Sherman Theatre has today announced that its Artistic Director, Rachel O'Riordan, will be leaving the company to take up the post of Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London from February 2019.
Rachel became the Artistic Director of Sherman Theatre in February 2014 and has transformed the company into one of the UK's leading producing houses. Currently Regional Theatre of the Year (The Stage Awards 2018), and recipient of the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre in 2018 (Killology at the Royal Court, 2017), the Theatre also became the first Welsh Theatre to transfer a production to the National Theatre (Iphigenia In Splott, 2016), and the first Welsh Theatre to co-produce with the Royal Court (Killology, 2017). She has led the company in a number of successful co-productions with partners including Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Tron Theatre, Glasgow, and Theatre by the Lake. During her tenure, she has championed the work of Welsh writers, including Gary Owen, Katherine Chandler, Alan Harris, Brad Birch and Elgan Rhys; she has implemented an innovative and impactful Artist Development programme through the New Welsh Playwrights Programme and the JMK/Sherman Directors Programme; and her artistic programme has seen a 35% increase in audience attendance at Sherman Theatre. Rachel has also placed the community at the heart of the work of Sherman Theatre with two extraordinary main stage community productions, Home in January 2016 and Love Cardiff: City Road Stories in April 2017.
Rachel will direct her final production for Sherman Theatre, Alice in Wonderland, this Christmas.
David Stacey, Chair of The Board of Trustees said: "It has been a pleasure to work closely with Rachel and the Executive Team in developing the Sherman Theatre into a producing house with a UK wide reputation for award winning work. The awards speak for themselves but are a small reward for her drive, personality and commitment to the cause of our Company. She will be greatly missed but the foundations she has helped to establish are now well embedded in our Company and we will strive to improve the legacy she has left us. The Board wish her every success in her new challenge at the Lyric Hammersmith."
Rachel O’Riordan said: "My time as Artistic Director of Sherman Theatre has been defined by extraordinary relationships. With artists, with audiences and with the city of Cardiff. It has been my honour to serve this community, to be at the heart of the arts in this great country. I have made some of my best work on the Sherman's two brilliant stages, and worked with exceptional people. I have seen audiences grow, new artists emerge, and established artists refine and evolve their work. I will miss everyone terribly, but I am so proud of the theatre I now leave. Thank you, to those I have worked with, for being brave and brilliant partners on my journey here. The artists and the arts council, funders and friends. And the Sherman team, who are warriors. It has been wonderful. Welsh talent's future is only beginning."