New appointments at Belgrade Theatre

Acclaimed local writer added to theatre board of directors.

Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre has announced that writer Alan Pollock, who penned the theatre’s hit Coventry Blitz play One Night in November, has joined the theatre’s Board of Directors and acclaimed children’s theatre director Tony Graham will be joining the team as Creative Associate.

Tony Graham has enjoyed a hugely successful career as a director and practitioner specialising in theatre for young people. From 1997 to 2011 he was Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre, the leading theatre for young audiences, where he oversaw the £14.9million development of an award-winning new purpose-built venue for young audiences, which opened in London’s Cultural Quarter near Tower Bridge in 2005.

Prior to this he was Artistic Director of TAG Theatre. Twice invited to direct for the Edinburgh International Festival, he had a smash hit with Sunset Song in 1993.

Joining existing Creative Associates Joe Harmston and Patricia Benecke, he will be tasked with building and maintaining relationships with theatres and producers around the country in order to raise the profile of the Belgrade as a producing house and to explore the possibility of joint productions.

On his new role he said, “I’m thrilled to be joining the team of Creative Associates under the inspired leadership of Hamish Glen. The Belgrade Theatre holds a special place in the hearts of those of us who make professional theatre for young audiences. Theatre-in-Education was founded here at the Belgrade Theatre in 1965. Its reputation is known and respected nationally and internationally. Hamish has asked me to help develop a contemporary programme of theatre for young, family and community audiences; to strengthen its public profile through new partnerships and exciting artistic challenges.”

He added, “As in 1965, where the work was all about inspiring the hearts and minds of our youth, our aim today is to honour that tradition through the highest quality theatre, innovation and crossing cultural boundaries. And how brilliant is it that in 2015, the theatre will be celebrating 50 years since it first gave the world the precious gift of TiE. There could hardly be a better time to be joining this special and much-loved theatre.”

Also joining the Belgrade team is acclaimed writer Alan Pollock, who will join the theatre’s board of directors. He said, “My family has been coming to the Belgrade for nearly 50 years. The theatre occupies a very special place in my life and I join the Board at an extremely exciting moment in the theatre’s development. I hope to bring a double perspective to the work of the theatre – that of a working artist and a writer with very deep roots in the life of this amazing city.”

Alan is the writer of the Belgrade’s hugely successful Coventry Blitz play One Night in November, which has enjoyed two sell out runs in the theatre’s B2 auditorium in 2008. Since then the play has been restaged twice on the Main Stage due to popular demand in 2010 and 2013. His other theatre work includes Too Much Pressure, also for the Belgrade, and The Death of Cool, which was first produced by Hampstead Theatre, London and is currently being developed as a film.

He has written extensively for TV, including BBC2’s Attachments starring David Walliams. His writing for radio includes the play about Coventry poet Philip Larkin and his unconventional father, which was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2010 and has been repeated twice subsequently.