Who’s Who

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Nigel Fletcher (Chair)

Nas Asghar

Lucy Cuthbertson

Sophie Hamlet

Christopher Hogben

Gerald Lidstone

Catherine Nolan

Nareem Rehman

David Stanley

PATRONS

Dame Helen Mirren
Lucy Bailey
Ali Smith

GREENWICH ANGEL SUPPORTERS

Arnold Lord, Guardian Angel

Cris Amankwah, Freelance Fundraising Support

Meet The Team

James Haddrell

Artistic Director

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, JAMES HADDRELL

JamesHaddrell GreenwichTheatre Artistic DirectorWhat’s your connection to theatre and where you’ve worked to build the skills, experience and expertise that you currently have?

“I’ve worked at Greenwich Theatre, in various roles, since 2001. I started as Press Officer and then Marketing Manager before taking over first as Executive Director in 2007 and then becoming Artistic & Executive Director a few years later as we developed our in-house production and co-production plans. Now, as part of a recent company restructure, I run the company as Artistic Director alongside our Executive Director, Simon Francis.

Before coming to Greenwich I worked at the Warehouse Theatre in Croydon as Marketing Manager, and alongside my role here I direct, produce and project manage a range of arts and culture projects, including producing the national tour of Skin In The Game (Winner: Best Performance, Birmingham Fringe) and directing for St Marys University in Twickenham and Global Fusion Music & Arts here in Greenwich. I am currently developing a new musical theatre concept for children, blending stage performance, radio broadcast and graphic novel production, with grant support from Arts Council England.

I teach drama in primary, secondary and undergraduate settings and I am a regular industry panellist for a range of initiatives, including the annual Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Scheme. I have worked as an official mentor for UK Theatre and have written for The Stage Newspaper, the Chambers Encyclopaedia of Modern Theatre and continue to write weekly for the South London Press.”

What does your role at Greenwich Theatre involve?

“Greenwich Theatre is a very special place, and leading the company here for over a decade has proved to be an astonishing experience. Getting the chance to support so many early career artists, to welcome so many children to their first ever theatre experience (and then see them come back again and again), to steer the programming for a venue that serves such a wide audience, and to work both with new playwrights and with some of the country’s most respected writers, from Caryl Churchill to Michael Frayn – I count myself very lucky to be a part of Greenwich Theatre.”

Favourite live performance you’ve ever seen?

“Elephant by Dodgy Clutch in association with the Market Theatre, Johannesburg (which we were lucky enough to bring here to Greenwich), Jessica Lange and Ed Stoppard in The Glass Menagerie in the West End, A Clockwork Orange by Action To The Word and Puddles Pity Party at the Edinburgh Fringe.”

Any fun hobbies? 

“With two young children and running a theatre I haven’t got much time left over!”

Taylor Jay

Marketing Manager

Taylor Jay, Marketing Manager

Brad Tutt

Administrator & Projects Manager

Administrator & Projects Manager, Brad Tutt

What’s your connection to theatre and where you’ve worked to build the skills, experience and expertise that you currently have?

“I’ve loved theatre all my life, studied Drama, Theatre and Performance at Roehampton University, and have a huge interest in plays and new writing. I’ve been at Greenwich Theatre since March 2018.”

“The Front of House/Bar at The Other Palace showed me how a professional theatre is structured and ran from the other side. The management there showed and taught me a lot. It introduced me to the great work that touring companies and regional theatres do. Working the Chelsea Theatre taught me how theatre ties with community and its audiences (it literally being a part of a community centre in an estate). And here! Every day I feel like I’m learning more about production, building management and theatre’s importance to its audiences.”

What’s the best about working at Greenwich Theatre?

“Every day is different! The diversity of shows we have here and number of companies that visit and that we support keeps it interesting and creatively rewarding!”

Aeron Jackson

Technical Manager (Maternity Cover)

TECHNICAL MANAGER, Aeron Jackson

Caz Hampton

Technical Manager (Maternity Leave)

TECHNICAL MANAGER, Caz Hampton

What’s your connection to theatre?

“I have always been involved with theatre from a young age in Pantos and then getting onto a technical course and then studying stage management at university.”

How long have you been working at Greenwich Theatre?

“Formally, it will be 2 years in Feb (joined two weeks before lockdown eep!) but I have been a casual for the theatre for just over 8 years.”

How and where have you built the skills, experience and expertise that you currently have?

“Throughout university I was working in various performance areas…like opera, comedy and circus. This helped improve my adaptability skills. I worked at White Light as a site technician which is where I built my lighting and audio skills along various live events (corporate events, London Fashion Week, Brand Launch events, Royal charity functions, Christmas lighting displays, Film and TV work).  My roles at Greenwich Theatre as a casual built my experience as I already know the building and its history has set me up for my role here!”

