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NTW Artistic Director John McGrath

National Theatre Wales (NTW) has just announced that founding artistic director, John McGrath has been appointed as artistic director and chief executive of Manchester International Festival. McGrath will take up the post part-time this September and full time from January 2016.

McGrath launched the non-building-based National Theatre Wales in November 2009, since when the company has staged productions all over Wales, the UK, internationally and online over four seasons. Highlights have included Michael Sheen s The Passion, staged in Port Talbot, the critically-acclaimed Coriolan/us performed in an aircraft hangar for the London 2012 Festival, and McGrath s own pioneering staging of The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, which was performed across Wales and live-streamed on an interactive website in April 2012.

Under McGrath's seven-year leadership, NTW has built an international reputation for making large-scale site-specific work, for digital innovation (including its online community), for weaving tangible community engagement into its productions, collaborating with international companies including Berlin s Rimini Protokoll and Tokyo s New National Theatre and reinforcing Welsh artists including Owen Sheers and Ed Thomas place on the global stage.

McGrath has directed many of NTW s productions, including its first, A Good Night Out in the Valleys, Love Steals Us From Loneliness, In Water I'm Weightless, and The Opportunity of Efficiency (produced by the New National Theatre, Tokyo),

Most recently, he has directed Mother Courage and her Children, performed in a Labour Club in Merthyr Tydfil by an all-female cast. It is the first production in NTW s fifth season, which will include a new version of the Iliad, directed by Mike Pearson & Mike Brookes and The Insatiable, Inflatable Candylion, made by Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys, Wils Wilson and Tim Price, and staged at Christmas 2015.

Before his appointment at National Theatre Wales, McGrath had been a theatre director in New York, London and Manchester. From 1999-2008 he was Artistic Director of Contact Theatre, Manchester. He trained and worked in New York for several years, including a stint as Associate Director of leading experimental company Mabou Mines. As a director, he has worked with a wide range of artists including poet Lemn Sissay (Storm, Something Dark and Why I Don t Hate White People) and hip-hop theatre artist Benji Reid (b like water). In 2004 he published a book about art in the surveillance age, Loving Big Brother: Performance, Privacy and Surveillance Space, and in 2005 was awarded the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Cultural Leadership Award. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University.

John McGrath said:My time at National Theatre Wales has been a joyful and deeply rewarding experience. The appetite in Wales for theatrical innovation, for international collaboration and for the development of a vibrant, fresh arts scene has been wonderful to encounter. I know that National Theatre Wales faces a very exciting future, with many fantastic artists and companies keen to collaborate with the company. I ve had amazing support from the NTW board, from the Arts Council of Wales, and from NTW s extraordinary staff team, and I know that the company is in very good hands as it looks ahead.

The Chair of National Theatre Wales board, Phil George, said:John has given inspired, generous and utterly committed leadership to National Theatre Wales. He has built a theatre company rooted in the communities of Wales which has European stature and which has a truly exciting future. He will now use his extraordinary gifts in leading a great international festival, a testimony to his achievements in Wales.

Professor Dai Smith, Chairman of the Arts Council of Wales added:"When the Arts Council of Wales bravely undertook to create National Theatre Wales almost a decade ago the need was plain but, as many believed, the obstacles to success were against us. Yet now, in 2015 and beyond, we have in Wales a cultural institution rooted deep in our society and acclaimed worldwide for its imaginative practice and its artistic innovation.

National Theatre Wales will appoint a new Artistic Director & Chief Executive later this year.

www. nationaltheatrewales.org