Stage set for Byre’s new Artistic Director
Liam Sinclair, the Executive Producer for Scottish Dance Theatre, has been appointed the new Artistic Director of the Byre Theatre.
Liam, who was also Director of the annual Edinburgh Mela Festival, will join the ‘best small theatre in Scotland’ this October.
His arrival will mark two full years of the Byre being run by the University of St Andrews as part of a ‘rescue’ package agreed by Fife Council and Creative Scotland in 2014.
The appointment has been given the backing of the Scottish Arts community, with former Byre patron Elaine C Smith saying the announcement was “terrific news for the arts and for audiences in St Andrews and well beyond”.
Liam takes over from outgoing Artistic Director and Director of Music at the University, Professor Michael Downes, who will move on to lead a major new development of music at St Andrews.
Speaking ahead of taking up post, Liam said: “I am very excited at being appointed as Artistic Director for the Byre Theatre of the University of St Andrews. Since re-opening in October 2014, the staff 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.
“I’ll be starting from a position of strength, as represented by the recent success of Byre in the Botanics, and look forward to developing an inspiring and entertaining programme that makes the most of the world class excellence of the University and the theatrical heritage of the Byre.
“Most of all, I’m looking forward to taking the lead in connecting this world famous place to the rest of Scotland and beyond through an exciting arts programme.”
Since re-opening under the management of the University of St Andrews, the Byre has presented a diverse programme of professional, student and amateur performance across a wide range of art-forms, including theatre, opera, music, dance and film. Its most recent success – the inaugural summer series Byre in the Botanics – brought a host of artistic activity to the outside stage in front of record audiences in St Andrews.
In his new role, Liam will be responsible for shaping the artistic vision and policy for the theatre in the next crucial phase of its development, establishing the Byre’s reputation as a centre of artistic excellence in Scotland.
Liam comes to the Byre with a strong reputation in the Scottish Arts scene, most recently as Executive Producer of Scotland’s principal contemporary dance company. Prior to his current role with the Scottish Dance Theatre, Liam was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Macrobert, a multi-discipline arts centre based in Stirling, and Head of YouthWorks Drama at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).
Speaking on behalf of the University of St Andrews, Professor Verity Brown, Vice-Principal (Enterprise and Engagement), said: “I’m delighted that Liam Sinclair is to be the new Artistic Director of the Byre. His deep knowledge of the sector combined with his intelligence, energy and enthusiasm are significant assets to the theatre and, by extension, to the University and the town. We are looking forward to a bright future with Liam leading the way.”
Actor, writer and comedian Elaine C Smith also gave her support, saying: “I was originally a patron of the theatre and was devastated when it closed its doors in 2013, so I’m utterly delighted that this popular Scottish theatre and cultural venue is not only surviving, but positively thriving.
“The appointment of Liam Sinclair, with his expertise, commitment and wealth of experience, means that the Byre has a bright and beautiful future ahead of it – which is terrific news for the arts and for audiences in St Andrews and well beyond.”
Head of Theatre at Creative Scotland, Laura Mackenzie Stuart, also welcomed the news saying that Liam is “the right person at the right time” to steer the Byre into its next phase.
Notes to editors
Liam Sinclair is available for interview via the University of St Andrews Press Office – contact 01334 462530 / 467227 or email [email protected]
About the Byre
The Byre Theatre is a vibrant hub for the community and serves as a focal point for the Arts in North East Fife, with a year round programme of events for audiences in Fife and beyond.
Under the management of the University of St Andrews, the Byre also now acts as a creative home for educational events and the development of theatre skills for youth training and internship programmes.
Originally founded in a cow byre in the 1930s, the Byre’s current home on Abbey Street was opened by Sir Sean Connery in 2001 and incorporates a 216 seat auditorium and 100 seat studio theatre (with full cinematic, theatrical and conference facilities), a restaurant, bar and coffee shop.