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Director Theatres Trust

Channel your senior executive experience in championing and supporting theatres fit for the future, heralding a new era as the next Director of Theatres Trust, and propelling this public body into its next strategic phase as it fulfils its duty, representing theatres across the UK while shaping theatre policy at a national level.

  • Location: Hybrid / Charing Cross, London
  • Salary: £75,000
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 3rd July

Who we are.

Theatres Trust is the national public advisory public body for theatres. Since its establishment by an Act of Parliament in 1976, it has protected theatres and championed the future of live performance by advising and supporting the nation’s theatrical venues to develop best practices in design and management.

The Trust believes all people should have access to theatres wherever they live. Live performance venues play a vital role in local economies, community wellbeing, and placemaking, which needs to be protected. Their mission is to develop and safeguard theatres that will enrich the lives of generations to come through expert advice, building supportive networks, and advocating with local, regional, and national stakeholders.

The Trust has a considerable impact, the only public body dedicated to representing all theatres in the UK. They are positioned to advise and advocate for theatres on a national level, shaping government policy in the best interests of the arts sector.

Theatres Trust’s work is diverse, split across 4 key functions:

1. Advice and Consultation

The Trust is at the forefront of debate and best practice on the essential role of theatres within placemaking and the wider theatre ecology.

All theatres can receive the Trust’s advice free of charge on a huge array of problems and challenges – from public campaigns to reviving a theatre, fundraising, planning applications, architecture/design, and accessibility. Their advice is underpinned by a clear vision – the need for resilient, environmentally sustainable, and inclusive theatres for the good of all.

The Trust has a bank of specialist knowledge and practical experience that any theatre can access, having worked with all manner of theatres whether old or new, large auditoriums or intimate spaces, and commercial, subsidised, or community-run.

2. Advocacy and Casework 

The Trust acts as a guardian for theatres, a representative liaising with government bodies, local councils, funders, and local groups on behalf of its venues. An advocacy body, the Trust shapes policy at large, supports partnerships and collaborative projects between theatres and regional stakeholders.

Theatres Trust is the only body that is singularly focused on all theatre buildings, giving a credible platform to speak for the entire network of UK theatres.

As a statutory consultee in the planning system in the UK, the Trust scrutinises all theatre-related planning applications, advises on planning policy, safeguard cultural policies that protect theatres and supports plans to improve theatre buildings. Under the law, local planning authorities are required to consult the Trust on any planning application involving land on which there is a theatre.

3. Building Theatres’ Capacity 

The Trust’s casework and grants programmes reach theatres across the UK. They seek to grow their national impact whilst providing grants that embed resilience, sustainability, and inclusion in the Theatre Sector.

Through the ‘Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities’ programme, Theatres Trust offer capacity-building grants to fund strategic and organisational development, dedicated training and a bank of specialist consultants to provide mentoring, troubleshooting, and advice.

4. Protecting ‘At Risk’ Theatres 

Resilience is the primary objective of the Trust’s work across the next three years. Post-pandemic, theatres face various existential threats that could see more permanent closures.

The Trust’s ‘Theatres at Risk Register’ designates theatres in danger of closing as an impetus and catalyst for change through collaborative partnerships, local campaigns, and strategic design and implementation. They have successfully helped theatres across the country avoid demolition, closure, and administration as well as reopen once struggling theatres, lifting them to reach new audiences and talent.

About the role.

The Director will oversee a new era at the Trust, building from a strong position of influence, sense of purpose and expertise to grow the Trust’s impact, connecting the Trust to new funding streams, and increasing the Trust’s ability to influence on a national level.

Reporting to the Chair of the Trustees, the Director will lead the strategic work of the Trust – ensuring the development and implementation of its business strategy and monitoring success and progress. The Director will also stay abreast of political and cultural developments – seeking to better the position of the Trust as an effective advocate and change-maker. The Director voices a clear direction, articulating the board’s vision and strategic direction, ensuring the staff across the Trust operate with unified purpose.

As well as strategy and advocacy, the Director is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Theatres Trust. They manage the Trust’s engaged and skills-based team, overseeing financial budgeting and reporting, legal obligations, calendar of events and property portfolio. The Director leads the people and sets the culture, ensuring a positive working environment and that the Trust provides thorough training and developmental opportunities.

The incumbent will work alongside the board to ensure a diligent and responsible governance function – empowering Trustees to provide the relevant oversight and scrutiny the Trust’s multi-faceted work requires.

