Leading UK-based theatre company Cheek by Jowl has strengthened its management team as it faces increasing challenges to international touring.
Niamh O’Flaherty will join as executive director from March 2019 after leaving her current role as senior producer at Hofesh Shechter Company, the international Brighton-based dance company. She takes over from Natalie Highwood who is interim executive director.
Richard Philipps, chair of the Cheek by Jowl board, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Niamh to the company, at a particularly challenging time for international touring work as we operate in the shadow of Brexit.”
She will work with artistic directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod who founded Cheek by Jowl in 1981. With a base at the Barbican in London, the company performs around the world, mainly in English, French and Russian. Its upcoming productions include Shakespeare’s Pericles in French, Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle in Russian and Thomas Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy in Italian.
In a statement, Donnellan and Ormerod said: “With a proven track record in international touring, Niamh is the perfect addition to the company. Her breadth of knowledge and experience, coupled with her enthusiasm for our work and our audiences, will bring an exciting new dynamic to the company.”
O’Flaherty added: “From my first personal experience of Cheek by Jowl’s beautiful and innovative Twelfth Night in 2004, I’ve been a huge fan and follower of Declan and Nick’s work. I am greatly looking forward to working with these brilliant artists as well as the board, partners and team of Cheek by Jowl and to meeting their audiences in the UK and around the world.”
During her time with Hofesh Shechter Company, O’Flaherty has produced worldwide tours of its new creations including the Olivier Award-nominated production, Grand Finale, as well as Show, performed by the acclaimed junior company, Shechter II. She was also a key producer on the delivery of the large-scale community engagement project, East Wallat the Tower of London, in July 2018 and associate producer for Hofesh’s film Clowns, which was broadcast on BBC2 in September 2018.
Before this, she worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company and managed the World Shakespeare Festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad of London 2012. Before moving to the UK in 2011, she worked at Dublin’s Gate Theatre, touring the theatre’s productions to festivals worldwide.