Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre appoints new Theatre Director

Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is excited to announce that Joanna Read has been appointed as the venue’s Chief Executive and Theatre Director.

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Chairman, Julian Bird said: “From a list of outstanding applicants, Joanna shone through with her experience, her knowledge of the sector, her passion for regional theatre and her vision for Guildford’s historic theatre. We are thrilled she is joining the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre to take it forward into the future.”

Joanna Read said: “I am excited to be returning full time to theatre again and to leading the Yvonne Arnaud. I look forward to working with the staff and audiences there, ensuring this tremendous theatre continues to thrive and to developing an engaging and exciting programme of work for its audience.”

Joanna is currently Principal and Chief Executive of LAMDA, The London Academy of Dramatic Arts. A theatre director by profession, Joanna took up the position at LAMDA in 2010 with a brief to raise the international artistic and education profile of the Academy.

Before LAMDA, Joanna was Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse. Under her leadership, the Playhouse became one of the leading regional producing theatres of the last decade.

Joanna is currently a board member of the Regional Theatre Young Directors, President of Guildford Shakespeare Company and external Examiner for the LIR Theatre Academy, Trinity College Dublin.

Previous roles include Associate Director of the Octagon Theatre Bolton and Head of Education and Participation for Birmingham Rep.

Joanna has worked as a freelance director and writer for Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the Young Vic London, the New Vic Theatre Newcastle Under Lyme, The Watermill West Berkshire Playhouse, The Mill at Sonning and the Watford Palace Theatre, amongst others.

The team at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre looks forward to welcoming Joanna to the Theatre in a full-time capacity from January 2019.

Joanna Read’s Biography 

Joanna is Principal and Chief Executive of LAMDA, The London Academy of Dramatic Arts. A theatre director by profession and previously Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse, Joanna took up the position at LAMDA in July 2010 with a brief to raise the international artistic and education profile of the Academy. Under her leadership the organisation embarked upon a successful £28.2million capital programme to build 10 rehearsals studios, two theatres and a TV suite for LAMDA, which was completed in summer 2017.

She has developed international relationships for the academy, increased the touring work of the school, forging relationships with City College New York, Harlem School of Arts, UCLA, Moscow Arts Theatre School amongst others. Joanna was instrumental in shaping and launching the Virtual Conservatoire, a cross arts collaborative digital workspace.

Before LAMDA she was Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse. Under her leadership, the Playhouse became one of the leading regional producing theatres of the last decade. She is currently a board member of the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme (an Arts Council of England, NPO Sector Support Agency), President of Guildford Shakespeare Company and external Examiner for the LIR Theatre Academy, Trinity College Dublin.

Previous roles include Associate Director of the Octagon Theatre Bolton and Head of Education and Participation for Birmingham Rep, where she created a successful and wide-ranging education and outreach strategy, as well as commissioning and directing new writing including work by Debbie Isitt, Richard Cameron. Joanna has worked as a freelance director and writer for Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the Young Vic London, the New Vic Theatre Newcastle Under Lyme, The Watermill West Berkshire Playhouse, The Mill at Sonning and the Watford Palace Theatre, amongst others.

She has written seven pantomimes for Salisbury Playhouse, as well as Cinderella and Aladdin for Watford Palace Theatre and the book for the musical Two Cities by Howard Goodall.  She won a Theatrical Management Association Award for her production of The Hired Man at Salisbury Playhouse and the Olwen Wymark Award from the Writers Guild of Great Britain for her work nurturing new writing at LAMDA and elsewhere. Her adaptation and direction of The War of The Worlds for live performance on Resonance FM Radio and the Broadcast 2008 Festival was nominated Culture Award North East.

Joanna Read photo: credit Sam Taylor

For any further information, please contact Laura Butler in the Yvonne Arnaud Press Office on 01483 440077 or via email lbutler@yvonne-arnaud.co.uk

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