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Tim Sheader to step down as Artistic Director of Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 07

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre Artistic Director Tim Sheader today announces that he will be stepping down from his role at the end of 2023 to take up the position of Artistic Director at the Donmar Warehouse.

Tim has been Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of the Open Air Theatre since 2007, and has helped transform the organisation into one of the most successful and loved producing theatres in London. Under Tim’s leadership, the theatre has won seven Olivier Awards, four Evening Standard Awards, was named The Stage’s London Theatre of the Year in 2017, and now welcomes over 140,000 people to its 20-week summer season every year.

Tim Sheader said today, “Working here at the Open Air Theatre has been the most exhilarating and fulfilling period of my life. Making and curating work for this thrilling space has been an absolute privilege and I am grateful to all of my many, many collaborators and colleagues for joining me on the journey. I am so proud of the continuing evolution of the organisation and its projects, in our quest to welcome as many people from as many different backgrounds as possible to experience the joy and communion theatre in the park offers.

I would especially like to thank both James Pidgeon and William Village, exemplary Executive Directors with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with, Stuart Griffiths and the Board past and present, and everyone who has supported me in my ambition and passion for this special theatre. As I move on to a new adventure at the Donmar Warehouse I will miss them all terribly but can’t wait to be part of the ongoing story as a loyal and lifelong friend and audience member.”

Chair of the Board, Stuart Griffiths OBE, added, “Over the last 16 years Tim has transformed Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s creative output into a major force in producing theatre in London and touring in the UK and internationally. The unfunded, not-for-profit status of the organisation demands a fine balance between popularity and creativity to create success which Tim has always found, seeking new ways to update and diversify established repertoire and create new work for today’s audience. Alongside his own work, he has continuously nurtured emerging, diverse creative artists, making it a priority to develop new talent.

The Trustees are very grateful for Tim’s dynamic, creative and caring approach over many years and wish him every success in his new position at the Donmar Warehouse. He leaves an extraordinary legacy and will be much missed by everyone at the Open Air Theatre.”

During his tenure Tim has directed over 20 productions, including the Olivier and Evening Standard Award-winning musicals Into the Woods (also Central Park’s Delacorte Theater), Hello Dolly, Crazy For You (also West End) and Jesus Christ Superstar which, following two sold out seasons at Regent’s Park and a transfer to the Barbican, has been touring the US for three years and starts a UK tour this September. His hit production of To Kill a Mockingbird also enjoyed a national tour ending with a sell-out run at the Barbican in 2015.

Committed to taking the theatre’s work to as wide an audience as possible, he has overseen UK tours of productions including Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Flies and Running Wild. Partnerships and co-productions have included work with the Barbican Centre, Chichester Festival Theatre, English National Opera, Leeds Playhouse, Roald Dahl Story Company and the Unicorn Theatre.

The theatre has become a hotbed of directing talent, producing work made by Maria Aberg, Natalie Abrahami, Matthew Dunster, Nadia Fall, Rob Hastie, Ola Ince, Rachel Kavanagh, Jamie Lloyd, Lucy Moss and Max Webster amongst others. After expanding the repertoire beyond the historical presentation of Shakespeare, in recent years new writing has become central to the theatre’s mission, with commissioned writers including Samuel Adamson, Torben Betts, Inua Ellams, Carl Grose, Zinnie Harris, Chinonyerem Odimba and Holly Robinson.

In August 2020, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre led the industry back to live performance by staging a socially distanced concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar, the first full-scale production to be produced in the UK since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Working closely alongside two consecutive Executive Directors, William Village and James Pidgeon, under Tim’s tenure the theatre has undergone major capital refurbishment. The production and administration teams moved from offsite into new purpose built offices, backstage facilities were made fit for purpose for modern working, a suite of onsite rehearsal studios were built, and this season 48 seats have been added to the auditorium.

Tim’s final season at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre will be announced later in the year, and recruitment for the organisation’s new artistic leadership will begin in July 2023.

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