The Director is a public face of the Trust – a key representative in the media and press, growing the Trust’s profile as a spokesperson and advocate on a national stage, working with the Marketing and Communications Manager to oversee a coherent communications strategy that develops the Trust’s reach and reputation as the leading voice in the theatre space.

The Director also oversees the fundraising strategy for the Trust, which entails working with the Development Director reviewing funding applications and representing the Trust and its impact to potential funders.

See the Theatres Trust’s staffing structure here.

Who we are looking for.

Theatres Trust is looking for an executive leader skilled in influencing with a passion for the world of theatre.

A background in one of the following sectors is beneficial – theatre, cultural, architectural/building, community enterprise, sustainable environment and planning, heritage or advocacy. However, candidates from across other related industries would also be considered. Those with a working knowledge across a combination of the aforementioned areas are especially welcome.

As the leader of the Trust, experience in influencing and change-making is especially desirable as the Trust is seeking to grow its reputation and leverage with the government and national stakeholders. A passionate and proactive ambassador, the next Director will be able to excite others around the mission of Theatres Trust, sharing this vision with prospective fundraisers, and will be able to connect the Trust with alternative funding sources. They will be comfortable giving strategy and direction to fundraising.

A million-pound public body, the Trust requires an individual used to managing budgets and projects of a comparable scale that bring mutually beneficial outcomes to all stakeholders. They will also understand the operational and governance implications of leading a small charity.

The successful candidate will have an emotionally intelligent, people-focused leadership style with a keen understanding of leading effective and high-performing teams. An experienced manager, they will be able to assess team strengths, identify skills gaps, and enshrine development opportunities that empower the Trust’s team. They will recognise the skill and specialism of individual team members, championing and providing a platform for the recognition of such knowledge.

Adept at comms, excellent written and verbal communication are key. The new Director will engage with audiences at all levels – changing their tone and framing to match different audiences and specialists. This includes working with the media, theatre operators, politicians, architects, consultants and community groups, acting as an advocate and credible voice for the body.


For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Jonah Graham jonah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 756654

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Rebekah Abbott

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Welcome from the Chair

Thank you for your interest in the role of Director of the Theatres Trust.

We are the national public advisory body for theatres and a statutory consultee on theatres in the planning system established in 1976 as a DCMS arms-length body through an act of Parliament. Our role has developed to include helping and advising those who are working to preserve historic theatre buildings, those creating new theatres and those working to design and run theatres in more environmentally and financially sustainable ways in what is an increasingly challenging business environment. We fund our work through a combination of investment income, grants, charitable donations and earned income, and our work is delivered by a small, dedicated, skilled and knowledgeable team.

We are looking for a Director to build on the significant success we have seen under the current leadership supported by a board of committed, knowledgeable and engaged trustees. Given the range and nature of what we do and the way we deliver our work, we need a leader who can demonstrate clear strategic vision and leadership and has high-quality people skills, sound financial judgement and a strong commitment to public service. You will be equally comfortable working with our team on the delivery of complex projects, championing access and diversity in our work, speaking at national and international conferences or working with our legal advisors on complex legal matters. This is an exciting, varied and challenging role in which the right candidate will see the opportunity.

If this prospect excites you, then we look forward to hearing from you.

Dr Dave Moutrey OBE
Chair of Theatres Trust

About Theatres Trust

Our Vision

We believe people should have access to theatres wherever they live across the UK, in small communities, towns, or cities, so they can engage in creative activity and attend live performances.

Theatres have a positive role to play in placemaking, contributing to the local economy and people’s well-being, making our villages, towns and cities great places to live, work and visit.

Theatres are central to the continued health and vibrancy of the theatre sector which depends on well-designed and well-run theatres of all scales and styles across the country, nurturing talent, providing platforms and engaging with their diverse local communities.

In order to play this vital role in our communities and in the theatre sector, theatres need to be resilient, environmentally sustainable and inclusive.

Our Mission

Theatres Trust is the national advice and advocacy body for the UK’s theatres, supporting all forms of theatres, whether old or new, commercial, subsidised or community-run.

We protect theatres and champion the future of live performance by advising and supporting our nation’s theatres to develop best practice in design and management following the four principles of resilience, environmental sustainability, inclusivity and placemaking.

