Centre Stage – artist and audience at the heart of theatres

Conference 19: Centre Stage will look at theatres from the perspective of the people they are there to serve. It will ask how to ensure that the needs of artists and audiences sit at the centre of our theatre buildings.

Battersea Arts Centre Grand Hall


Fittingly the conference takes place at Battersea Arts Centre, a venue with a rich social history, which engages widely with both artists and audiences in the development of the building and its activities. We’ll hear from the team behind its recent restoration project in the morning, in a session exploring how theatres connect artist and audience and the wider community.  Alongside them, we will hear from Madani Younis, recently appointed Creative Director of the Southbank Centre (previously Artistic Director at The Bush) and Anna Dinnen co-author of Arts Council England’s ‘Capital Works! Building Transformation’ report.

Battersea’s Artistic Director & CEO Tarek Iskander will take part in a panel discussion with other new artistic directors in the afternoon chaired by Theatres Trust Ambassador, Samira Ahmed.

Tarek will be discussing the artist and audience possibilities and limitations of taking on a theatre building alongside exciting new generation artistic directors Nadia Fall from Theatre Royal Stratford East, Joe Douglas from Live Theatre, Newcastle and Bryony Shanahan from Manchester Royal Exchange.

David Micklem, 64 Million Artists, Hannah Fox, Derby Museums and Matt Fenton, Contact Manchester along with members of the Con:Struct young people’s capital project team, will explore innovative ways of engaging audiences and other stakeholders in planning and delivering capital projects in cultural buildings.

Punchdrunk, Theatre Absolute, Theatre Deli and Troubadour Theatres, some of the biggest names working in non-traditional theatres, will share their motivations for working in these spaces and the possibilities they create for artists and audiences.

Devonshire Park Theatres, Polka and Theatre Royal Wakefield will talk about how to adapt and use theatres to make them truly accessible, inclusive and welcoming to all audiences.

New for this year, there will also be a Capital Projects Lightening Round, which will offer a high-speed taste of current theatre building trends across the UK and the people considerations informing them. Featured theatres include: Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bolton Octagon, Fairfield Halls, Leeds Playhouse, Shakespeare North, Theatr Clwyd and Woolwich Works.

See the full programme for Conference 19.

Look out for further announcements here and on social media #CentreStage19.

Book your place now

Theatres Trust Friends and Corporate Supporters can benefit from a discounted rate – please email events@theatrestrust.org.uk for your discount code.

Book now

Members / subscribers of our promotional partners will also receive a discount code through their newsletters. Promotional partners include: ABTT, Creative Industries Federation, ITC, Federation of Scottish Theatre, The Stage, SOLT and UK Theatre.

Prices - including VAT and booking fees.

  • £222 - Standard price
  • £199 - Standard price with supporter / membership discount

A special rate is also available for the community / campaign groups working with theatre on our Theatres at Risk Register. Please get in touch with us for further details.


Registration will be from 8.45am with the conference programme beginning at 9.30am and finishing by approximately 5pm. The conference will be followed by a drinks reception, sponsored by Robe, that is open to all conference attendees. We hope you will be able to stay for networking and refreshments.


Conference 19: Centre Stage is made possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.

Find out more about sponsorship opportunities.


Thanks to the support of ETC, GDS and HQ Theatres, we are pleased to be able to offer bursary places to students, emerging artists and representatives from small (less than three members of staff) and unfunded theatre organisations. Find out more and apply.

Photo credit: Grand Hall at Battersea Arts Centre. Fred Howarth

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