New boss takes over at theatre

The Grand Theatre, Blackpool and (below) Ruth Eastwood.
The Grand Theatre, Blackpool and (below) Ruth Eastwood.

An historic Blackpool theatre has appointed a new chief executive.

Theatre consultant Ruth Eastwood has been appointed to the role at the resort’s Grand Theatre, after long-standing boss Neil Thomson decided to step down. She will take over in the summer.

Ruth Eastwood

Ruth Eastwood

Ms Eastwood, an experienced chief executive who has worked as an interim manager and freelance consultant since 2009, has worked with the Theatrical Management Association, the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, and Salisbury Playhouse Theatre.

She has also been CEO of Leicester Theatre Trust, where she successfully managed the transfer of the Haymarket Theatre’s operation into the new state of the art building, Curve.

She also oversaw the transition of Poole Arts Centre into Lighthouse, Poole, the largest arts centre outside London and home of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

She said of her appointment: “I am delighted to join the team at The Grand.

“It is a privilege to be chosen to lead this important and much-loved theatre into the future and build on the huge successes of the past.”

Neil Thomson will hand over the reins of the Grade II listed theatre from July 1.

He said: “After careful consideration and serious thought, I have decided to step down as Chief Executive.

“I have steered The Grand through some challenging times and also helped to secure National Portfolio Status.

“After working at The Grand for 30 years and as CEO for the last six years, I feel that now is the time to hand over the reins. My involvement and love for The Grand will continue and I will always be there to support it in any way I can.”

Grand Theatre chairman Tony Stone, who made the announcement, said: “I am delighted by this appointment and it comes with the support of all the theatre’s trustees and major stakeholders. Ruth is just the right person to take our wonderful theatre forward, and will contribute not only to the financial success of the theatre, but the wider economy of all the Fylde coast.”

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