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Live Theatre appoints new Artistic Director

Live Theatre, Newcastle, one of the UK’s great new writing theatres, has appointed Joe Douglas as its new Artistic Director. Joe will start at the Newcastle Quayside based theatre in April 2018.

Joe is currently a freelance theatre director. After training in Directing at Rose Bruford College, he became a Trainee Director at the National Theatre of Scotland, and has directed plays for National Theatre of Scotland, Dundee Rep, where he was Associate Artistic Director, and productions that have toured extensively across Scotland. He is also Co-Artistic Director of new writing, touring company Utter.

Joe Douglas said:

"I have long admired Live Theatre - the reputation is mighty. Artistically and politically, I think we will fit each other well.  New writing is at the heart of my work and I look forward to connecting with audiences and artists in Newcastle and the wider region. I hope to build from the extraordinary legacy of Max Roberts and the exceptional writers that he has championed over so many years. I enjoy making work with and for young people, so the opportunity to help craft the Live Tales programmes is inspiring.  I just want folk to take their eyes off screens, pull a chair up in our theatre and experience a story that will change them a bit. I can't wait to get stuck in at Live Theatre and make the most scintillating new plays we possibly can.”

Joe’s highly acclaimed new production of John McGrath’s The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, for Dundee Rep also went on a sell out Scottish tour in 2016. His production of Death of a Salesman won three awards at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2017. Joe has also won four Fringe First awards for plays he has directed.

Jim Beirne, Chief Executive Live Theatre said:

“We are absolutely delighted at Joe Douglas’s appointment as Live Theatre’s new Artistic Director.  He currently has a five star reviewed show at the Lyceum in Edinburgh and has been a recipient of multiple awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  He will lead on Live Theatre’s artistic programme from April 2018, with Emeritus Director, and Visiting Professor at Sunderland University, Max Roberts.”

Live Theatre has an international reputation as a theatre for new work and new writing, with many of its plays touring nationally and internationally. In 2017 two of Live Theatre’s plays transferred to London’s West End, The Red Lion written by Patrick Marber and directed by Max Roberts, and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, written by Lee Hall, and co-produced with National Theatre of Scotland, which also received an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Live Theatre also increased the number of Live Tales creative story writing workshops offered each week for schools, and received an award from Virgin Money Foundation to increase these further in 2018 including at The Fire Station, Sunderland. Live Theatre finished the year with a sell-out run of its acclaimed play The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes.

About Joe Douglas

Joe Douglas is a freelance theatre director who has lived and worked predominantly in Scotland since 2007. He trained in Directing at Rose Bruford College (2003-2006), was Trainee Director at the National Theatre of Scotland (2007-8) and is Co-Artistic Director of new-writing, touring company Utter.

He was Associate Artistic Director of Dundee Rep (2016-17) where he directed the highly acclaimed new production of John McGrath’s The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, which went on to a sell out Scottish tour in 2016. At Dundee Rep he also directed Death of a Salesman (winner of Best Actor, Best Production and Best Ensemble at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2017), George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, Spoiling and The BFG.

Other work as director or co-director includes:  The Arabian Nights (Lyceum), The Red Shed (Mark Thomas), Stand By (Utter), Dr Stirlingshire’s Discovery (Lung Ha/Grid Iron), My Friend Selma (Terra Incognita), Letters Home - Details (Grid Iron/Edinburgh International Book Festival), Bloody Trams (Traverse/Utter), Dear Scotland, The Last Polar Bears, Our Teacher’s A Troll, Allotment (National Theatre of Scotland), Our House (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and numerous productions for Youth Music Theatre and A Play, A Pie & A Pint.  He was Associate Director on three international tours of Black Watch (National Theatre of Scotland).

He wrote and performed Educating Ronnie (Macrobert/Utter), which was nominated for the Royal National Theatre Foundation Award in 2013 and completed two national tours. 

He has won four Fringe First awards for Educating Ronnie (2012), Letters Home (2014), The Red Shed (2016) and Stand By (2017).  His production of Death of a Salesman won three awards at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2017.

Upcoming work includes Showtime from the Frontline (Mark Thomas with Theatre Royal Stratford East, UK Tour) and McGonagall’s Chronicles by Gary McNair (A Play, A Pie & A Pint, Dundee Rep and Traverse).

Joe Douglas

Find out more about the work of Joe Douglas who will be joining Live Theatre as Artistic Director from April 2018.

  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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