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New York 2018 ISPA Congress - Jim Beirne
New York 2018 ISPA Congress
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Jim Beirne

Session 2 | A Balancing Act: Art and Commerce
Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Jim Beirne MBE | Moderator

Live Theatre (United Kingdom)

Chief Executive

Jim has been Chief Executive of Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne, since 2000, overseeing its numerous capital developments, and has overall responsibility for the leadership and vision for the company.  Live Theatre has a turnover of £2.5 million and up to 40 staff when in production. The theatre works with over 500 artists a year, and thousands of young people take part in engagement programmes.

One of the UK’s leading new writing theatres, Live Theatre celebrated 40 years of creating new plays in 2013 and several of these plays have recently appeared in London’s West End, on international tours including Broadway in New York. Last autumn ‘Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour’ by Lee Hall had a season at the Royal National Theatre in London and (with our co-production partners National Theatre of Scotland) appeared at festivals around the globe; International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Galway Festival, Brighton Festival and the Melbourne Festival. It appeared in the West End in Spring 2017 and won an Olivier Award in May of the same year.

Live Theatre is a national leader in developing new strategies for increasing income and assets for the charity. Its Social Enterprise model includes award-winning gastro pub The Broad Chare, online playwriting course and hub for creative businesses, The Schoolhouse. The latest project is Live Works a £11 million capital project to purchase and develop Quayside fronted land and buildings adjacent to the Theatre, it has created new commercial offices, a new public park, a children and young people’s creative writing centre and two new restaurants.

Jim is asked to present the Social Enterprise model to cultural institutions around the world and is always interested in how other cities grow and embed culture in their city or place.

Jim trained as a composer and musician, writing for cross media projects at the South Bank, the ICA, and Dance Umbrella.  Prior to moving to Newcastle, Jim was Director of Performing and Combined Arts for Yorkshire Arts Board (now Arts Council Yorkshire).  Jim is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, has been a trustee of the TMA (now UK Theatres), The Sage Gateshead, and Leeds College of Music, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Northumbria University in 2011, and is a nominee for North East Business Executive of the year in 2014.

Jim is alumni of the National Arts Strategies programme, a graduate of Common Purpose, and is a Board member, and Chair of the Nominations Committee, for the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA). He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2012.

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