Jessica Hepburn Steps Down from Role at Lyric Theatre

Executive director plans to swim the channel to help disadvantaged youngsters

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After nine years at the helm of the Lyric, Jessica Hepburn is to stand down as the theatre’s executive director.

Under her command the theatre has completed the extensive, and acclaimed, £20million expansion project high above King Street, part-funded by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

Jessica, 44, who joined 14 years ago and was appointed to the top job in January 2006, will be making quite a splash before she leaves.

She is planning to swim the Channel to raise money for the theatre’s work with disadvantaged children and young people.

Jessica Hepburn practising cross-Channel swim

Jessica practising for her Channel swim

"It’s a very difficult decision because the Lyric is at such an exciting moment in its history, but I believe that chief executives of our major cultural buildings shouldn’t stay too long and it’s the right time to find someone new to lead the next phase of the Lyric’s life," she says, adding that she is proud of her achievements – especially the recent enlargement – and that "my love for the theatre will always be within these walls".

In the short term she plans to concentrate on her writing career having already written a successful book last year, The Pursuit of Motherhood, about spending £50,000 on fertility treatment in an ultimately frustrating bid to have a baby.

Kevin McGrath, who chairs the Lyric, says: "Jessica has been an exceptional executive director and has been instrumental in building the theatre’s artistic and financial success.

"She leaves a legacy in the capital redevelopment that has transformed Hammersmith and will be enjoyed by the west London community for decades. It is a remarkable achievement."

Plans to recruit a replacement are well underway.
The Lyric’s major facelift, the first in 30 years, now means the theatre has new drama and TV studios, a cinema and recording studio.

You can follow Jessica's plans to swim the Channel on Twitter at #Jessicaswimsthechannel2015.


July 10, 2015