residents and visitors. The arrival of Paul Robinson as Artistic Director marks a new chapter for the theatre and I welcome the exciting opportunity to help steer the theatre towards an even brighter and more vibrant future.”

Stephen will be succeeding the SJT’s interim Chief Executive, Mathew Russell. Mathew joined the SJT in June 2015 for an initial six-month contract, but has stayed in post to oversee a year of significant change, which has seen the development of a new vision, operating model and business plan.

Richard Grunwell, chair of the SJT Board, says: “I am delighted that the Board has appointed Stephen Freeman as our new Chief Executive. We have been really impressed by Stephen’s confidence in addressing a range of important strategic issues facing the SJT, practical experience in theatre management and the invaluable insight he offers into the 21st century British theatre ecology.

“I’d also like to thank Mathew Russell for everything he has achieved at SJT in the last year and for extending his time with us. The range of changes he has led is making a real difference to the SJT’s sustainability and future success.”