SOLT & UK Theatre announce first confirmed speakers for Theatre & Touring Summit 2023

SOLT & UK Theatre’s biggest annual conference, the Theatre & Touring Summit, is taking place at The Brewery, London on Monday 26 June 2023. 

As previously announced, the theme of this year’s Summit is ‘Developing a thriving sector’, with topics addressing current industry priorities, including cost inflation, future audiences, funding models for R&D, skills shortages, leadership support, and audience behaviour. 

Following the opening keynote (speaker to be announced), the first Main Stage session, Mind the skills gap: how can we replenish our talent pool when the supply is running dry?’, will be chaired by Bendy Ashfield (Founding Co-Director, Theatre People), with panellists Seetha Kumar (Chief Executive, Screenskills) & Josie Dobrin (CEO, Creative Access) confirmed to date. 

On the Upper Sugar Stage, a session on ‘Research & Development: co-producing new work and creating new models for working will be chaired by Nathan Brine (Director of Live Stage Productions, The Path Entertainment Group), with currently confirmed panellists Vicky Graham (Theatre Producer & Consultant, Vicky Graham Productions) & Katie Posner (Joint Artistic Director, Paines Plough). 

‘Crisis in Leadership – how to retain it; how to develop it’ will take place on the Lower Sugar Stage, with Sian Alexander (Independent Consultant) chairing, and Sandeep Mahal MBE (Leadership Associate, Royal Shakespeare Company) among the panellists. 

After lunch, Kash Bennett (Managing Director, National Theatre Productions) will chair a session entitled ‘It’s a risky business: producing shows during an economic crisis’ on the Main Stage. 

Meanwhile, Keep the drama on the stage: Managing challenges around Audience Behaviour will include panellists Patrick Holdaway (Superintendent, City of London Police), Kirsty Sedgman (Doctor of Audiences, University of Bristol), James Connor (Senior Policy Manager, UK Cinema Association) & Richard Beale (Managing Director, RB Health and Safety). 

Arts in schools: a generation of STEM not STEAM means death for future audiences and workforce’ will be chaired by Senay Camgoz (Policy & Research Officer, SOLT & UK Theatre), with confirmed panellist Jacqui O’Hanlon (Director of Learning & National Partnerships, Royal Shakespeare Company). 

Following the afternoon break, Nicola Fieldsend (Senior Marketing & Communications Officer, Access Scheme, Arts Council) will chair Booking tickets shouldn’t be a performance: an update on the new UK access scheme’, with speakers Andrew Miller MBE(UK Arts Access Champion, Arts Council of Wales), Tim Wheeler (Senior Project Manager: Access Scheme, Arts Council England) & Phil Lofthouse (Technical Lead: Access Scheme, Arts Council England). 

‘National ticketing initiatives: Love Your Local Theatre & beyond will be chaired by Emma De Souza (Executive Director, Audience and Commercial, SOLT & UK Theatre), with a panel including Jamie Snelgrove (Head of Theatre Tokens, SOLT & UK Theatre). 

Finally, David Leigh-Pemberton (Head of Policy & Public Affairs, SOLT & UK Theatre) will chair a session entitled The burden of proof: why theatre needs solid evidence to make the case to government’, with confirmed panellist Robin Cantrill-Fenwick (Group Chief Executive Officer, Baker Richards). 

The Summit will close with a further keynote speaker, to be announced, and will also feature SOLT & UK Theatre Co-CEOs Claire Walker & Hannah Essex, SOLT President Eleanor Lloyd (Theatre Producer, Eleanor Lloyd Productions), and UK Theatre Joint Presidents Stephanie Sirr MBE (Chief Executive, Nottingham Playhouse) & Jon Gilchrist (Artistic Director and CEO, Birmingham Hippodrome). 

Download the full programme (subject to change)

Designed to strengthen connections between industry peers, to promote best practice insights and to unearth practical solutions to enable our members to continue to bring high-quality theatre to wider audiences across the UK, the Summit will allow for networking time throughout the day and will be followed by a drinks reception at the Barbican Conservatory. 

Book by 12pm on 15 June, with discounted tickets available for members of SOLT & UK Theatre and other industry bodies.