LBT leadership evolves into new chapter

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After 11 years in post Victoria Firth is stepping down from the role of Director and Chief Executive of the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.

Victoria was credited with turning around the theatre’s fortunes and successfully stewarding the organisation through a decade of creative and financial success. In 2013 she also successfully led the Kirklees district Creative People and Places bid to Arts Council of England and has since been Chair of the resulting project, Creative Scene, which has brought £3million of new investment into the area. This year she began making her own work taking her show How to be Amazingly Happy! to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She will begin a phased transition out of her leadership role from October this year.

The organisation will be led by Karen O’Neill the current Deputy Director and recent Clore Leadership fellow as Interim Director and Chief Executive while the Board undertake an appointment process. Victoria will take up a part time role supporting the programme as Associate Director to support the transition.

In a shared vision, devised between Victoria and the Board, this phased transition represents an evolution towards a new chapter in LBT’s development. It also reflects Victoria’s length of service, her commitment to the organisation and the Board’s desire to ensure new artistic direction fits with LBT’s future trajectory. For some time the organisation has been considering new models to enable strategic partnerships, producing and talent development initiatives alongside plans for major capital works. Victoria will be active in this process and it is envisaged she will still remain a champion for the theatre whilst pursuing new projects and creative ambitions.

She said: “The LBT has been my home for a major part of my life and as such it will continue to be a focus of my passion for live performance as well as being my local theatre. I am thankful for all I have learnt from working for such a forward thinking and warm hearted organisation. Everything I know about leadership has been forged there and I’m grateful to all the staff, artists and audiences who have been side by side with me on this brilliant creative adventure.”

Andrew Bird Chair of the theatre’s Board said: “Victoria has been a tremendous asset both to LBT and the local area. She has helped us to raise our ambition, promote diversity across the programme and establish a culture of creativity, openness and flexibility. We take these values forward now in inviting new artistic leadership to build with us the next chapter for LBT.”