Justine Themen, Deputy Artistic Director and Co-Artistic Director for 2021, will leave the Belgrade Theatre next year, it has been announced.
Themen, who has worked at a senior manager at the Belgrade for 18 years, leaves in May 2022 as Coventry’s City of Culture Year draws to a a close. Her final contribution to the Belgrade’s programme will be a show about mixed heritage identities in May 2022.
Themen’s artistic work at Belgrade Theatre spanned the professional and community spectrum and included Under the Umbrella by Amy Ng (in partnership with Tamasha & Yellow Earth), Red Snapper by Liz Mytton, Like There’s No Tomorrow (a commission from the National Theatre Connections Programme 2021 & 2022) and This Little Relic by Karla Marie Sweet (BBC Radio 3).
She held particular responsibility for the Theatre’s work in Diversity, Engagement, Participation and Talent development, growing this into an underlying ethos for the building’s work as a whole and growing the Belgrade’s reputation as one of the leaders in the field.
“I have enjoyed my long association with the Belgrade, in particular with the communities and artists that it serves. I am pleased that the pioneering work we have been doing on Diversity, Participation, Talent Development and New Work is to be embedded in the new integrated post of Creative Director and hope that this work will go from strength to strength. I am excited to explore new opportunities for promoting Diversity and Artistic Excellence in the Cultural Sector at a time when this is urgently needed.” Justine said
David Hanson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Belgrade, said, “We thank Justine for the contribution she has made to The Belgrade over many years and we wish her well for the future.”
More recently she represented Coventry in its successful bid to become UK City of Culture, going on to direct its Opening Event, Coventry Moves, in May 2021. She was appointed a Co-Artistic Director with Corey Campbell and Balisha Karra to develop the Belgrade’s City of Culture programme of work, continuing to embed Diversity and Engagement considerations in Programming decisions. Her work has laid invaluable foundations for the Theatre’s contribution to Arts Council England’s emerging Let’s Create agenda.