Jill Adamson has been appointed Director of Participation at Northern Stage in Newcastle. The appointment comes as the company looks to achieve a strategic step change in its practice, capacity and aspirations for working with young people aged 16-21 living in areas of economic disadvantage in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Jill brings with her significant expertise in working with young people and social inclusion, having worked as a freelance theatre participation and learning consultant for a range of arts organisations including the RSC Education, Frantic Assembly, Rose Bruford College, Salisbury Playhouse, Derby Theatre, Hull Truck Theatre and Darlington Civic (Hippodrome). She worked as Director of Engagement and Learning at Hull Truck Theatre and part of the senior team working on Hull City of Culture 2017. From 2007 to 2013, Jill was Chief Executive at the National Association of Youth Theatres (NAYT - the development agency for youth theatre in England) and Director of Education at York Theatre Royal (2002 to 2007). Jill was a youth theatre director for 20 years starting out at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield before becoming Artistic Director of Youth Theatre Yorkshire in York.

Throughout her career Jill has worked extensively in partnership with young people, mentoring them as artists and creative leaders. As well as working directly with young people, Jill has worked strategically at a national level to influence and develop policy and practice in relation to cultural education. Jill says,

“It feels so good to be back working in the North East and to be part of the team who will lead and deliver on Northern Stage’s vision for in-creased social equality. In the current climate the work that cultural organisations are doing with young people and community engagement has never been more important. The arts are a powerful tool for challenge and change.”

A key programme to achieve the company’s commitment to reach and engage more young people in areas of economic disadvantage is Northern Stage’s Young Company. Supported by £150,000 investment from the Clothworkers Foundation, Associate Director Louie Ingham was appointed to lead and expand Young Company to give more 16-21 year olds from disadvantaged communities open access to a diverse and innovative programme. Membership of Young Company offers new opportunities to explore key roles and areas of theatre making through practical workshops in Theatre Design, Composition, Directing, Production and Stage Management. As well as the Cloth-workers Foundation, the programme is also supported by regional trusts the Shears Foundation and Ballinger Trust.

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