Cast in Doncaster's new boss is excited at the future
The new temporary boss at Cast in Doncaster said there are exciting times ahead for the venue, which is celebrating its third birthday.
Mathew Russell has come to Cast as its interim executive director following a year working in a similar role at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, helping the company mark its 60th anniversary with a new vision.
He has a long career in theatres around the country and ran the Greenwich+Docklands Festivals in London for eight years.
Mathew said of Cast: “It’s a really fantastic place to be. The success of the last three years has been amazing. There’s so much to build upon. The autumn season shows are off to a flying start.
“There’s a thrilling season ahead which will appeal to a diverse audience.”
Mathew said he was in Doncaster to prepare the theatre for its next chapter following the departure of its first-ever artistic director, Kully Thiarai, for a job running the National Theatre of Wales.
Mathew said he is very keen to expand community participation at Cast.
“We’ve had great examples of projects we’ve been involved with and worked with members of the community.
“It’s appropriate for us to do more of that with older and younger people. We’ve been talking a lot about it.
“Everyone here has also done a brilliant job in terms of how we’ve supported regional artists in terms of talent development and the development of work.
“We’re taking premieres of new work to the next stage.”
Mathew praised the work done to create audiences for the new venue, which recently had a sell-out world premiere of Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre.
He said: “Forty-nine per cent of the audience for Jane Eyre had never been to Cast before and there are lots and lots of communities we’re still trying to tap into – lots of people who live in the borough and surrounding areas.”
He plans to do more work outside in Sir Nigel Gresley Square, following the big success of last summer’s spectacular show The Colour of Time. That was based on the Indian festival of Holi with its tradition of people throwing coloured powder on each other.
The Clash of Drums, coming on September 18, will feature drummers and fireworks in another outdoor spectacle.
Mathew said: “I think more and more people know what Cast is about and are coming on a more regular basis. As they test it out, they’re coming back – and more regularly.
“However, we can never sit on our laurels. There are lots of people we still haven’t attracted to cross the threshold.”
For details of the Cast autumn season, go online to Cast in Doncaster
Book at the venue on Waterdale, online or call the box office on 01302 303 959.