February 8, 2008


James Hadley, Programme Manager of Wellington’s BATS Theatre since April 2004, recently announced his resignation.

During his four years at BATS, James has programmed the venue to capacity, with an average of 62 shows being hosted each year. The resulting diversity of shows has seen the theatre host the professional theatre debuts of around 800 practitioners, further the careers of countless more and host Chapman Tripp Best Production of the Year three years in a row! During this time, BATS has also enjoyed the three highest years of average audience attendance and box office income in its nineteen-year history.

‘Being Programme Manager at BATS has been a dream job’ says James. ‘I totally believe in the philosophy driving BATS.  Developing the careers of such talented emerging theatre practitioners makes for huge job satisfaction. Wellington has a fantastic theatre community – people readily share information rather than seeing each other as rivals, and that sort of generosity is what makes so many local shows so vital and energising to experience.’

While at BATS, James has improved marketing support offered to practitioners, and the professional development advice given at the end of show seasons. He’s also worked in partnership with DANZ to strengthen the showcase of contemporary dance presented annually at BATS within the Dance Your Socks Off! Festival. ‘What I’m most proud of’ adds James, ‘has been identifying and encouraging some of New Zealand’s most talented performing artists. The playwrights, directors, designers and performers recently hosted at BATS will be among the key cultural icons and creative pioneers of tomorrow. It’s a very exciting time for the performing arts in New Zealand – I think we’re poised on the edge of a new period of enhanced infrastructure and cultural vitality.’

By the time he leaves, James will have been to 247 opening nights at BATS, plus countless others elsewhere… and he still loves theatre! His immediate plans are to travel around Italy and spend time in London with friends and family. From there James intends to research the work of UK theatre companies on community-building theatre events, before returning to Wellington to set up a new independent theatre collective specialising in such events.

BATS Theatre is seeking to recruit a new Programme Manager to begin in mid-April, with James leaving at the end of that month. Applications are due by 4th March. Further information and a job description can be obtained from BATS’ Business Manager, Clare Kerrison : clare@bats.co.nz or (04) 802 4176.

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