Paines Plough hires new joint artistic directors

Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner will become joint artistic directors of acclaimed British theatre company, Paines Plough. Taking up their posts in August 2019, the pair will take over from James Grieve and George Perrin, who announced in January that they are step down as the artistic directors at Paines Plough this summer, having made 45 world premieres at the London-based company since 2010.

Kim Grant, chair of the board of trustees commented, “We are really excited about this next phase in the company’s life. Charlotte and Katie are the perfect duo to pick up the mantle from James and George. We are especially impressed by their ideas for the future and their desire to continue collaborative leadership through originality, fairness and innovation.”

Bennett has been associate director at London’s Soho Theatre since 2016, where she leads the new writing department, develops artists and commissions and programmes new work for the upstairs studio. Outside of her work at Soho Theatre, she directed a new work by Jack Rooke, curated a six-month off-site arts festival in Waltham Forest and led the GBP7,000 (€8,140) Verity Bargate Award, Soho Theatre’s prestigious playwriting competition.

Bennett also helped establish, and now leads, the Forward Theatre Project; established by a group of emerging theatre directors, writers and designers, the collective works with communities to create and tour plays in the UK, shows include On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco / Can Cause Death, A Five-Star Werewolf and Scratch My City. Bennett has worked with the National Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Northern Stage, Derby Theatre, Live Theatre and The Lowry, directing such shows as We Want You To Watch and The Habit of Art.

Katie Posner was an associate director at Pilot Theatre in York, UK, for eight years, where she directed and toured new work regionally, nationally and internationally including MADE IN INDIA (Tamasha/Belgrade/Pilot).

Posner has directed productions for Northern Stage, Tron Theatre, Live Theatre and Out of Joint amongst others. As a freelance director, her projects include Babe, The Sheep-Pig at Mercury Colchester, Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Swallow & Amazons at Storyhouse Chester and Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes at York Theatre Royal. She is directing My Mother Said I Never Should for Theatre by the Lake this May. Posner has established a number of talent development programmes, most recently the suffrage-inspired Worlds by Women for Jackson’s Lane, supported by the Women’s Vote Centenary Fund.

In a joint statement, Bennett and Posner said: “It is a great honour to be appointed as the next artistic directors. We are both long admirers of the company and its commitment to making exceptional new plays which reach all corners of the UK and beyond. Inspired by collaborative leadership, and in particular the excellent example set by George and James, we wanted to apply to run this company together to fuse our passions for new writing and touring and our shared mission to make great new plays which champion the unheard and reach the overlooked.”

Posner will direct two new large-scale community productions this Autumn for the Kiln and Theatr Clwyd.