Julie Ellen appointed as Byre Theatre director

Thursday 26 October 2023

The University of St Andrews has appointed Julie Ellen as the new director of the Byre Theatre.

Julie, pictured left, takes over at the Byre following the successful tenure of Kally Lloyd-Jones and Jessica Richards who have jointly held the post since September 2019.

Julie joins the team following a term as Artistic Director and CEO of Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling. Before joining the Macrobert team in 2015, she was the first Artistic Director of The Beacon, and the founding Creative Director of Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland, following spells as producer for Suspect Culture and Theatre Centre, London.

She brings a wealth of experience at the helm of venues and organisations, and as a theatre director, as well as running a significant cultural organisation in a university environment.

Julie said: “I am very excited at being appointed as Director for the Byre Theatre by the University of St Andrews. The team and board have worked incredibly hard to present an amazingly busy and diverse programme to audiences from St Andrews and beyond, and I’m looking forward to working with them to take this much-loved institution to the next stage in its long history.

“This role also presents an opportunity to re-connect with St Andrews, a town like no other, which has a special place in my heart.”

Outgoing Joint Directors Kally Lloyd-Jones and Jessica Richards have led the theatre through a significant period of change, working with the team to reframe the theatre’s mission: Connecting people, ideas and experiences. The University is grateful to both Kally and Jessica for their dedication to shaping the future of the Byre Theatre and wishes them well in their future endeavours.

Kally said: “It was an incredibly difficult decision to leave the Byre but we each felt the need to make change in our lives. I will be returning to my creative work as a director and choreographer and Jess is pursuing a new path, following her passion for the outdoors. We will continue to live in the area and look forward to supporting the Byre in its next exciting chapter.

“We are both very grateful for the time we have had as custodians of the Byre and to all our colleagues at the Byre, across the University of St Andrews and theatre sector and the local community.”

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE, said: “The University is looking forward to welcoming Julie Ellen as the new Director of The Byre. Her deep knowledge of the sector, combined with her expertise, energy, and enthusiasm, are significant assets to the theatre, the University, and the town.”

Image Credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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