Edward Cole Appointed as New Artistic/Executive Director of Alphabetti Theatre

Edward Cole Appointed as New Artistic/Executive Director of Alphabetti Theatre

Alphabetti Theatre is thrilled to announce the appointment of Edward Cole as its new Artistic/Executive Director, succeeding the theatre’s founder, Ali Pritchard. This significant leadership transition marks an exciting new chapter in Alphabetti’s story.

Ed brings a wealth of experience to Alphabetti. After graduating from the University of Hull with a degree in Drama and studying for a Masters at Drama Centre London, he cofounded Middle Child Theatre, now one of the UK’s foremost new writing theatre companies. Since then, he has worked with numerous theatrical institutions across the country as a director, producer, actor and theatre maker.

Ed grew up in County Durham, and throughout his career has developed an intimate knowledge of the performing arts sector in the North East. He is passionate about theatre, performance and the local region, and he is ideally positioned to maintain and develop Alphabetti’s already prestigious reputation for supporting emerging artists, programming bold new work, and acting as a trailblazer for progression and accessibility in the arts.

Ali Pritchard, the outgoing Artistic/Executive Director and founder, shared his thoughts on this transition:

“Founding Alphabetti Theatre and serving as its Artistic/Executive Director has been an incredible journey. I am immensely proud of what we’ve achieved together – creating a space where creativity thrives, and diverse voices are heard. Ed’s vision, passion, and commitment to the arts make him the perfect leader to carry forward Alphabetti’s legacy. I am confident that under Ed’s direction, the theatre will continue to grow and inspire our community in new and exciting ways.”

Ed expressed his enthusiasm for joining Alphabetti Theatre:

“Stepping into the role of Artistic/Executive Director at Alphabetti Theatre is the honour of a lifetime. This theatre has a unique and vibrant spirit, and I can’t pay enough tribute to Ali and the tireless work he has put in over the years to develop it into the essential facility it is today. The talent and dedication of the team at Alphabetti is humbling, and it will be a privilege to build on the strong foundations already in place while exploring new horizons. I am particularly looking forward to engaging with our artists and audiences – understanding what the venue means to them – and working together to ensure Alphabetti Theatre continues to be a beacon of creativity, development, inclusivity and accessibility for Newcastle and the North East.”

Christina Dawson from the Alphabetti Board of Trustees, added her support for the new appointment:

‘This is a very exciting time for Alphabetti. Ed is a vibrant and passionate cultural leader and I’m really looking forward to seeing what this new relationship looks like. Ed has got so much to offer our community. Welcome, Ed!

Ed joins the team in June 2024. On Thursday June 6th and Friday June 7th , he and Ali will host an Alphabetti Meet – a community artistic dinner party where artists, audience members and friends are invited to come and say hello in an open and informal setting.

Ali will remain with Alphabetti until November 2024, after which he will embark on a freelance career. His first freelance project will be a remount of an Alphabetti production at Live Theatre, “Present”, running from December 3rd to 21st, 2024.

Ali’s final season at Alphabetti, “Joyful Punk”, will begin in August 2024 and run until the end of the year. This season opens with a brand new festival for North East-based artists titled “Let’s Create Not Apply” – visit the opportunities page on Alphabetti’s website to find out how to participate.

In September, there will be the world premiere of a new folk gig theatre show titled “The Nurse’s Station”, co-written and directed by Ali. This production is in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing and Northumbria University Nursing Department.

In October, Alphabetti presents the north east premiere of “My Name is Rachel Corrie”, an urgently political play constructed from the writings of a 23 year-old American activist, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003. This is a co-production with North Eastbased company Wet Arts Ltd.

November brings the world premiere of a new co-production, “Fixing” by Matt Miller and Peader Kirk, a beautifully poetic collision between a car maintenance class led by Matt’s drag persona and their emerging childhood memories.

The year then closes with the world premiere of Patti Boo Rae’s “Little Miss Christmas”, a festive parody/homage to queer pageantry with lip syncs, live vocals, and singalongs. Alongside the above, Alphabetti will continue running the artist development reaction and response programme funded by Esmée Fairbairn, along with hosting numerous comedy, music, cabaret gigs and our unannounced family programme. Ed’s first programmed season of work will commence in January 2025.

Many fans of Alphabetti will have questions about Rex, Ali and Alphabetti’s beloved, charmingly doddery theatre dog. While we are pleased to say that Rex will still be making occasional appearances, we are equally excited to announce that he will be passing his collar, lead and title of theatre dog to Ed’s enthusiastic cocker spaniel, Robin.

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