Joanna joined the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, in January 2019, as Director and Chief Executive, having previously been Principal and Chief Executive of LAMDA, The London Academy of Dramatic Art. A theatre director by profession and previously Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse, Joanna brings to her role a strong vision for the venue’s future, to create great drama and to give the town and county a theatre it can once again be proud of. She recently directed a socially distanced production of The Snow Queen for the theatre as well as the 2019 pantomime Sleeping Beauty.
Under her leadership the LAMDA embarked upon a successful £29 million capital programme to build 10 rehearsals studios, two theatres and a TV suite for LAMDA, which was completed in summer 2017 winning a RIBA regional and national award. She developed international relationships for the academy, increased the touring work of the school, forging relationships with City College New York, Harlem School of Arts, UCLA and Moscow Arts Theatre School amongst others. Joanna was instrumental in shaping and launching the Virtual Conservatoire, a cross arts collaborative digital workspace.
Before LAMDA she was Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse. Under her leadership, the Playhouse became one of the leading regional producing theatres of the last decade.
She is currently a board member of the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme (an Arts Council of England, NPO Sector Support Agency), President of Guildford Shakespeare Company as well as a Trustee of Frantic Assembly. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has served as the external examiner for The Lir Conservatoire in Dublin.
Previous roles include Associate Director of the Octagon Theatre Bolton and Head of Education and Participation for Birmingham Rep, where she created a successful and wide-ranging education and outreach strategy, as well as commissioning and directing new writing including work by Debbie Isitt and Richard Cameron. Joanna has worked as a freelance director and writer for Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the Young Vic London, Sheffield Theatres, the New Vic Theatre Newcastle Under Lyme, The Watermill West Berkshire Playhouse, The Mill at Sonning and the Watford Palace Theatre, amongst others. She has written seven pantomimes for Salisbury Playhouse, as well as Cinderella and Aladdin for Watford Palace Theatre and the book for the musical Two Cities by Howard Goodall. She won a Theatrical Management Association Award for her production of The Hired Man at Salisbury Playhouse and the Olwen Wymark Award from the Writers Guild of Great Britain for her work nurturing new writing at LAMDA. Her adaptation and direction of The War of The Worlds for live performance on Resonance FM Radio and the Broadcast 2008 Festival was nominated for a Culture Award North East.