Name one good thing about working at Greenwich Theatre and why.

“I adore the Pantos that Greenwich produce and I love being part of that process.”

Jamie Grant

Resident Technician

RESIDENT TECHNICIAN, Jamie Grant

ARTISTIC VISION

In her Guardian column, Lyn Gardner wrote “The artists of tomorrow are not made through funding an elite, but by funding at the bottom of the pyramid… We need to work at the roots. If we don’t, we will end up with the top of the pyramid and nothing beneath.”

At Greenwich Theatre we work to support just that – the grass roots of new theatre creation. Companies like Filament (“the future of new British musical theatre writing” whatsonstage) and Idle Motion (“a brilliant emerging company” The Guardian) are supported in their development as companies, as producers, as theatre makers through their working relationship with us.

Some companies use Greenwich Theatre as a home, using the office, rehearsal space, performance space; some companies use us as an artistic sounding board and an outside eye in rehearsal; some use us as an industry mentor, taking guidance on everything from prop-buying to touring strategy. All are enhanced by their relationship with Greenwich Theatre.

That ethos runs throughout our work, whether it means casting exceptional graduate performers in our Christmas show, creating showcase moments for young companies as part of the Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival, co-producing with emerging companies to enable them to tour, or ensuring that the seasonal programme here at Greenwich Theatre features a number of high profile performances by emerging companies.

CHILDREN’S THEATRE

Theatre for young audiences is a huge part of our work at Greenwich Theatre. In 2008 with support from Royal Greenwich and the Docklands Light Railway we launched the Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival with 10 performances across 2 venues. In 2014 the festival included more than 70 performances and participatory activities across 8 venues and open spaces.

With up to twenty companies currently working with us as an associate, supported or developing companies, many are working to create a new theatre for young audiences and our annual programme on stage includes a high-percentage of family work. We have also developed a pop-up performance space which exclusively hosts performance for young children. In all work for children, we are committed to adhering to the national Family Arts Standards.

GREENWICH THEATRE ON TOUR

Greenwich Theatre is one of London finest off-West End theatres, but the company is far more than the building. Our belief in pursuing excellence in theatre and supporting emerging work transcends the bricks and mortar of our building, so whether we are offering mentoring support to a new company, creating a new piece of theatre on a boat or curating a borough-wide festival, our ethos is the same. This has now developed further with the launch of Greenwich Theatre On Tour, a programme of work which has seen us work with emerging companies to co-produce theatre at a range of national and international venues, with performances in London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Dublin, Madrid and New York in the last two years.

Traditional Beginnings

The history of Greenwich Theatre is firmly anchored in the traditions of English live entertainment beginning just over 150 years ago when John Green established the Rose and Crown Music Hall on our modern day Crooms Hill site. In 1871 new owner Charles Crowder refurbished the venue and re-opened it as Crowders Music Hall. Despite prosecution the following year for the unlawful performance of stage plays’, resulting in a fine of one shilling, Crowder continued to offer a rich mixture of burlesque, concert and ballet acts every evening. The following years saw more rapid change, with the Theatre becoming known as the Temple of Varieties, then the Royal Borough of Varieties, before being rebuilt to the designs of John George Buckle and dubbed the Parthenon Theatre of Varieties. Buckle’s Nevada Street façade can still be seen today, now located at the side of the Theatre.

In about 1902 Samuel and Daniel Barnard took over, relocating the entrance to Crooms Hill, and following further management changes the Theatre became the Greenwich Hippodrome Picture Palace showing a mixed bill of film and live performance.

When the Theatre lost its license for live performance in 1924 it restricted its operation to screening films, but the next major change came during the Second World War when an incendiary bomb crashed through the roof into the auditorium. From this point, the Theatre was closed and remained empty.

1969 and a New Start

Greenwich Council bought the site for demolition in 1962 but agreed to support the idea of a new theatre if there was enough local enthusiasm to justify it. Ewan Hooper, a local actor and director, accepted the challenge of rallying support. Local councils, the Arts Council and the GLC were all generous in their contributions, but it is notable that half the cost of the new theatre came from local individuals and businesses.

On 21st October 1969 the theatre re-opened with Martin Luther King, a new piece of musical theatre written by Ewan Hooper. Over the next 28 years, Greenwich Theatre produced a body of work of astonishing quality and variety under the artistic directorship first of Ewan Hooper and subsequently of Alan Strachan, Sue Dunderdale and Matthew Francis.

