Outpouring of support for creative directors who led Maddermarket Theatre for last two years
09:48 09 March 2016
An outpouring of support has been shown for the creative duo who have led the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich for the past two years after it was revealed their contracts are not to be renewed.
As the venue’s joint creative directors, Stash Kirkbride and Peter Beck have overseen an ambitious revamp of the theatre and championed a diverse programme of shows, but they have now been told that their two-year contracts will not be renewed as the theatre plans to change its management structure and instead recruit a general manager and an artistic director.
Following the shock announcement, both of them spoke of how proud they were of their many achievements at the theatre. Mr Beck is currently directing the theatre’s March production, The Dresser, and Mr Kirkbride will be returning to direct the May production, The Vortex,
Many people have posted comments on our original online story and have taken to Facebook and Twitter to show their support for the pair.
On the Evening New website, Ray Brayddon said: “The work Mr Beck & Mr Kirkbride have done in a short time has been nothing short of miraculous.”
John Brown added: “They have given their complete energies to the theatre far beyond the hours their contracts ask of them for no extra remuneration than their love of theatre and to see the Maddermarket thrive.”
Meanwhile on Twitter Karl Minns (@karlminns), from comedy act The Nimmo Twins, said: “Dreadful decision at Norwich’s @Maddermarket to lose Peter Beck and Stash Kirkbride.”
Hayley Evenett (@hayleyevenett) said the theatre was “about to lose its two visionaries” and Rachel Lloyd (@RachelELloyd) described Facebook as being “full of confusion and sadness.”
There are more than 20 comments on the Maddermarket Theatre’s own Facebook page.
Among them, David Newham said: “Sad news. I hope there will be a future in which both men will play a part. I applaud their achievements over the past two years.”
Rachel Hall said: “I am lost for words about this decision. The last two years have seen the Maddermarket thrive. I have countless friends who now talk enthusiastically about going to the Maddermarket. The bar was transformed. Who was responsible for this success?? Peter Beck and Stash Kirkbride.”
Matthew Dartford said: “Really sad to hear this, both of them are top guys whose dedication and talent are clear. Best of luck to both.”
Christopher Neal said: “Sad news. I owe a lot to both of these guys. I’d not been at the Maddermarket long when they joined and they both gave me tremendous support and encouragement on my journey as an actor.”
As previously reported, Susan Seddon, chairman of the theatre’s board of trustees, has paid tribute to the work of Mr Beck and Mr Kirkbride, and said “their skills, energy and enthusiasm have given the theatre new momentum, as well as a smarter image.”
But she said the board had decided to change the management structure because the balance of the creative director partnership had changed over time. It was felt the theatre needed two full-time management roles and that there was a need for greater financial expertise on the staff. She said Mr Beck and Mr Kirkbride have both been told they are welcome apply for the new roles.
Do you have a Norfolk arts story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org