Sherman Theatre announces new Artistic Director

Posted: October 15, 2013

DTP Member Sherman Cymru Announces New Artistic Director: Rachel O’Riordan

The Chair of the Board of Trustees of Sherman Cymru, David Stacey, today announced that Rachel O’Riordan has been appointed as the Artistic Director of the Company and will take up her post in February 2014.

Rachel is currently Artistic Director of Perth Theatre Scotland and is an award winning director who has led the revival of Perth Theatre to become one of the leading producing theatres in Scotland. In 2013 Rachel and her team won Best Director and Best Ensemble at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland. Rachel has this month been nominated for the Theatrical Management Association 2013 UK Theatre Awards for Best Director for her direction of the Perth Theatre and Lyric Theatre, Belfast co-production of The Seafarer by Conor McPherson. The other nominees in this category are Blanche McIntyre and Jonathan Miller. This marks Rachel’s third nomination in the category for Best Director.

She has worked in close collaboration with, among others, the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Oran Mor and the Tron Theatre in Glasgow where her four star reviewed, sell-out production of Macbeth is currently playing. Prior to joining Perth Theatre Rachel was the Founder/Artistic Director of Ransom, one of Northern Ireland’s most successful UK and international touring companies, specialising in ground breaking new writing. At Ransom she toured productions throughout Europe as well as at The Brits off Broadway Festival in New York. She was also responsible for the evolution of a very successful three year programme Write on the Edge which developed the talents of female writers in Northern Ireland.

Her freelance directing work includes Miss Julie and Animal Farm for the Peter Hall Company, Theatre Royal Bath, Everything is Illuminated at Hampstead Theatre, The Absence of Women at the Tricycle, Gates of Gold at the Library Theatre, Manchester and several plays at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

David Stacey, Chair of the Board of Trustees, commented: “The Board was unanimous in its selection of Rachel from a field of candidates from across the UK and overseas with a wide breadth of talent and experience. The Board are extremely excited about this appointment and the vision and aims Rachel has set for both herself and the Company in the quality of artistic production and new writing in the coming years. Although not Welsh speaking, her understanding of the need for a bilingual theatre was very clear and obviously emanates from her own Celtic upbringing in a bilingual household in Ireland. We look forward to her joining us and I know she will undoubtedly take us, and the wider arts community in Wales, on an inspiring journey.”

Rachel O’Riordan said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Sherman Cymru at this point in the life of the theatre. The potential to build on the venue’s rich history and significant role in Welsh and national theatre is very exciting. I look forward to working with Welsh and Wales based artists to create a vibrant, outward looking and innovative dynamic at Sherman Cymru.’

‘I grew up in a bilingual household and my father was a passionate advocate for the Irish language. He is multi published in his native tongue. I am delighted to be able to support Sherman Cymru in our role as a guardian and advocate for the Welsh language in the arts. It will be very hard to say goodbye to my colleagues in Scotland, with whom I have so enjoyed working. However, I look forward to meeting new colleagues in Wales and working together towards excellence.”

Nick Capaldi Chief Executive of Arts Council of Wales commented: “We are delighted that Sherman Cymru has been able to attract an Artistic Director of the calibre of Rachel O’Riordan. This is an exciting appointment and brings to the theatre someone whose vision and energy will drive forward the next chapter in Sherman Cymru’s creative endeavours. We look forward to welcoming her to Wales.”