The Lowry team: (Left to right) Steve Cowton, Michael Simpson, Lucy Dusgate, Julia Fawcett OBE, Eckhard Thiemann and Rupert Thomson.

The Lowry unveils artistic ‘dream team’

The Lowry has announced the appointment of three specialist programming associates to its artistic leadership team.

Rupert Thomson, Lucy Dusgate and Eckhard Thiemann join The Lowry’s programming team – curating the theatre, digital and dance offering respectively.

All three will report directly to the venue’s chief executive, Julia Fawcett OBE.

Each experts in their field, the trio will be responsible for ensuring The Lowry’s artistic programme remains one of the most creative and ambitious in the country. They all join the organisation on a part-time basis and will maintain other commitments in addition to their Lowry role.

Thomson is the artistic director at Summerhall – the creative hub for the arts in Edinburgh that he has led since it opened in 2011.

Credited with catapulting the venue onto the city’s highly competitive arts scene – he was declared the ‘Saviour of the Fringe’ by The Herald newspaper in 2012 thanks to his stance on presenting high-quality, international work with artistic, rather than commercial, imperatives at its heart.

His previous roles include: artistic director of Roxy Art House, editor of The Skinny and director of the Scottish Music Industry Association. He is also currently the visiting fellow in fine and visual arts at the University of Northumbria. At The Lowry, he will be responsible for identifying new theatre companies whose work will complement the centre’s artistic programme – and to look at the platforms available to stage that work.

Dusgate is the creative producer of Quays Culture – the body responsible for running arts and cultural events across Salford Quays. In that role, she has delivered landmark events such as Speed of Light, Water Fools and Honour, which attracted audiences in excess of 200,000 people.

Prior to Quays Culture, she worked at Arts Council England as the relationship manager for the digital and creative economy, as a director of Lumen Arts Ltd and deputy director at Lime Arts Ltd. At The Lowry, she will look to develop a platform for the growing digital arts scene – which will be presented across all performance and display spaces.

Thiemann is the artistic director at Shubbak – the festival of contemporary Arab culture taking place in London in July 2015. He has been advising The Lowry on its dance programme since May and was responsible for securing Theo Clinkard’s Of Land And Tongue and Aakash Odedra’s Rising, among other work, for the venue’s current autumn / winter programme.

He was one of the producers of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad. His previous positions include: artistic programme director at Pavilion Dance in Bournemouth and curator of the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival. At The Lowry, his remit will be to introduce new dance companies to the programme and present those works in alternative spaces throughout and around the building.

Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “Given the unique nature of our artistic programme, it’s not surprising that we have found an equally unique solution to our organisational structure.

“By appointing three programming associates we are committing equally and wholeheartedly to each artform. Rupert, Lucy and Eckhard are incredibly passionate about their work and that passion will translate in the work they programme for our audiences.

“The new structure will also allow us to respond quicker to changes in those fields and to embrace new artistic opportunities as they arise. It is a flexible approach that we believe positions us well for the future and will, in time, become commonplace among multi-arts venues.”

The three programming associates join an established in-house programming team, led by Fawcett, which includes Steve Cowton (head of theatre operations) and Claire Symonds (studio programmer / producer) as well as Michael Simpson, the director of visual arts and engagement, who is responsible for the centre’s visual arts offering.


(from a press release)