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Theatre man Jon Gilchrist leaves HOME


New Birmingham hippodrome boss Jon Gilchrist
New Birmingham Hippodrome boss Jon Gilchrist. Pic: Helen Murray

HOME Manchester’s executive director, Jon Gilchrist, has been appointed artistic director and chief executive at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Jon, who took his current role in 2018, will join the Hippodrome in the spring replacing Fiona Allan, who has become chief executive at Opera Australia. He will also act as a joint president at UK Theatre, for which he has been a board member since 2015, and is on the boards of Manchester’s Edge Theatre and HighTide Theatre in Suffolk.

Chair of the Hippodrome Theatre Trust, Glenn Howells, said, “We’re delighted Jon will lead Birmingham Hippodrome as it embarks on its next chapter.

“COVID has had a profound effect, but our future plans remain as exciting and ambitious as ever – particularly as we look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth Games.”

Gilchrist has wide experience across many theatres. When he joined HOME in 2018 he had been executive director of London’s widely-admired Bush Theatre since 2014. Before that he was marketing director at Salford’s Lowry complex, working on its massive annual range of productions and touring shows.

He had joined The Lowry from marketing roles at venues across the north, including Bolton Octagon, The Dukes in Lancaster and Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake.

When appointed at HOME he explained his approach to theatre in the 21st Century: “Theatre has a responsibility and an interest in reflecting the community it's part of, and that diversity and financial sustainability go hand in hand.”

Of his latest role he says: “I’ve always admired the Hippodrome as one of the UK’s best theatres. Now, as the team continues the path to recovery from the pandemic, it’s even more important to provide people with some much-needed joy in these challenging times. I can’t wait to get started.”