Theatres Fit For The Future

The Trust has evolved its mission from a protector of theatres to creating, safeguarding, and championing “Theatres fit for the future”. The Trust ensures the long-term resilience and viability of theatres. They increasingly:

  • Value theatres as facilitators of human connection.
  • Prioritise advocacy and casework on theatres that either are in or have the potential to return to live performance use.
  • Recognise that the best way to protect theatres is to ensure they are well-designed and well-run.
  • Engage more with theatre management and the wider theatre sector.
  • Position themselves as a ‘critical friend’ who can advise in the early stages of capital projects.

Our Impact

We are the proud benefactors of theatres from across the country. Two cases that highlight the reach and importance of the Trust’s casework are the Walthamstow Granada and Liverpool Royal Court Theatre.

Walthamstow Granada

Built as a ciné-variety theatre in 1930, the Grade II* Walthamstow Granada has also been a live music venue, hosting the Beatles and the Stones in the 1960s, before a prolonged period as a cinema.

Theatres Trust’s involvement with the building began in 2003 when it closed as a cinema and an application was tendered to convert the cinema into a church. The Trust worked with residents to object to the transition, and with the support of the London Borough of Waltham Forest, the change of use application was refused.

By 2014, the Theatre’s auditorium and stage house deteriorated and was added to the Trust’s Theatres at Risk Register. Working with the Trust, Walthamstow council carried out an extensive study into the economic dimensions of the Theatre before pledging a restoration and reopening of the venue in March 2018. In 2019, Soho Theatre was named as an operator and was awarded a grant of £9,500 from the Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme to support business planning, in particular, the alignment between the business plan and building project.

Theatres Trust continues to be involved in the project through planning proposals and listed building consents, ensuring that the balance between the restoration of the historic elements and the viability of the theatre facility is maintained. The Theatre is scheduled to open its doors in 2025 after £30 million of redevelopment.

Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre

Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre is an art deco-style, Grade II listed building that has been at the heart of the city’s culture for nearly 200 years. By 2009, the Theatre was in extremely poor repair and needed a major capital project to allow it to continue to operate and expand its facilities and reach.

Theatres Trust was involved from the start of the project by advising on charity arrangements, business planning and helping secure a long-term lease on the Theatre. They also gave guidance and advice on tendering for architects and planning as well as provided letters of support to help with fundraising.

The £7.2m capital project was split into three phases. The Trust supported the Theatre with grants for a safety curtain and a hearing loop in the first two phases of the project before going on to provide more in-depth support in the final phase.

Leading an advisory review for Liverpool’s Royal Court, the third part of the capital project focussed on architectural and operational issues and environmental and construction matters that led to improvement in the front-of-house public facilities and back-of-house areas, including improved accessibility throughout. The review report was also used to inform the Royal Court’s submission for a second phase of Arts Council England funding.

Since then, the Theatre has gone from strength to strength and, in 2018, was awarded National Portfolio Organisation status from Arts Council England.

You can see more examples of our work here.

Accessibility information

We know that applying for a job is a two-way process. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the role and organisation before you submit your application, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners. We want to make the recruitment process as inclusive and accessible as we can and provide an opportunity for all candidates to show their strengths. If there is more we can do, or if you have particular accessibility needs, we would be happy to provide any further support you may require.

Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted.

We encourage applications from people of colour, LGBTQ+ people (we are a trans-inclusive organisation), people with disabilities, and people who have experienced other exclusion or marginalisation.

Further information:

Theatres Trust operates an informal flexi-time system, with the core hours for full-time staff being 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required, with as much notice as possible. There is no overtime provision, but the Trust operates a time off in lieu (TOIL) system. We offer reimbursement for eyesight tests as well as occupational health assessments where appropriate to log and enable any changes in working arrangements for staff.

A new EDI staff working group has been created for 2024 to review internal practices and staff culture within the organisation across our small team of 12.


Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

For further information or to organise a conversation, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Jonah Graham jonah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 756654

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    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Job Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application: Theatres Trust – Director” into the subject field. You will receive an acknowledgement on receipt of your application within 2-3 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please make contact with our admin team.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

    Jonah Graham jonah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 756654

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

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    Timetable

    Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 3rd July 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Tuesday 9th July 2024
    First stage interviews (virtual): Friday 12th and Monday 15th July 2024
    Second stage interviews (in person): Tuesday 23rd July 2024


    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Theatres Trust are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.


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