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17th March, 2020

Andy Lavender appointed Vice-Principal and Director of Production Arts at Guildhall School of Music & Drama

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Guildhall School is delighted to announce the appointment of Andy Lavender as Vice-Principal & Director of Production Arts, taking over from Ben Sumner who has moved to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Lavender joins full-time from 1 August after three years as Professor of Theatre & Performance and Head of Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Warwick. He was previously Head of the School of Arts at the University of Surrey, which included dance, music, theatre, sound engineering, and the conservatoire Guildford School of Acting. Prior to that he spent several years at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama as Head of Postgraduate Studies and then Dean of Research. Lavender has also previously been an External Examiner for Guildhall School’s Production Arts programme.

Andy Lavender says:

“It’s exciting to join Guildhall at a time of change and opportunity both within the School and in performing arts education more generally. I’m looking forward to working with colleagues and students in Production Arts, whose work I’ve admired as an external examiner, and engaging with wider developments at the School. I’ve been impressed by Guildhall at a distance and it’s great now to be joining the team.”

Lynne Williams, Principal of Guildhall School, says:

“We’re delighted to welcome Andy to Guildhall. His extensive experience as a theatre maker, academic and researcher will ensure our Production Arts faculty builds on its position at the cutting edge of the theatre and live events industry, and he will also bring additional expertise to our respected senior management team. We’re very excited for him to get started.”

During his career in higher education, Andy Lavender has led on many management projects including the development of what became the largest platform of postgraduate courses in theatre & performance in the UK and the introduction of a successful PhD platform (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama); oversight of new course developments in digital media arts and film and television production, and extensive work on the merger of a conservatoire with a university (University of Surrey); and a raft of industry engagement initiatives, including new partnership activities with Warwick Arts Centre, the largest multi-arts venue outside London (University of Warwick).

He is also the Subject Specialist in Theatre for the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications and chaired the Institutional Review of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2012. Lavender has served on a number of validation and review exercises in Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore and the UK, and consultancy work includes reviews of research and practice-as-research for a number of institutions in England and Scotland.

Recent writing includes the monograph Performance in the Twenty-First Century: Theatres of Engagement (Routledge 2016), and journal articles in Performance Research (on ‘costumed’ protests), Contemporary Theatre Review (on theatre and the internet); and Theatre Journal (on immersive and participatory theatre), and a chapter on new multimodal performances in a book entitled Intermedial Theatre: Principals and Practices (Red Globe Press 2019).

Practice-based research includes Agamemnon Redux (Paris, Athens and Warwick), exploring motion capture for live performance (part of the Mask and Avatar project conducted with colleagues from Paris 8 University); and a forthcoming exploration of Virtual Reality Theatre at Lyric Hammersmith (July 2020) with colleagues from Royal Holloway (University of London) and the University of Warwick.

Lavender is currently co-editing a book entitled Lightwork: texts on and from collaborative multimedia theatre, for Intellect’s Playtexts series. This gathers texts of productions (1997-2011) by Lightwork, of which he was artistic director, along with commentaries by collaborators. In his work as a theatre practitioner he has devised shows with actors, designers and writers; worked on adaptations of texts; engaged with puppetry, robotics, and various digital technologies; and enjoyed extensive collaboration with costume, lighting, set, sound and video designers and movement directors.


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