Society of London Theatre - New Presidents 2022 New Presidents - 2022

Claire Walker and Hannah Essex appointed new co-CEOs of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre

Theatre trade organisation The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has announced that Claire Walker and Hannah Essex have been appointed as the new joint Chief Executives of SOLT and UK Theatre, sharing the job.

Their appointment comes following the departure of Julian Bird, who left SOLT in May after 10 years. He is leaving to set up his own production company.

The pair take up the role on 12 September 2022, and are currently Co-Executive-Directors at the British Chambers of Commerce. Previous roles include Co-Directors of Communications for Teach First.

Claire and Hannah said in a joint statement that: “It is a huge privilege to be appointed as co-CEOs of SOLT and UK Theatre. As lifelong theatre fans, we believe passionately that a thriving theatre sector is crucial to improving social, cultural and economic prosperity in the UK. Having supported businesses large and small through the Brexit process and the pandemic, we are familiar with many of the issues facing SOLT and UK Theatre members in these challenging economic times.

“SOLT and UK Theatre do fantastic work to support, promote and develop British theatre. We are looking forward to getting started in September and working with our brilliant team, members and stakeholders to create the conditions for the theatre industry to thrive.”

Eleanor Lloyd, President of SOLT, said: “I am delighted to welcome Claire and Hannah as the co-CEOs of SOLT and UK Theatre. They are inspirational leaders who will bring an outstanding combination of experience, dynamism and passion to both organisations. Their work at the British Chambers of Commerce, especially during the pandemic, puts them in a perfect position to support our members and champion the theatre industry in this new chapter.”

Stephanie Sirr MBE, President of UK Theatre, said: “At this critical juncture for our industry, we are thrilled to be welcoming Claire and Hannah as our new Chief Executives. Not only are they hugely experienced with an exceptional track record of delivery, but they are also truly passionate about our sector and its importance.”


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