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Blog: The End of the Beginning

Associate Directors and Artists for Change

By: James Mackenzie-Blackman, CEO & Executive Producer

June 2023


So here we are. The end of the beginning and the beginning of something new.

It often feels, 18 months into this job, that some aspects of the change we are making is taking a very long time. If it feels like this is the case out there in the world, it’s because we are trying, all the time, to listen and evolve this journey of creative renewal as we learn things along the way.

A few months ago we advertised for three new Associate Directors, one for Theatre, one for Dance and one for Children, Young People and Families. This is because, back then, this felt like the direction we were heading.

We were overwhelmed by the response to the roles. We received over 130 applications and so, straight away, our plans needed to pause and our timetable slipped because we needed significantly more time to read the applications, consider all that was on offer and process all  the generosity that had been poured into the expressions of interest.

We couldn’t get our shortlist below 23 and so we did meet all of these candidates and tried to build a recruitment process that allowed us to understand better what the candidates had to offer.

What we learned over meeting all these candidates was that the vast majority considered themselves, and their creative practice, somewhere between the specific boundaries of the three artform areas we had advertised. We shared with all the candidates we could imagine a scenario whereby we dropped the artform specificity and instead appointed ‘Associate Directors’ who shared leading all our creative work together. That is where we have ended up today.

Alongside this process we have appointed Bee and Natasha as our Artists for Change. Bee and Natasha bring expertise and life experience to our Diversity & Inclusion and Climate Emergency strategic plans and they will, with thanks to funding from the Jerwood Developing Artists Fund, have access to all of TRP’s amazing resources to develop their creative talent over the course of the next twelve months.

John grew up in Coventry, Malaika in South Devon, Tom and Sara in Cornwall. We’re proud to be building this team with South West talent and we’re proud of the diversity they represent both in terms of their life experience but also the diversity of the work they make, and want to make for us here at TRP.

So off we go. Keep an eye on what we’re up to and do share your feedback.

Our aim: to make waves in our ocean city. Join us and get involved.

*The Artists for Change roles are supported by the Jerwood Developing Artists Fund

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