Bristol Theatre News

Artistic Director of Tobacco Factory Theatres Mike Tweddle Steps Down After Six Years

After six years of steering the artistic vision of Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol, including through a global pandemic threatening the much-loved venue’s future, CEO and Artistic Director Mike Tweddle has announced that he will be moving on.

The theatre has put Bristol on the map for its producing theatre over the last twenty years, going from strength to strength, even when faced with adversity. It has nurtured strong links with the local community, created high-quality sessions with children and young people and worked hard to make theatre accessible to young people trying to break into the industry with its range of engagement programmes.

Mike said it had been ‘an honour’ to work at the venue over the last six years, in which he has managed to fit in overseeing twenty in-house productions and co-productions. That’s not forgetting a major redevelopment project of the theatre and its spaces – including creating a second theatre space doubling up on the work the theatre is able to show.

Families will remember the immensely brilliant Christmas productions each year – even ensuring a digital production was available for the lockdown Christmas.

And of course, he spent time directing five productions, including Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing.

Mike Tweddle said: “The theatre’s spaces and audiences are extremely special, and I’ve been blessed to work with inspirational colleagues and collaborators. I will treasure memories of the productions, visiting programmes, engagement projects and partnerships we’ve created together, and I’ll never forget how everyone gave their all to safeguard the theatre’s future through the pandemic.

“The theatre has emerged from crisis more motivated than ever to be a welcoming hub for audiences, artists and learners, and a pioneering centre for new work. This is an exciting moment for someone new to take the lead alongside David, and I have no doubt that they and the wonderful team will make magic happen. I will miss everyone so much, but I am looking forward to spending some time focusing on family before exploring next steps. I’ll be forever grateful to have worked for one of the most beautiful theatres in the country, and I’ll remain a passionate supporter of its next chapter.”

During his time at the theatre, he has overseen twenty in-house productions and co-productions, five of which he has directed, ten gong on to tour nationally or internationally.

The theatre says that work will shortly begin to recruit Mike’s successor, no doubt a challenging ask considering the theatre’s high-quality output.

Executive Director of Tobacco Factory Theatres, David Dewhurst said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Mike for the past six years. His vision has cemented Tobacco Factory Theatres as a community and artist focussed producing theatre, a place where anyone and everyone can come and experience, engage and shape the work that we do both on and off the stage. As we emerge from the pandemic this vision could not be more important. Mike’s kind and caring leadership has inspired all who work with him and we wish him all the success in his next adventure.”

Photo Credit: Tobacco Factory Theatres