Kate Wasserberg exits as Artistic Director of creative writing company Stockroom

Stockroom has announced the departure of Artistic Director Kate Wasserberg as the company completes a transition to a new business model following drastic cuts to its funding.

Wasserberg was Artistic Director for five years and has been instrumental in the new direction and radical restructure of the company which began two years ago.

The move continues the company’s purposeful evolution, which will now predominantly focus on writer and script development following its loss of Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation status announced in October.

The restructure will mean the ongoing relationship between Stockroom and its partners will be focused on the artistic vision of theatres and production companies who commission its work. As a result, Artistic Director Kate Wasserberg will step down and the new structure will see the writer-led company steered by Executive Producer and CEO Martin Derbyshire and a team of six salaried artists with freelance artists joining the company for individual projects.

Alys Beider has also been appointed as the new Head of Finance and Operations, as the company transition to a model sustainable outside the NPO.

Amidst existential risks to new writing in theatre, the company will offer partners organisations scripts that have been specifically commissioned and developed for venues with all upfront costs being covered by Stockroom, allowing venues to commission more diverse and inclusive work for their main stages with fewer financial risks.

Wasserberg will remain connected to the company, directing Stockroom’s 2023 productions of Alice in Wonderland (with Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and in association with Plymouth Theatre Royal) and James Graham’s adaptation of Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff (with Liverpool’s Royal Court).

Outgoing AD Kate Wasserberg said “The Writers Room is a truly courageous creative endeavour, and I am very proud to have been a part of Stockroom’s transformation to a company that salaries writers. I look forward to collaborating with the company in 2023, and to seeing the wonderful plays I know the writers will create in future.”

Stockroom Executive producer Martin Derbyshire said “The loss of our NPO funding is a huge disappointment but we will continue in our aim of getting a wider variety of stories, by more diverse groups of writers, onto main stages across the company. Our focus for the coming year will be our salaried artists working directly with partners to guide the artistic future of the company. We’re immensely grateful to Kate for all her work over the past five years and I’m delighted we can continue to work with her to bring more exciting projects to the stage in 2023.”

He added “The entire staff of Stockroom have helped to shape the future of the company and we’re excited about the year ahead and facing the challenges of make work in this difficult political and financial environment.”

“The trustees and joint executive made a commitment to revolution, reimagination reinvention in 2020. After two years of internal & external evaluation, we’re resetting our relationship with the Arts Council through an agile artistic structure that puts a multiplicity of writers at its heart. We’re grateful to Kate for all she has personally contributed to this unique model” said Stockroom Chair Mark Powell.

Stockroom is a writers room for theatre, and the Stockroom Artists produce new work for midscale stages around the country. Dedicated to script creation and a radical new approach to playwriting, the company is a creative hub with over 25 years experience finding some of the nation’s most influential writers.

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📷 Main photo: Kate Wasserberg

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