Meet the Board: Stephanie Sirr

Meet the Board: Stephanie Sirr

Date Published: 05 July 2018

UK Theatre’s vision is to see a well-connected and well-supported theatre sector at the heart of UK life, and our Board is vital in helping us achieve this.

The Board help to steer and advise on our work – from how to future proof and diversify our workforce, to exploring new models of funding and income generation, to supporting the health of touring and the regional producing and presenting model.

In our new “Meet the Board” blog series, you’ll get to know our Board members better and find out why they choose to volunteer their time and expertise to UK Theatre on behalf of the industry.

We begin our series with Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse...

Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive at Nottingham Playhouse. Creative by Wren
Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive at Nottingham Playhouse. Creative by Wren

Stephanie has been on the UK Theatre Board since 2015 and recently successfully stood for re-election. What motivated her to do so and what does she hope to bring to the role?

"In increasingly challenging times the need for UK Theatre to be an effective force for our industry with real clout has never been greater.  The organisation’s campaigning and guidance (for example for Theatre Tax Credit and swift response to #metoo) has never been more needed and I am proud to continue to support this great work as a Board member.  

With 24 years’ experience of running theatres and a further 4 years’ experience of programming theatres, I’ve got a good sense of the issues affecting our industry. My career includes stints as a Stage Manager in rep (still the hardest job I’ve ever done), an actress, theatre critic, court reporter and comedy club compere – all of which experience I use in my day to day job more than you might expect!

I’ve worked on all scales from a small-scale arts centre to a 1500 seat SOLT venue. I have run the Merlin Theatre, Frome, Blackpool Grand Theatre and for the past 17 years Nottingham Playhouse covering small scale touring, middle scale presenting and running a producing house.

At Nottingham Playhouse, I work with subsidised and commercial theatre and all points in between. And as an organisation that regularly tours its work nationally and internationally and transfers productions to the West End, I understand the distinct, often really considerable, challenges this brings. 

Nottingham Playhouse is a founder member of both Eclipse consortium and Ramps on the Moon, original examples of accessibility and inclusion that should be at the core of contemporary arts management.   

I’m also Vice Chair of Parents and Carers in Performing Arts, which UK Theatre supports and which is helping our industry to reframe its employment practices.  I’m also a founding director of both Dance Touring Partnership and Ticketing Network East Midlands.  

At a local level I sit on the ONE Nottingham Board and am Vice Chair of Nottingham Cultural Partnership so I can bring that experience of Local Government and Area partnerships to my work with UK Theatre. 

I’m also director of  Nottingham City of Literature - a role which has really shone a light on the essential role the arts plays in literacy and educational attainment, something that I also hope to champion as an Ambassador for Inspiring Future Theatre.

Our sector is delivering so much, in difficult circumstances and to such a diverse range of people.  UK Theatre is helping to underline that value to Government and further afield through their advocacy and campaigning. This is essential work and I’m looking forward to continuing to help to bang that drum!

I’m really proud to be a member of the UK Theatre Board at a time when so much positive change has continued to be made by the organisation.  The work of UK Theatre is vital and I am delighted to have been re-elected to The Board so that I can continue to help the executive to push that work forward."

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See who else is on the UK Theatre Board here.

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"UK Theatre" is the operating name of UK Theatre Association, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, whose registered office is at 32 Rose Street, London, WC2E 9ET, Company No 323204.