Dame Liz Forgan, former Chair of Arts Council England, has been announced as new Chair of Bristol Old Vic.
Since stepping down from ACE at the end of 2012, Forgan has become Chair of the National Youth Orchestra, deputy Chair of the British Museum, and a trustee of the Art Fund bringing her wealth of experience to these organisations at a time of uncertainly in the arts world.
Liz Forgan said: "Bristol Old Vic has two things that are not often found together: One is that it has an ancient building and a past that is fascinating; and the other is that it has a present that is inventive, creative and daring. The health of our national theatre depends on a network of confident producing theatres and the answer is not to turn back into safety but to put our faith in daring and innovation and Bristol Old Vic is doing this perfectly. Every generation has the right to the keys to its past and to make it new in its own way."
Bristol Old Vic is embracing its new Chair's sentiment through a series of projects working with the next generation of theatre makers. This includes a ‘groundbreaking' co-commission between the Bristol Old Vic Young Company and the National Youth Theatre of Pigeon English, adapted for the stage by Fringe First winner Gbolahan Obisesan (Feast, Young Vic).
There is also the next phase of Bristol Old Vic's renewed relationship with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School with the first full co-production between the two organisations – a radical new version of Karl Kraus' powerfully comic satire The Last Days of Mankind.
BOV Artistic Director Tom Morris said: "We are deeply honoured that Liz Forgan has decided to join our powerfully Bristolian board as Chair. It is a fantastic response to the support which the people of Bristol have shown for this theatre; that the retiring Chair of the Arts Council of England should chose to give her time, insight and advocacy to its ongoing renewal. Her involvement shows us that, although we belong first and foremost to the City of Bristol, our theatre's passionate localism is producing work with national and international reach.
"At a time when, under the leadership of George Ferguson, the City is defining itself as a centre of intertwined cultural strength and economic resilience, we at Bristol Old Vic are especially excited about what the city, in collaboration with all its arts organisations, can achieve, and we are delighted that Liz's experience and wisdom will help us to chart that course."