News: The Gate appoints Stef O’Driscoll as Interim Artistic Director

The Gate Theatre today announced the appointment of Stef O’Driscoll as the company’s new Interim Artistic Director. Stef will take up the position in March taking over from Ellen McDougall, who stepped down as Artistic Director in December after five years in the role.

As Interim Artistic Director, Stef will work alongside Executive Director and newly appointed sole CEO, Shawab Iqbal, in overseeing the artistic planning of the company as it continues in its search for a new physically accessible home.

Stef O’Driscoll is an award-winning theatre director who was previously the Artistic Director of nabokov, as well as the Associate Director at Paines Plough and the Lyric Hammersmith. She has worked extensively as a dramaturg and director with some of the UK’s important voices in theatre including Nathan Bryon, Sophie Ellerby, Daf James, Sabrina Mahfouz, Shereen Jasmin Phillips, Yasmin Joseph, Simon Longman, Nessah Muthy, Vinay Patel, and Kae Tempest.

Joseph Smith, Chair of the Board said “Stef O’Driscoll is a fantastic addition to the Gate team. She is a talented and dynamic theatre director whose also at the forefront of advocating for the key role intersectional class diversity will play in the Gate’s development as a theatre that aims to be accessible to all. Under the leadership of Stef O’Driscoll as Interim Artistic Director and Shawab Iqbal as Executive Director and CEO, I have no doubt that this will be a redefining moment in the next stage of the Gate’s development.”

Stef O’Driscoll said “I’m buzzing to join the Gate Theatre at this pivotal time. As people begin their journey back to culture, I am keen to examine the Gate’s commitment to internationalism. What does internationalism mean to our local diverse community and to this city? Every marginalised identity intersects with class. How do we combat inequality through an anti-classist lens on internationalism? How does this connect with the climate crisis and inspire change? The Gate has a brave and bold history, unafraid to explore innovative theatrical forms. Alongside Shawab Iqbal and the Gate team, I want to further enrich this legacy. Together, we will make the most of this time to reach out to new artists and communities, address structural inequality, and reimagine what it means to be home to groundbreaking international theatre.”

Executive Director and CEO Shawab Iqbal said “I’m very excited about Stef O’Driscoll joining the Gate Theatre as Interim Artistic Director. She brings an exceptional amount of experience, integrity and uncompromising politics defined by lived experience – making her the perfect candidate to join the leadership team at this time of transition. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with her as we steer the Gate Theatre into an exciting new chapter.”

Stef is an advocate for the importance of intersectional class diversity, she was previously a patron for COMMON and an OPEN DOOR tutor. With the support of the Young Vic and RTYDS, she set up a project called CLASS AND CORONAVIRUS alongside Catriona Shoobridge designed in immediate response to COVID-19 to ensure on and off-stage workers who identify as working, benefit, criminal-class backgrounds (WBC-C) remain in the industry, develop skills, and progress to leadership.

She actively supports the next generation of artists and has led on the Young Vic Genesis Directors program Introduction to Directing. Directing credits include: How To Save The Planet When You’re a Young Carer and Broke (Boundless Theatre), Love Reign (Young Vic), Herstory (Arch 468/Brighton Festival/Lighthouse), A History of Water in the Middle East (Royal Court Theatre), Inside This Box (Clean Break); Lit (Nottingham Playhouse/Hightide), Box Clever (The Bunker), and Yard Gal (Ovalhouse – winner of Fringe Report Awards for Best Fringe Production 2009). For Paines Plough: On The Other Hand We’re Happy, Daughterhood, Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency (Paines Plough/Theatr Clwyd 2019 Roundabout Season); Island Town, Sticks and Stones, How To Spot An Alien (Paines Plough/Theatr Clwyd 2018 Roundabout Season), as well as With A Little Bit of Luck and Hopelessly Devoted. For the Lyric Hammersmith, as Co Director: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Photo credit: Olivia Spencer

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