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Watermill Theatre announces the appointment of four new Associate Directors

Theatre news

THE Watermill Theatre has announced the appointment of four new Associate Directors as part of its Associate Artist Programme. The four emerging directors have been selected to work with the producing theatre to develop their skills and build experience as they embark on the next phase of their careers.

Under the guidance of Artistic Director Paul Hart, each will take on roles ranging from Assistant Directorships to fully directing productions, all with the aim of nurturing their talents and extending their knowledge. These new appointments are a part of The Watermill’s continued commitment to supporting emerging theatre-makers and nurturing the talent of the future.

The directors selected are Lucy Betts, Robert Kirby, Sara Aniqah Malik and Georgie Staight. Three out of the four directors have already worked with The Watermill in various capacities – Robert Kirby was Associate Director on the theatre’s national tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth and will continue this role for the upcoming London transfer to Wilton’s Music Hall. He also recently directed A Mini Summer Night’s Dream for the theatre.

Lucy Betts was Associate Director of the recent summer musical Kiss Me, Kate, which received rave reviews including a five star recommendation by The Times. Georgie Staight directed the community project D-Day 75 and will direct the upcoming rural tour of Camp Albion. Sara Aniqah Malik is new to the theatre having been an assistant director at The Gate Theatre. Her play Salaam, which she also directed, received its premiere at The Vault Festival earlier this year.

Artistic and Executive Director Paul Hart says: “Lucy, Robert, Sara and Georgie are all young directors who are already making waves and for whom we want The Watermill to be a home – providing a place for them to develop and extend their talents. We are passionate about developing our relationships with directors from assistant level, right through to directing the work we stage on our rural and schools tours as well as in The Watermill itself.

“This small network of directors will build upon their relationship with The Watermill whilst having a space to discuss and learn from their experience here and from one another. Our objective is to support them on their respective paths and to further our commitment to nurturing new talent.”

The Watermill’s Associate Artist Programme has a focused approach to both talent development and excellence in areas such as directing, choreography, orchestration and set design. The theatre’s current associate artists include Sarah Travis, Caroline Sheen, Barney Norris, Tom Jackson Greaves, David Gregory, Tarek Merchant, Katie Lias, Sophie Stone and Abigail Pickard Price. Wildcard are Associate Company and Danielle Pearson is currently playwright-in-residence.

Previously, The Watermill has played a part in developing the careers of many acclaimed directors including Edward Hall, Jonathan Munby, Tim Sheader and Jessica Swale.

In addition to its work on the Associate Artist Programme, over the past year the theatre has given opportunities to 26 recent actor graduates and four emerging directors, with a focus on working with diverse talent. Thanks to dedicated funding from the Andrew Lloyd-Webber foundation, it has also been able to provide an opportunity for a Trainee Stage Management and Production Assistant to work alongside the professional team.

The Watermill continues to prioritise gender equal casting throughout its programme, as exemplified by the 50/50 gender split in all of its recent Shakespeare productions.

The Watermill Theatre has developed a reputation as one of Britain’s leading regional theatres. From its beautiful home in a small Berkshire village, work has been created that is admired around the world. Last year 67,740 people attended shows or one-off events at The Watermill, where new productions are staged annually, ranging from Shakespeare and musicals to classics, new plays and youth theatre productions. The Watermill tours regularly across the UK as well as rural touring productions, which play in village halls and small arts centres in the South.

Recent and upcoming tours and London transfers have included A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth (National Tour), One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (Jermyn Street Theatre), Amélie (National Tour), Twelfth Night (Wilton’s Music Hall), Burke and Hare (Jermyn Street Theatre), Trial By Laughter (National Tour), Teddy (National Tour and The Vaults), Crazy For You (National Tour), The Wipers Times (West End and Tour), Loot (Park Theatre), Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet (International Tours), Murder For Two (The Other Palace) and Frankenstein (Wilton’s Music Hall).

For more information or to book tickets for productions, call the box office on 01635 46044 or visit www.watermill.org.uk/.