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Julian Bird enjoying #InspiringFutureTheatre Day (Photo: Ewa Ferdynus)

Julian Bird enjoying #InspiringFutureTheatre Day (Photo: Ewa Ferdynus)

Julian Bird to step down as Chief Executive of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre 

Kitty Underwood

By Kitty Underwood Published 1 December 2021

Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre, Julian Bird, has announced that he will leave his role in May 2022, after over 11 years in the role.

Commenting on his decision to leave, Julian said:

“It had always been my intention to think about moving on around the 10th anniversary of my time in the role, which would have been in November 2020.  As with so much, the pandemic intervened in that. However by May 2022 I will have been CEO for over 11.5 years and then feels the right time to depart.

“Before then we have much to accomplish, not least whatever the pandemic throws at our industry this winter, the completion of a comprehensive economic impact study for the theatre industry, and producing the Olivier Awards for the 11th time.

“There will be time to reflect on the past years in due course, but I would like now to express my enormous gratitude to both Boards, and the extraordinary team of staff that I have the privilege to lead.”

Eleanor Lloyd, President of SOLT, joined her fellow president Stephanie Sirr of UK Theatre in thanking Julian Bird for his sterling work and strong leadership, saying:

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire membership of SOLT, I would like to thank Julian Bird for an incredible tenure as our Chief Executive. He has transformed all areas of the organisation over the last 10 years and has led us with commitment, care and calm not least through what has undoubtedly been the most challenging period in the history of the theatre industry. We will miss him hugely and wish him very well for the future.”

Stephanie Sirr, President of UK Theatre, said:

“Julian has been an extraordinary Chief Executive – UK Theatre has gone through enormous and very valuable change but above all his tenacity, strategic thinking and drive have been tested during this pandemic. The industry is in a much better place than it would otherwise have been thanks to his incredible work and we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.”

SOLT and UK Theatre will employ a global executive search and leadership advisor to help find the new appointee.


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