The first few years saw Mia Farrow and Charles Dance in Chekhov’s Three Sisters, Glenda Jackson, Susannah York and Vivien Marchant in Genet’s The Maids, the premiere of John Mortimer’s A Voyage Round My Father and a star studded season directed by Jonathan Miller. Developing a long standing association with the Theatre, Max Wall memorably starred in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker. By 1997 the Theatre had seen several West End transfers including Alan Ayckbourn’s Intimate Exchanges, Noel Coward’s Private Lives, Michael Frayn’s Three Sisters and John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi.

After a period of closure in the late 90s, Greenwich Theatre reopened in 1999 under new director Hilary Strong.

A New Millennium and a New Start

The modern era saw a return to producing with Clive Rowe starring in Paul Ryan and Peter Readman’s Sadly Solo Joe, a new musical which subsequently transferred to the International Festival of Musical Theatre in Cardiff. In summer 2003, to great acclaim, we revived Golden Boy, an American musical not seen in London since Sammy Davis Jnr played the starring role at the London Palladium in 1969, and in 2005 we presented the world premiere of Arnold Wesker’s Longitude.

In 2007 James Haddrell became director of the theatre, reimagining the theatre as you see it today. The theatre’s work with young and emerging artists has grown rapidly and the company now runs a hugely oversubscribed artist development programme, supporting young or new companies as they grow and evolve. The theatre also presents the annual Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival every Easter, and embarked on an annual summer show tradition with an outdoor show which was awarded a London 2012 Inspire Mark.

The company’s in-house producing has also increased dramatically. A partnership with new film company Stage on Screen led to the production of four classic dramas – Doctor FaustusThe School For ScandalThe Duchess of Malfi and Volpone – all of which are now selling internationally on DVD. Recent producing highlights include a rare revival of Michael Frayn’s philosophical comedy Here and the European premiere of Tracey Power’s adaptation of The Jungle Book.

The theatre also co-produces with a host of its supported or associate companies – with recent highlights including the UK and US performances of The Secret Life Of Humans (with New Diorama Theatre), the UK tour of The City And Iris (with GlassEye Theatre), the five-star festival hit Under My Thumb (with CultureClash Theatre), the London and Birmingham community centre tour of gambling thriller Skin In The Game (with JIH productions) and the West End transfer of One Jewish Boy (with Scene Change Productions).

In 2017 with support from a private donor and a subsequent grant from the Theatres’ Trust, the theatre opened a second performance space – a 60 seat studio dedicated to the work of emerging artists. The studio opened with an in-house production of Gazing At A Distant Star by emerging playwright Siân Rowland. The production sold out its premiere run and was shortlisted for a REACH northern touring initiative. The theatre has enjoyed many awards throughout its life and in 2019, it won the Off-West End Award for Best Pantomime for its special 50thAnniversary panto, Sleeping Beauty.

 In 2020 the theatre responded to the COVID-19 lockdown with Greenwich Connects, a pioneering programme of online performance, artist development and engagement.

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Robin Hood Reviews Roundup

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Greenwich Theatre’s Green Credentials Championed By Staff

Catherine Nolan, our Front of House Manager, is passionate about the environment. Her lifestyle includes a responsibility to contribute towards improving our impact on our climate and to find solutions that could avert environmental crises. On a personal level, Catherine champions a low-waste lifestyle. Well, what does this mean? Practically,…
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An Intervention; First Look Images

First night images are in for our new, in-house production, An Intervention. An Intervention is a gripping story about a friendship that is tested when one friend (of two) attends an anti-war protest. This activity brings the pair into uncharted waters that opens them up to feelings of betrayal and…
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Treasure Island Cast Announcement!

The excitement is gathering for our latest in-house production, Treasure Island. We’re thrilled to announce the cast members. It’s great because we’ve worked with two of the stars before and we’re inviting two others into our family. Well, what’s the story of the show? Orphaned teenager Jim Hawkins, left in…
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New In-House Production Update! An Intervention Trailer

We’re really keen to bring a well-know Mike Bartlett play to Greenwich Theatre. The play questions our perceptions about our friendships. In it, An Intervetnion studies the external ethics of war, politics and beliefs, which collide as two people who thought they knew each other, see their friendship tested to…
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Mike Bartlett’s Intervention Tests The Bonds Of Friendship

An Intervention, a play by Mike Bartlett has a familiar premise. Two dear friends share a deep, long-standing bond. However, the volatile  world of political affairs enters their relationship to test the integrity between them. A war breaks out in another country and their beliefs about loyalty, kindred-ship and conflict…
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Greenwich Theatre’s Archive

We are delighted to hold an archive of historic material relating to the evolution of Greenwich Theatre, from over the past 50 years and beyond!

Please email archive@greenwichtheatre.org.uk with any inquieries.