Neil Constable to Step Down as CEO of Shakespeare's Globe

After almost 14 years, Constable will leave the role by the end of 2023.

By: Jan. 16, 2023
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Neil Constable to Step Down as CEO of Shakespeare's Globe

Following almost 14 years leading Shakespeare's Globe, Chief Executive and Trustee Neil Constable has advised the Board that he will be stepping down from the role by the end of 2023.

Over the 14 years of Neil's leadership, he has headed the team that transformed the Globe into the world-class destination it is today. The competitive recruitment process is now open for applicants, and is led by Green Park, enabling a smooth leadership transition. Alongside Artistic Director Michelle Terry, Neil will continue to take responsibility for the 2023 summer season, to be announced later this month.

Shakespeare's Globe is an independent charity, operating without any regular subsidy or Arts Council England funding. Neil's planned departure takes place as audiences are returning to the theatre and London, following successive lockdowns and closure, and 3 years of Covid disruption during which the Globe has survived by virtue of necessary depletion of its reserves. The Globe is comprised of two theatres (open-air Globe Theatre and candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), a significant education department including in-house academics, and a year-round cultural tourism offer.

Over Neil's tenure he has worked dynamically with 4 Chairs of the Board, over 40 trustees, and artistic directors Dominic Dromgoole, Emma Rice, and Michelle Terry, spanning across half of the Globe's 25 years since its opening in 1997. Over those years, the financial income of the organisation doubled, and it has had an impact across the world with several international tours, including the Globe to Globe tour of 197 countries with Hamlet; the 2012 Cultural Olympiad was celebrated with the World Shakespeare Festival of 37 Shakespeare plays performed in 37 languages; a number of celebrated West End and Broadway transfers; and the development of significant education programmes in China.

The theatre has been the venue for a wide range of important events, including an official visit from President Barack Obama, the signing in of the London Mayor, and the launch of the Government's Cultural Recovery Fund in the midst of 2020. Neil joined the Globe in 2010, completing the building of the Education and Rehearsal Centre, becoming Project Champion for the development and fundraising for the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (opened in 2014), and has set in place the long-term plans for the completion of the Bankside site as imagined by Sam Wanamaker 40 years ago.

Neil Constable, Chief Executive, said: It has been the greatest honour to serve the Globe for half its lifespan. This organisation is a truly unique place - beloved internationally, creatively ambitious, dynamic and a worthy custodian of Shakespeare for future generations to come. It is now the right moment for me to give the next generation of cultural leaders the opportunity of enjoying the adventure of this remarkable institution.

I have absolute confidence that I leave this extraordinary organisation on firmer financial ground, despite years of Covid disruption and near long-term closure. Now, 40 years since my first professional role in stage-management, I will enjoy this year steering the good ship Globe, alongside my inspiring colleagues, from our excellent leadership team to wonderful volunteers. Our brilliant Board of Trustees have backed a dynamic and responsive 3-year rebuilding strategy to help forge the way forward for my successor. I know the Globe will be attracting the very best to take the reins.

The Globe is particularly special, unique in its cultural and educational offer, and iconic on the London landscape. In 2022, we celebrated our quarter century anniversary, and I will be thrilled to continue celebrating the Globe as it confidently goes from strength to strength for the next 25 years to come. Shakespeare has loomed large in my life, with 16 years at the RSC, and nearly 14 at the Globe, I have been shaped by his fantastic works, celebrated this year in the 400th anniversary of the First Folio - one of the great wonders of the literary world. Shakespeare's ongoing importance and relevance is clear - his works offer endless opportunities for discovery and exploration. I will continue to enjoy how the Globe celebrates the power of storytelling year by year, as the hundreds of thousands of visitors coming through our door connect across the centuries as Shakespeare "holds a mirror up to nature" for inspiration and joy.

Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE, Chair of Shakespeare's Globe, said: Neil's contribution to the Globe has been immense over the past 14 years, and on behalf of all of us, I would like to thank him for his years of dedicated leadership and vision. London's creative economy is returning, and the Globe is ready for the challenge of adapting to the new landscape ahead of us. I have very much enjoyed working closely with Neil, ensuring our beloved wooden 'O' remains a triumph to celebrate for years to come. The Globe is one of the UK's most successful independent cultural organisations, with two iconic theatres, and that is a wonderful testament to Neil's work in driving forward its incredible ambitions over the years. I am particularly grateful to him for holding the wheel during the historic pandemic disruption. For all of us in leadership positions at that time, there was no rule book and no clear route to survival, yet with a steady hand Neil ensured the Globe re-emerged with great success. The next 25 years of the Globe's life have undoubtedly been built upon firm foundations.

Michelle Terry, Artistic Director, said: "Neil has been a passionate and dedicated CEO and has led the Globe through the toughest and most extraordinary of times. With any creative organisation, there are risks everywhere, but the seemingly endless twists and turns of successive lockdowns and near-closure presented some of our greatest challenges yet. Neil proudly and resolutely continued to support our biggest and most outlandish creative ambitions, offered experience, trust and understanding when things did not always go to plan, and loudly celebrated our successes. The creativity of a CEO is not often celebrated, or recognised, but I am delighted to celebrate and recognise Neil as loudly as he has always celebrated and recognised the life and times of the Globe throughout his vital and transformative tenure."

Zoë Wanamaker CBE, Honorary President of the Board of Trustees, said: "When my father Sam Wanamaker imagined Shakespeare's Globe, he dreamed of a place where people can engage with Shakespeare across the world. Neil has brilliantly led the organisation for over a decade, pushing this dream further into reality. A champion for the Globe in so many ways, I am so thankful to him for his tenacity and dedication, most particularly in bringing to life a new and beloved candlelit theatre in the beating heart of London."

Neil Mendoza CBE, Government Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, said: "The Globe, since its rebirth, has become one of the leading theatres in the world. This is down to its artistic leadership but also due to the skill of its management. Neil Constable is a major player in the theatre sector and his inspirational leadership of the Globe since 2010 has been essential to enable its ambitious expansion across two stages, the digital sphere, in touring and in education. The Globe is an exemplary cultural institution, operating without public subsidy. Thank you, Neil Constable."


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