Hamish Glen explains how he progressed through his career
Artistic Director and Chief Executive,The Belgrade Theatre (2003- to present)
I arrived as the theatre was at a low point, but one of my first jobs was to oversee a £14 million refurbishment and the development of the new B2 studio. This was tortuous at times with lengthy delays, but finally a beautifully refurbished theatre building and 250-seat flexible space emerged that is enjoyed by audiences and theatre makers. The theatre re-opened in 2007 with a mission to return The Belgrade to one of England’s great producing houses. That work goes on. I have also directed some 60 productions over the years.
Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Dundee Rep (1992-2003)
This is where I really started to learn about the realities of running and directing in a major city producing house, including leading a major refurbishment and capital development project. In 1999 I launched ‘New Ways of Working’ creating a full-time ensemble company of eleven actors that was augmented by two apprentices each year drawn from the Drama Schools in Scotland. This pilot scheme was so successful that we managed to attract a 90% increase in Arts Council funding to ensure the ensemble could continue. It’s still there now and with several of the original actors! During this period I became Chair of the Federation of Scottish Theatre and lead the campaign that finally led to the creation of The National Theatre of Scotland.
Artistic Director, Winged Horse (1989-92)
I ran the company from home, touring small scale work throughout Scotland. It was also at this time that I became involved in what was then the biggest cultural festival of The Soviet Union to be held outside the country in 1989. I had the opportunity to tour throughout The Soviet Union to select the theatre work to be presented in Glasgow, including at The Maly Theatre. This festival was Glasgow’s build up to City Of Culture in 1990. It was an extraordinary year that transformed the reputation of the city as well as its economic development, leaving a legacy of venues like The Tramway, Symphony Hall and The Burrell, as well as work from some of the greatest theatre makers from around the world. I saw firsthand how the arts and culture can transform the creative culture, inward investment, and the economic development of a city and this has become the heart of all my later jobs in city centre theatres.
Assistant Director, The Tron Theatre, Glasgow (1985-1987)
It was here, working with Michael, that I really started to understand about giving a company a vision and what is needed to provide genuine leadership.
Assistant Stage Manager at Traverse Theatre (1980 – 1981)
Stage Manager at Paines Plough (1981 – 1982)
My career started while I practiced law in Edinburgh. For a couple of years I took my holidays to work as crew for The Traverse Theatre for the Edinburgh Festival. I was then offered the Assistant Stage Manager post, which I accepted and duly resigned from the legal firm.
I then formed a small scale touring company, The Writers Theatre Company which made new work in the downstairs space of the old Traverse Theatre, which lay unused for most of the year at the time. I was lucky enough to have Michael Boyd see one of my productions and I later began working with him.
This April Hamish celebrates 10 years as Artistic Director at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.