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The Watermill Theatre Announces Four New Associate Directors

The Watermill Theatre Announces Four New Associate Directors

Today, The Watermill Theatre announces the appointment of four new Associate Directors as part of its Associate Artist Programme. The four emerging directors have been selected to work with the producing theatre to develop their skills and build experience as they embark on the next phase of their careers. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Paul Hart, each will take on roles ranging from Assistant Directorships to fully directing productions, all with the aim of nurturing their talents and extending their knowledge. These new appointments are a part of The Watermill's continued commitment to supporting emerging theatre-makers and nurturing the talent of the future.

The directors selected are Lucy Betts, Robert Kirby, Sara Aniqah Malik and Georgie Staight. Three out of the four directors have already worked with The Watermill in various capacities - Robert Kirby was Associate Director on the theatre's national tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth and will continue this role for the upcoming London transfer to Wilton's Music Hall. He also recently directed A Mini Summer Night's Dream for the theatre. Lucy Betts was Associate Director of the recent summer musical Kiss Me, Kate, which received rave reviews including a five star recommendation by The Times. Georgie Staight directed the community project D-Day 75 and will direct the upcoming rural tour of Camp Albion. Sara Aniqah Malik is new to the theatre having been an assistant director at The Gate Theatre. Her play Salaam, which she also directed, received its premiere at The Vault Festival earlier this year.

Artistic and Executive Director Paul Hart says: "Lucy, Robert, Sara and Georgie are all young directors who are already making waves and for whom we want The Watermill to be a home - providing a place for them to develop and extend their talents. We are passionate about developing our relationships with directors from assistant level, right through to directing the work we stage on our rural and schools tours as well as in The Watermill itself. This small network of directors will build upon their relationship with The Watermill whilst having a space to discuss and learn from their experience here and from one another. Our objective is to support them on their respective paths and to further our commitment to nurturing new talent."

The Watermill's Associate Artist Programme has a focused approach to both talent development and excellence in areas such as directing, choreography, orchestration and set design. The theatre's current associate artists include Sarah Travis, Caroline Sheen, Barney Norris, Tom Jackson Greaves, David Gregory, Tarek Merchant, Katie Lias, Sophie Stone and Abigail Pickard Price. Wildcard are Associate Company and Danielle Pearson is currently playwright-in-residence. Previously, The Watermill has played a part in developing the careers of many acclaimed directors including Edward Hall, Jonathan Munby, Tim Sheader and Jessica Swale.

In addition to its work on the Associate Artist Programme, over the past year the theatre has given opportunities to 26 recent actor graduates and 4 emerging directors, with a focus on working with diverse talent. Thanks to dedicated funding from the Andrew Lloyd-Webber foundation, it has also been able to provide an opportunity for a Trainee Stage Management and Production Assistant to work alongside the professional team.

The Watermill continues to prioritise gender equal casting throughout its programme, as exemplified by the 50/50 gender split in all of its recent Shakespeare productions.

The Watermill Theatre has developed a reputation as one of Britain's leading regional theatres. From its beautiful home in a small Berkshire village, work has been created that is admired around the world. Last year 67,740 people attended shows or one-off events at The Watermill, where new productions are staged annually, ranging from Shakespeare and musicals to classics, new plays and youth theatre productions. The Watermill tours regularly across the UK as well as rural touring productions, which play in village halls and small arts centres in the South. Recent and upcoming tours and London transfers have included A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth (National Tour), One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (Jermyn Street Theatre), Amélie (National Tour), Twelfth Night (Wilton's Music Hall), Burke and Hare (Jermyn Street Theatre), Trial By Laughter (National Tour), Teddy (National Tour and The Vaults), Crazy For You (National Tour), The Wipers Times (West End and Tour), Loot (Park Theatre), Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet (International Tours), Murder For Two (The Other Palace) and Frankenstein (Wilton's Music Hall).

The Watermill Theatre aims to be a focal point for the local community and is proud to play a leading part in helping the careers of the theatre-makers of tomorrow. The Watermill's unique environment encourages a real sense of ensemble, and its intimate 200-seat auditorium also means that there is a particularly strong connection between the actors and audience. This combination makes The Watermill a very special place to visit. | Box Office 01635 46044

Lucy Betts

Lucy Betts is a freelance Director, Workshop Facilitator and playwright, specialising in work with young people and community theatre.

She directed Sleeping Beauty at Chichester Festival Theatre in December 2018 and will soon return to direct The Wizard of Oz as part of their 2019 season.

