BELGRADE Theatre’s artistic director and chief executive, Hamish Glen, celebrates a decade at the helm of Coventry’s city centre theatre.
A lot has changed for the Belgrade since Glen joined with the ambition of re-establishing the theatre as one of the leading cultural venues in the city.
Ten years, a £14 million redevelopment with brand new B2 auditorium, plus 50 in-house and numerous touring productions later, and the theatre’s reputation as a major producing house is set.
“I’m proud of all of the theatre’s many achievements, but a particular highlight for me has been the creation of the B2 auditorium, which was crucial in allowing us to develop our own plays,” he says. “Theatre-goers really adore the space.
“That goes along with the transformation of reputation as a producing house within the business.
“And the numbers of in-house productions; We Love You City, Too Much Pressure, I’m very proud of those. They are an important part of what we do.
“I think you always want to develop the new work, the new writing, but I don’t think the Belgrade would become a new writing house.
“The purpose of a city theatre is to serve all purposes - from large scale productions, to musicals, classical, Shakespeare, ballet..
“And I have several new plays bubbling away.
“For example, we have a very rarely performed Chekhov play, Sons Without Fathers.
“The balance has to go right across the range of audiences.”
Hamish, who originally trained as a lawyer before starting his theatre career at the Traverse Theatre in Scotland, said he will always be a director at heart.
“That’s what I am, a director who got sucked into being a chief executive,” adds the Scot, whose actor brother Iain has appeared in Game of Thrones and The Iron Lady.
Hamish has directed a number of plays at the Belgrade, most recently Gogol’s Marriage in B2, but said the most memorable were the productions that celebrated the city around him.
“One Night in November, bears witness to a local story and the history of the city - what happened to Coventry through the war is still alive and kicking,” he says of the theatre’s popular Blitz play which is back by popular demand this autumn.
And whatever comes next for the Belgrade, Hamish is keen to stay at its helm with a few ambitions for the next decade.
“I have no idea to be moving on,” he says. “I be able to develop more high quality work that might play in the West End, or go on national tours.
“I am also interested in international work. Coventry is a city that has a long and honourable tie with internationalism.
“That’s an area I would really like to look at.”