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King's Head Theatre - Adam Spreadbury-Maher appointed Artistic Director

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Story by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TODAY (March 2, 2010), Stephanie Sinclaire announced that she has appointed Adam Spreadbury-Maher as Artistic Director of the King’s Head Theatre. She will continue her role as Chief Executive.

Under Spreadbury-Maher’s leadership the King’s Head Theatre will be a full time in-house producing venue, as it was under founding Artistic Director Dan Crawford. His inaugural season will open in autumn 2010.

This year, 2010, is the 40th anniversary of Dan Crawford’s ground-breaking founding of the King’s Head Theatre. His inspirational energy and passion turned the theatre into London’s most successful Off-West End venue, with over 40 shows transferring to the West End, six to Broadway and eight touring nationally.

And some of the many artists who have appeared at the theatre include Kenneth Branagh, Imelda Staunton, Sam West and Tom Stoppard who described the King’s Head as “a pioneer of theatre”.

After Crawford’s untimely death in 2005, his partner and Associate Artistic Director Stephanie Sinclaire took the helm as Creative Director and Chief Executive to continue his legacy. In February 2010, she bought the freehold of the King’s Head and as a result, future plans now include building a second storey to increase capacity from 120 to 199. On the decision to appoint Adam Spreadbury-Maher, Sinclaire said:

“Five years ago the Kings Head Theatre was a Dante’s Inferno of grief, uncertainty and debt. Having left my film career to save the baby, in this case more like Rosemary’s Baby, I interviewed potential successors to Dan’s brilliant 35 year reign…Even if there was hope in the vision, the final hurdle of no wage and no producing budget always scuppered proceedings.

“So, taking the helm myself and forging forward where angels fear to tread – in true King’s Head style and with the support of the theatrical community, through sheer graft and a large dose of madness we rose from the ashes, set the ship aright and sailed towards the elusive goal of returning to full time producing.

“Many different producing models were attempted while hosting outside shows, including ‘slate funding’ from my film background. This was particularly successful, revitalising and exciting, re-establishing the King’s Head as an independent producing house, and leading to the production of some gems, such as Leonard Bernstein’s Peter Pan which transferred to America, and The Shadowmaster – now in development for a feature film, but finally not enduring as a realistic ongoing model.

“Last year, Adam Spreadbury-Maher won the Dan Crawford/Peter Brook Award (sponsored by Nica Burns and Cameron Mackintosh) for The Cock Tavern and on that basis we met. His passion, knowledge, commitment, sincerity, breadth of vision and ability to inspire reminded me immediately of Dan. He has the talent to match.

“Discussions to link our two theatres led to a bonfire of ideas and possibilities. The final clincher was Adam’s own producing model. Based on his concept of ‘super engagement’ it is a model after my own heart, born in collaboration and inspiration and visionary leadership. I had found the heir to Dan’s throne.

“Adam will now begin his own ‘mission impossible’, with my full support and I hope the entire theatrical community’s. The King’s Head, now under our full control, and with an ambitious expansion plan in the works, remains a glorious and special place with its unique atmosphere and special history.

“It is the place Berkoff called, ‘a sanctuary for every maverick in London’ and continues, as Tom Stoppard said, ‘to defy gravity’…A place where wings can be spread, risks can be taken, brilliant newcomers discovered and nurtured and diamond’s in the rough may become great jewels.

“Adam’s vision of new drama, edgy musicals and opera with young companies is very exciting and I believe his move to the King’s Head will revitalise the little magic theatre we all have loved as well as the theatrical scene at large.”

And Spreadbury-Maher said: “I am thrilled to be taking on the artistic directorship of the King’s Head. I identify so strongly with what it stands for. Its future prospects are very exciting and I am looking forward to leading the artistic development and growth of this historic theatre. It is an honour to carry on the legacy of the great theatrical pioneer, Dan Crawford, and I’ll seek to innovate, challenge and push theatre forward.”

Spreadbury-Maher will continue his current position as Artistic Director of theatre company Good Night Out Presents and opera company OperaUpClose; they will be resident producing companies at the King’s Head Theatre and remain the resident companies at The Cock Tavern Theatre.

The second transfer of Spreadbury-Maher’s acclaimed production of Studies for a Portrait will run at the King’s Head Theatre from March 30 to May 23, 2010.