She was Associate Director on Kiss Me, Kate at the Watermill Theatre.

Lucy was Head of Performance at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, from 2015 - 2017, having previously been Youth Theatre Leader there from 2010. In addition to programming productions throughout the year, she directed a wide range of productions for the main stage and the Mill Studio, from large scale musicals to intimate Studio Productions.

Directing credits at the Yvonne Arnaud include The Railway Children (also regional tour of railway museums), The Wizard of Oz, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Silver Sword, The Borrowers, The Secret Garden (also Gilded Balloon/Edinburgh Fringe), 1984, Animal Farm, Private Peaceful, The Little Match Girl, The Sea Child (also Gilded Balloon/Edinburgh Fringe), Oliver!, The Wind in the Willows, Forever Young (also The Space/Edinburgh Fringe), James and the Giant Peach, Pinocchio, The Firework Maker's Daughter, Just So Stories (also Gilded Balloon/Edinburgh Fringe), Peter Pan, The Ghosts Of Tyneham, The War Of Jenkins' Ear, The Lark, Sophie Shadow (also Paradise Green/Edinburgh Fringe), Charlotte's Web, Fantastic Mr Fox, Lord of the Flies, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Romeo and Juliet.

As resident director with ChewBoy Productions: EUAN (IYAF award for Best Theatre - Brighton Fringe 2019). As Resident Director - Children's Theatre for Apollo Theatre Company: Just So Stories, The Show Queen (UK Tour)

Writing credits include Alice in Wonderland, from the novel by Lewis Carroll (musical adaptation), The Railway Children, from the novel by Edith Nesbit (musical adaptation), The Secret Garden, from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett (musical adaptation), Just So Stories, from the stories by Rudyard Kipling (musical adaptation), Sophie Shadow, inspired by the hidden children of World War 2).

Robert Kirby

Robert trained on the BA Acting course at Rose Bruford and as a director through the Young Vic Genesis Directors Network along with invite only workshops at the RSC. He is an associate artist at the National Youth Theatre, FLUX Gym and is a lead facilitator at the Old Vic.
Watermill credits Include: A Mini Summer Night's Dream (2019, as Director); A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth (2019 UK Tour, performed in rep, as Associate Director); Macbeth (2019, as Assistant Director); A Midsummer Night's Dream (2018, as Assistant Director); The Picture of Dorian Gray (2017, as Assistant Director).
Other credits include: Death Becomes Her (Canal Cafe).
In development and staged readings: Spaghetti by Mark Newnham (Devonshire Park Theatre & Brighton Fringe 2020), Baggage by Erica Murray (Wildcard Theatre) and Surgeons (Bunker Theatre).
Robert is the founder and director of training organisation People People. A Princes Trust Supported Business, the company partners with charities through to large multinationals using an actor toolkit to help employees of all levels increase the behavioural choices available to them.
Robert is delighted to continue his relationship with The Watermill by becoming Creative Associate. He is thrilled to be able to develop and grow in a place that balances being entirely nurturing and supportive with creating bold and irreverent work under the artist directorship of Paul Hart.

Sara Aniqah Malik

Sara Aniqah Malik is a director and writer interested in theatre as political activism. She trained as a Director at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and is a recipient of the Michael Grandage Company Futures Award for Directing. Her credits include as Assistant Director: Two Trains Running (Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre), Land Without Dreams (Gate Theatre), Wolfie (Theatre503), Nicholas Nickleby (Bristol Old Vic). As Director: Poison (The Wardrobe Theatre), Manual of Little Wars (RichMix), Salaam (Vault Festival 2019), Mary Stuart (Bristol Old Vic Studio).

Georgie Staight

Georgie trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts (MA Directing). She is Joint Artistic Director of Flux Theatre.

Direction includes: Eigengrau (Waterloo East Theatre), D-Day 75 (Watermill Theatre, Greenham Trust & Corn Exchange), CHUTNEY (Bunker Theatre, nominated for 4 Off-West End Awards), Into The Numbers (Finborough Theatre), Section 2 (Bunker Theatre), Dubailand (Finborough Theatre, nominated for an Off-West End award), Dreamless Sleep (Arts Theatre & Bunker Theatre), Flood (Tristan Bates Theatre), Roosting (Park Theatre script accelerator).

Assistant Directing includes: Sweet Charity (Watermill Theatre), Our Town (Watermill Theatre), Legally Blonde: The Musical (Bernie Grant Arts Centre).

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