Jonathan Church becomes first chief of planned Marlowe Theatre Trust

Jonathan Church, one of the country’s top theatre directors and producers, has been named as the first head of The Marlowe Theatre Trust.

Church is the director with the Midas touch. He transformed the fortunes of Chichester Festival Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and Salisbury Playhouse when he was their artistic director.

His award-winning successes include West End transfers from Chichester of Gypsy, ENRON, Sweeney Todd and The Young Chekhov Trilogy.

He currently runs his own production company, Jonathan Church Productions, which was formed in association with Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.

Jonathan is also artistic director for the Theatre Royal Bath Summer Season, and sits on the board of both the Almeida and the National Youth Music Theatres, in London.

While the new Marlowe was being built (2009-2011), the director was a visiting professor for Canterbury Christ Church University, and a board member and head of the performing arts sub-committee for the Creative Foundation in Folkestone.

Jonathan, 50, said: “The rebuilding and revitalisation of the new Marlowe Theatre is one of the great regional arts success stories of the last decade.

“The combination of enlightened investment by Canterbury City Council, the hard work and commitment of the theatre staff, and the passionate engagement of audiences, has created a unique environment for future growth and success.

“I’m extremely honoured to be working with the theatre in this new role at such an exciting moment for the organisation.”

A final decision about the transfer of The Marlowe’s governance will be made at a meeting of the full council in January.

If the decision is to proceed, Jonathan and his shadow board will oversee the transfer of the theatre to a charitable trust by the summer.

Paula Gillespie, acting director of The Marlowe, said: “This is an inspired appointment: Jonathan’s theatre credentials and theatre wisdom are second to none.

“We are thrilled to be entering this new phase of The Marlowe’s evolution with Jonathan at the helm, helping us to fulfill our ambitious vision of The Marlowe as the best regional theatre in the country”.

Leader of Canterbury City Council, Cllr Simon Cook, added: “It says so much about The Marlowe’s reputation in the industry that we have been able to attract such a​ highly talented and​ respected figure as Jonathan to become the chair of the new trust.

“It is an exceptional appointment and we have no doubts that he is the perfect choice to take The Marlowe forward for many years to come.”

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