Traverse Theatre announces new artistic leadership team and board appointments

Traverse Theatre announces new artistic leadership team and board appointments

The Traverse Theatre announces the successful candidates who will join the organisation’s artistic and producing team following an extensive recruitment process.

THE TRAVERSE THEATRE ANNOUNCES NEW ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP TEAM, BOARD APPOINTMENTS AND BOARD OPPORTUNITIES AS IT ENTERS ITS NEXT CHAPTER AHEAD OF 60th ANNIVERSARY IN 2023.

• Artistic leadership team includes Gareth Nicholls and Debbie Hannan as Co-Artistic Directors, Traverse Theatre Company; Lesley Anne Rose as Director of Creative Development and Sunniva Ramsay as Senior Producer, Creative Development

• Independent film producer Rebecca O’Brien, writer Kieran Hurley and stage director Bryony Shanahan join the Board

• Applications for new Board positions to further advise on the organisation’s digital work and artistic and audience diversity to be advertised shortly

The Traverse Theatre today announces the successful candidates who will join the organisation’s artistic and producing team following an extensive recruitment process. The appointments form part of a new leadership structure to evolve the organisation’s position as a leading voice for the arts in Scotland and beyond.

Gareth Nicholls – previously the organisation’s Associate Director and Interim Artistic Director – becomes Co-Artistic Director of the Traverse Theatre Company, in partnership with director Debbie Hannan, who was born and raised in Edinburgh and joins the organisation fresh from her recent success directing the National Theatre of Scotland’s acclaimed stage adaptation of Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon.

Lesley Anne Rose will join the Traverse as Director of Creative Development, working with both Gareth and Debbie to develop new pathways for the most exciting new voices in Scotland and further afield, to create crucial and exciting new work for the Traverse’s stages. Alongside this position, she will continue her work as an appointed Embedded Artist working with Creative Carbon Scotland and Climate Ready Clyde.

Lesley Anne will be supported in her role as Director of Creative Development by Sunniva Ramsay – currently the Traverse’s Creative Producer – as Senior Producer, Creative Development. Eleanor White – currently the organisation’s Literary Assistant – becomes Literary Associate.

The new team members will be active in their positions from early 2020.

Alongside these new leadership positions, the Traverse is thrilled to introduce its three newest Board members – Rebecca O’Brien, who has enjoyed a successful career as an independent film producer who has worked on many of Ken Loach’s acclaimed films; award-winning writer and theatremaker Kieran Hurley, who wrote the Traverse’s recent smash hit production of Mouthpiece and the British Independent Film Award nominee BEATS; and Bryony Shanahan, Joint Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

They join current board members former Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Parliament and Chairman of Edinburgh Airport Sir John Elvidge (Chair); Sponsorship and Development Director of the Edinburgh International Festival Christopher Wynn; Arts Consultant Morag Ballantyne; Director and Chief Executive of Manchester’s HOME and Director of Culture for Manchester City Council Dave Moutrey; Blackadders’ Legal Partner (specializing in Employment Law) Donna Reynolds; and former president of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Myriam Madden.

The Traverse will also open applications early in 2020 for additional board positions to provide additional support and consultation in evolving the organisation’s work in the areas of digital, artistic and audience diversity. More details of this recruitment will be forthcoming.

Linda Crooks, Executive Producer says:

“The Traverse Theatre is absolutely delighted to welcome such exciting new additions to our leadership team. Gareth, Debbie and Lesley Anne will join a passionate, talented and driven team and help propel us into the next phase of our evolution, representing new voices and stories on stage and reaching new eyes and ears in audiences. We look forward to the innovative, important and entertaining work we know they will discover, develop and present in collaboration with the other members of the artistic and producing team.

We are additionally thrilled to have such inspiring new Board members in Rebecca O’Brien, Kieran Hurley and Bryony Shanahan. They join us at a pivotal moment and their collective insight, experience and counsel will be crucial in supporting the wider team in achieving its many ambitions in upcoming years.”


Sir John Elvidge, Chair of the Traverse Theatre Board says:

“This is an important and extremely exciting moment for the Traverse, as it moves forward with a more dynamic and sustainable business model to better realise its vision to deliver excellent and challenging work to audiences at home and across the world. These additions to the leadership team and Board speak to the organisation’s ambitions to nurture stories from unheard voices and continue to break new ground with the plays we produce.

We welcome our new colleagues and the valuable contributions they will make in widening the Traverse’s engagement with artists and audiences beyond our building’s walls. Together we will continue to break down barriers and boundaries in everything we do. Sharing stories and experiences may never have been so important as they are now, and we are eager to represent as many of them as we can to curious and enthusiastic audiences.”


Gareth Nicholls says:

“It’s a thrilling time to be at the Traverse and I’m honored to be continuing my work here alongside Debbie, Lesley Anne and the rest of the brilliant team at the Traverse. Scotland is blessed with an abundance of passionate writers telling vital stories and I’m looking forward to working with them to create entertaining, dynamic and ambitious new work that places audiences at their heart. I can’t wait to get started.”

Debbie Hannon says:

"I am thrilled to be returning to my home-town to join such a brilliant and ambitious team who are transforming theatre from the inside out. The Traverse’s adventurous and inherently democratic mission to deliver new stories and expand their audiences encourages a widening where the world is currently narrowing: it is rooted in the kind of radicalism that Scotland does best – bold, brilliant, inclusive, in a voice of our own.

I first came to the Traverse as a local kid on a school trip, and heard working class characters speaking in my accent on stage for the first time. I knew then that my voice was valid, that the stage wasn’t an exclusive space. We will bring this experience to a whole new range of people, as we go beyond the building to expand who tells and experiences our stories."


Lesley Anne Rose says:

“It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be joining the Traverse at such a pivotal and exciting time for the organisation. The Traverse offered me my first job in Scottish theatre when I moved here ten years ago and forms an important and formative part of my past. I look forward to being part of its future and discovering the as yet unknown voices and untold stories which will be brought to vibrant life on its Edinburgh stages and far beyond.”

Last Updated: 13 November 2019 10:14

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