New Chair of Trustees announced

Northampton Theatres Trust, the charity which runs Royal & Derngate, has named its new Chair of Trustees as Simon Antrobus, who was appointed to the board last November and took up the position of Chair at the beginning of the year.

Having worked in the voluntary section for over 25 years, Simon has been Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need since November 2016, and was previously Chief Executive of both We Are With You and Clubs For Young People. He acted as Chair of the National Council of Voluntary Youth Services and has worked as a youth and community development worker in both Luton and Northamptonshire.

An experienced business leader, with a keen interest in the arts, Simon will work closely with Royal & Derngate’s Board of Trustees and the senior management team as it builds on recent successes and develops its future strategy.

Jo Gordon, Chief Executive of Royal & Derngate said: ‘We’re thrilled that Simon has agreed to join us as Chair. It’s an exciting time for the organisation as we continue to rebuild from the challenging times of the pandemic, and Simon’s passion and enthusiasm for Northampton, and for Royal & Derngate in particular, will help propel us forward. At a time when we’re putting children and young people more and more at the heart of all we do, it’s exciting to be welcoming someone of Simon’s calibre and experience into the team.”

Simon commented: “I’m thrilled and honored to be offered this fantastic opportunity. As part of my close links with the county I have long admired and enjoyed the excellent work of Royal & Derngate. This amazing organisation has an important part to play in inspiring, engaging and entertaining individuals and communities across Northamptonshire and beyond, and I’m delighted I can play a part in its future development.”

Simon Antrobus takes over the role of chair from Steve Edmonds, who is stepping down by from the position by rotation after 5 years as Chair and over 11 years involvement with the theatres. James Dacre, Artistic Director said “We can’t thank Steve enough for his enormous contribution over the last 11 years, not least the extent to which he has supported and guided Royal & Derngate through the challenges of the pandemic. He forever remains part of the extended theatre family here and a brilliant champion for Royal & Derngate and the arts across Northamptonshire.”

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director, Arts Council England said: “We are pleased to welcome Simon Antrobus as the new chair of Royal & Derngate.  His background and experience will be very valuable in this role.

“Our 10 year strategy Let’s Create aims to ensure the creative and cultural sector better reflects and serves all communities across England. Simon has given a lot of time and effort to helping the community in Northamptonshire, as well as running one of the UK’s best-known children’s charities. This passion for the local community and his experience of engaging people who face barriers can only benefit Royal & Derngate.”

Royal & Derngate has gained an ever higher profile both regionally and nationally over recent years, most recently being nominated for Theatre of the Year in The Stage Awards 2022. The theatre emerged strongly from enforced lockdown closures, with several acclaimed productions including new musical Gin Craze! and Ralph Fiennes’ Four Quartets. New initiatives championing young talent included the start of a three-year partnership with the National Youth Theatre to host 800 young people on a training programme each summer.

Royal & Derngate is now seeking to appoint a Vice Chair to support Simon Antrobus into the future. Information can be found at here. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 12 April.