Grand's Ruth Eastwood to step down as Blackpool theatre CEO after eight years

The Grand’s chief executive, Ruth Eastwood, is to step down from her role at the Blackpool theatre next year after eight years in charge.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 7:00 am

She will leave in early 2022 to return to her freelance career and said she is ‘proud’ to leave the theatre in a strong position to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: "It has been a privilege to lead this wonderful organisation and work in the beautiful Grand Theatre since 2013. The Grand is built on the love and loyalty of local people and runs on the passion and dedication of its staff, partners, and volunteers.

"Now, as the country slowly recovers from the impact of the pandemic and things return to something like normal, I am proud to be able to pass on an organisation that is in a strong position to bounce back and continue to offer opportunities for people to enjoy, participate and learn through theatre for many more years to come."

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Ruth Eastwood is to leave the Grand after eight years as CEO

Before coming to Blackpool, Ruth’s career included being CEO of Curve Theatre in Leicester, Lighthouse in Poole plus Darlington Civic Theatre and Arts Centre. As a freelancer, she was also interim CEO of Colchester Mercury and Salisbury Theatres.

A spokesmand for the Grand said: "Notably during her time she has overseen a £1m capital development programme to improve and extend the theatre’s facilities; grown the creative learning department which now works with thousands of children, young people and community groups across Blackpool and beyond; and commissioned the organisation’s first in-house production, Around the World in 80s Days, as the centrepiece of the theatre’s 125th Anniversary celebrations. "

Since the theatre was forced to shut its doors, due to the pandemic, she has also secured more than £1m of financial support to invest in rebuilding the business and re-opening later this year.

Anthony Stone, the Grand's chair for arts and entertainment, said: "Ruth has been a great asset to the Grand Theatre, and a delight to work with. Our successes over the period of her tenure have been numerous and our profile within the industry, and particular with the Creative Learning projects, has garnered national attention. Ruth is highly respected, and we wish her all the best for the future."

Roger Lloyd Jones, Grand Theatre Trust chair, said: "The Trustees are very grateful for the support provided by Ruth during her time with us. Thanks to her vision and leadership we have enjoyed many successes, including the conceiving and delivery of an award-winning major 'Capital Works Programme' and a wonderful 125th birthday celebration which included a Royal visit. I thank her greatly and wish her well."

A spokesman for the theatre said a recruitment process to find a successor will begin in the next few months.