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Dame Heather has a rich and diverse background bringing a wealth of experience to the world of theatre. She recently set up Cove Pictures, which develops TV drama and feature documentaries and is particularly focused on working with and supporting emerging writers. Nurturing talent was a major focus of her work at Channel 4 as well as reaching out to audiences on a range of new media platforms, which she led in her work as a board member at the Royal Opera House taking ballet and opera into cinemas and on line.
Heather is also a founding member of Into Film, which supports film clubs in-schools, introducing primary and secondary pupils to a broader range of films, and which runs film-making courses for excluded young people building an awareness of the industry and the different opportunities available. Heather is a board member of Met Film which offers BA and MA courses in film with a strong track record of those students moving onto work. Diversity and working on shifting representation, has been a long-standing commitment and she is a founding director of TIME’S UP UK.
A regular speaker on leadership and diversity issues, Heather brings an extraordinary wealth of talents and expertise to the role spanning film and TV, public services, football and finance. Her portfolio of non-executive appointments includes serving on the boards of Grosvenor Estates GBI, Royal Opera House, Football Association, Crossrail, the Supervisory Board of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Bank of England and the BBC.
Heather takes over from former chair Nicholas Allott OBE who remains a trustee amongst a distinguished and diversely talented board. Her tenure begins with Soho Theatre’s Dean Street audiences topping 180,000 per year, performers from around the world, a national and international touring programme, and Soho’s co-production of Fleabag is about to open Off-Broadway. Alongside this, Soho Theatre’s digital comedy is available on Virgin Media, Comedy Central and inflight on British Airways; and, working collaboratively with Waltham Forest Council on the iconic former Granada Cinema to create a comedy and entertainment venue in Walthamstow.
Dame Heather Rabbatts DBE says, ‘I’m a longstanding admirer of Soho Theatre’s work across new theatre, comedy and cabaret, the young and diverse artists and audiences that are enthusiastically drawn to it, the busy and buzzing bar at its heart. I’m delighted to be joining the company as we take on enormously exciting projects at the Walthamstow Granada, and take our creative work way beyond Soho on tour and capture it for TV and digital download. My thanks to Nick Allott who has been an incredible chair and champion for Soho Theatre, and leaves that role with the company set for still greater things. I look forward to working with the whole Soho team on the next exciting phase of our growth and development’.’
Dame Heather Rabbatt’s appointment as Chair of Soho Theatre marks a team restructure. David Luff is the new Creative Director following Steve Marmion’s recent departure, and Lakesha Arie-Angelo in a new role as Associate Artist.
Executive Director Mark Godfrey says, ‘Alongside the whole team at Soho Theatre, I’m thrilled to be working with Dame Heather who is an inspirational chair with a wealth of experience, whilst continuing to collaborate with David who will bring tremendous passion, commitment and knowledge to his new role. In keeping with Soho’s mission and track record for nurturing new talent, Lakesha has impressed everyone in her time as Resident Director and we’re delighted to welcome her in her new role of Associate Artist.’