Frantic Assembly has today announced Mark Hawes as the new Chair of Trustees. Hawes will succeed current Chair Sian Alexander on 1st March.
He brings to the Board a unique combination of charity governance and other legal expertise, regional theatre industry experience and contacts, a track record in promoting diversity and inclusion, and a passionate commitment to Frantic Assembly’s objectives of attracting new audiences and creating opportunities for individuals who might see theatre as challenging or alienating.
Speaking of his appointment Mark Hawes said:
“I feel privileged to be elevated to the role of Chair of Frantic Assembly – this phenomenally exciting, physically dynamic and, in the best sense, disruptive force in both international theatre production and drama training.
In my eyes, Frantic Assembly is beauty in motion, literally and figuratively. I’m enthused by the fact that the company – under the brilliant artistic leadership of Scott Graham – succeeds in doing exactly what theatre must do for the art form to flourish in these screen-addicted times: it engages new audiences and inspires, trains and empowers new talented practitioners, most importantly finding them in places that theatre typically doesn’t reach.
I’m exhilarated by the prospect of the innovative productions and life-changing training opportunities to be created in the years ahead by Scott Graham, together with Executive Director Kerry Whelan; Producer Peter Holland; Head of Learning & Participation Marilyn Rice; and the whole wonderful, energized staff and team of Learn & Train practitioners, supported by me and my fellow Trustees. Watch this moving space!
I warmly applaud Sian Alexander for her long-term role as Chair and for her helpful advice to me. She is a formidable act to follow.”
Sian Alexander, Executive Director of Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, has been the Chair of Frantic Assembly’s Trustees since 2011. Of her tenure and Mark’s appointment she said:
“It’s been an honour and privilege to be Chair of Frantic Assembly over the past 9 years. The company has changed and grown so much in this time and this year’s 25th birthday celebrations have marked a real high point. I am incredibly proud of Frantic’s work and all that the company does to inspire and engage the next generation of theatre audiences and makers. I am delighted to be handing over to Mark Hawes and feel sure that with his support, Frantic will continue to flourish. I wish Scott, Kerry and the entire company every success.”
Mark’s interests in theatre – ignited while he was growing up on the Yorkshire coast watching innumerable seaside variety shows and performances of travelling theatre and ballet companies – have developed alongside the pursuit of his professional career as a London lawyer. He is head of the charities & not-for-profit practice and former head of the corporate practice in the law firm Bristows LLP, in which roles he has amassed considerable experience of advising on governance and a myriad of other matters encountered by charitable companies in the arts & culture and other sectors. Year-on-year, he is recommended as a charity expert by the Legal 500 legal directory, which has published glowing client feedback on, for instance, his eye for strategy and his “grace and diplomacy in keeping everyone informed, aligned and chipper.”
Ten years ago, Mark happily combined his interests in theatre and charity law by joining the board of trustees of The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST), a charity dedicated to promoting British theatre which is supported by many of the leading names in the industry, including, most prominently, by Mark’s inspirational fellow trustee, Sir Ian McKellen. In his (continuing) voluntary role as RTST deputy chair, Mark originated and now runs the prestigious annual RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award scheme. This scheme dually supports British regional theatres by providing meaningful production grants and publicity, and up-and-coming theatre directors by facilitating spectacular career-breakthrough opportunities to direct fully-funded mid-scale regional touring productions.
Mark, a State-educated gay man, is an advocate of diversity and inclusion in his areas of professional influence. Mark co-founded Bristows’ LGBT+ network and he is a senior member of the firm’s diversity and inclusion committee. He is proud of the fact that, of the four winners thus far of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, two have been PoC, and three have been women.