Lorraine Heggessey Becomes Chair of the Lyric Hammersmith

Former controller of BBC 1 introduced Strictly Come Dancing

Lorraine Heggessey
Lorraine Heggessey

Lorraine Heggessey has been made the new Chair of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

She has previously worked range of high-profile roles in the public, private and charity sectors. She was the first female controller of BBC 1 and introduced a number of flagship shows including Strictly Come Dancing and the new Dr Who. She also brought additional dramas into the schedule many of which became long running series such as Spooks and Waking the Dead.

As CEO of talkbackThames she overhauled the programming portfolio and created a new digital division; in 2012 as Founder and Executive Chair of Boom Pictures she built the seventh largest independent production company in the UK.

More recently, her charity roles have included CEO of The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. She is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society and a frequent judge for BAFTA and the Royal Television Society.

She will lead the Board of Trustees as the organisation enters its 2022 Season and succeeds Lisa Burger who has served on the Lyric board for 10 years and as Chair since 2018. She stepped down from the post in January 2022.

She said: “It’s a privilege to be joining such a talented team led by the brilliant CEO and Artistic Director, Rachel O’Riordan. I was impressed by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s ambitious creative vision, impressive programme of forthcoming productions and its commitment to develop diverse talent in every aspect of its work. As a West Londoner, I know how much the community appreciates having such an excellent theatre on its doorstep which also gives opportunities to many young people who might otherwise not be able to get involved in the creative arts. I look forward to working with the executive team and the Board of Trustees at this pivotal moment as the Lyric rises to the challenges of the past couple of years with renewed vigour.”

David Sharkey, Vice Chair of the Board, said, “This is the successful culmination of a rigorous and wide-ranging search which has attracted the interest of some very high calibre candidates and speaks strongly about the appeal of our wonderful theatre and the talented colleagues who work in it. In making its decision, the Board was particularly impressed by Lorraine’s creative leadership and energy, backed by her outstanding track record across various sectors. With Lorraine as our new Chair we look forward to the future with great confidence and excitement.”

Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, said, “I am delighted that Lorraine Heggessey has agreed to succeed Lisa Burger CBE as Chair of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. Lorraine’s commitment to talent development, inclusion and excellence have been defining principles of her career so far and align strongly with our vision for the Lyric. I know that she will bring new energy and ideas, and that her knowledge of West London will inform her relationship with us. Her exceptional success is underpinned with courage and integrity. I, with our committed and talented Board of Trustees; Executive Director Amy Belson, and the wider team, look forward to working with Lorraine as we look to the future with ambition and purpose.”

The current Lyric Hammersmith Theatre Board members are: Rondette Amoy Smith, Cllr Jonathan Caleb-Landy, Lameya Chaudhury, Cllr. Sue Fennimore, David Greig, Lorraine Heggessey, Farah Karim-Cooper, Cllr Bora Kwon, Kamran Mallick, Liz Elston Mayhew, Julie Molloy, Cllr Patricia Quigley, Derek Richards, David Sharkey.

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February 25, 2022