Almeida Shares Associates Davies & Beale with NTDate: 3 February 2003
Building on his vision of an "actor's theatre" (See The Goss, 9 Dec 2002), the Almeida's new artistic director Michael Attenborough (pictured) has announced a team of associates who will help in the running and programming of the London-based theatre, which will reopen - after nearly a year's hiatus and a £7.6 million refurbishment - in May 2003 (See Today's Other News).
Similar to incoming artistic director Nicholas Hytner, Attenborough has formed a group of artists who will have direct input into the activities and policy making at the Almeida. At the Almeida, this group of "associate actors" will comprise Josette Bushell-Mingo, Meera Syal, Richard Wilson and Simon Russell Beale, the last of whom also counts himself amongst Hytner's NT associates.
In another overlap, multi award-winning director Howard Davies will continue as the Almeida's sole associate director, while also taking up that position anew at the National. The Almeida's existing team of artistic advisors - Jonathan Dove (music), Mark Henderson (lighting) and John Leonard (sound - will continue their involvement as well.
Attenborough has announced two further new appointments, both of them veterans of the Royal Shakespeare Company like himself. Neil Constable, formerly London manager of the RSC, takes over as executive director in April 2003, while Maggie Lunn, formerly an RSC producer and casting executive, will become artistic associate, assisting Attenborough in programming and assembling cast and creatives for all Almeida productions. Private bankers Coutts & Co has been announced as the theatre's principal sponsor.
A former RSC associate director, Michael Attenborough took over from Almeida "dream team" Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid in July 2002. The company has been absent from the London stage since it finished its acclaimed season in a disused bus shelter at King's Cross that same month. The £7.6 million refurbishment to the Almeida's Islington home base (a listing building, originally built as a reading rooms and lecture theatre in 1837) - originally due to last just one year - was started in February 2001. The theatre will officially reopen in May 2003 with Trevor Nunn's production of Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea.
- by Terri Paddock