Vinken to leave Theatre Royal Plymouth

Adrian Vinken, chief executive of the Theatre Royal Plymouth (TRP) for more than 30 years, is standing down.

When he arrived in 1990 TRP had been built just eight years and with a 1,300-seat main auditorium and a studio theatre had potential but as yet no achievement. Vinken, who had come from Sheffield where he had founded the Leadmill music venue, quickly built an artistic programme in which touring among similar sized theatres around the country became the norm and co-productions as well as in-house productions ensured new work coming to its stages regularly. In 2003 he added an award-winning learning and production centre, TR2, on Plymouth’s waterfront.

He has also been closely involved with other cultural developments in Plymouth, including The Box, the new museum complex that opened last year, and guiding the Mayflower 400 celebrations marking the departure from Plymouth the Pilgrim Fathers for America in 1620.

“Theatre Royal is one of Plymouth's enduring success stories of the past 30 years - a bright cultural beacon for the City and the region with a well-earned national reputation for quality” said Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth City Council. “This hasn’t happened by accident but has been nurtured and brilliantly led by Adrian Vinken. Adrian set out from day one to ensure that the people of Plymouth can access the same quality of theatre as people living in London. He has championed TRP and Plymouth nationally and internationally, most recently leading Destination Plymouth and overseeing the Mayflower 400 commemoration.”

The darkest time for TRP was last year in the height of Covid when Vinken had to make 100 members of staff redundant.

“The opportunity to work in this exceptional theatre in an amazing city with positive, dedicated colleagues, inspirational world-class artists and jaw-dropping, life-affirming shows has been a rare privilege” Vinken said. “Choosing the right time to leave was always going to be a tough call, but Plymouth’s cultural scene is currently on a roll with The Box now open, Mayflower 400 shows and events coming to fruition and the British Art Show arriving. We’ve also just launched Plymouth’s new Culture and Visitor Plans for 2020-30 and we’re approaching the Arts Council’s next four-year funding round so it felt like an ideal time to step aside for a new team to take TRP forward.”

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