New chief executive is excited for Norwich Theatre Royal’s next chapter
- Credit: supplied by Norwich Theatre Royal
Championing the Theatre Royal's new Stage Two centre and building on the theatre's 'hugely enviable' programme of shows are among the priorities for new chief executive Stephen Crocker when he takes over in January.
Mr Crocker, 35, is to succeed outgoing chief executive Peter Wilson, who is leaving after 25 years in December, and on a visit to Norwich yesterday he said he was excited about leading the theatre through its next chapter and flying the flag for the city and county as a leading centre for culture.
'What an exciting prospect to come into a theatre that is so loved by people in Norwich and Norfolk, that is thriving, has a phenomenal programme already in place, and a real privilege to build on the legacy of a theatre legend like Peter Wilson,' said Mr Crocker, currently deputy chief executive of The Lowry, a major arts venue in the north-west of England.
The theatre recently opened Stage Two, a £3m learning and participation centre, and Mr Crocker said developing this for the future would be a key focus.
'I think the enormous potential within that facility to do some incredible work, and have really significant impact on young people, on communities here in the city and the county, is extraordinary... I feel it's completely unparalleled in the UK to have such a quality facility that is literally 20 paces from the centre of the main stage,' he said.
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On the theatre's main stage, Mr Crocker wants to continue to see a programme that is 'commercially viable yet artistically challenging.'
'I think Peter has established a hugely enviable theatre programme and what I absolutely love, and I think characterises a thriving theatre, is where you have that balance and that range and breadth and quality of programme.'
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He said Norfolk was blessed with a thriving number of arts organisations and venues, and that he was keen for the Theatre Royal to continue working together with others around the county.
'One of my first priorities for January will be getting out and meeting all of those communities and audiences,' he said.
Mr Crocker will be moving to Norwich's Golden Triangle with his partner Michael Travers in December, and said he was enjoying learning more about the city he will soon call home.
'What I love about Norwich is the way in which it is an ancient city with a modern outlook,' he said.
'Just standing outside the Forum looking towards the historic Guildhall, the war period architecture of the City Hall, the modern architecture of the Forum, the way the city comes together just gives it a really unique buzz.'