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Former artistic director “saddened” by departure from Maddermarket Theatre

PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 November 2012 | UPDATED: 10:03 27 November 2012

Artistic director Genevieve Raghu at the Maddermarket Theatre.  Photo: Bill Smith

Artistic director Genevieve Raghu at the Maddermarket Theatre. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

The former artistic director of the Maddermarket Theatre has spoken about her sadness at not being able to continue with her vision to develop the Norwich venue.

Speaking for the first time since her departure, Genevieve Raghu said when she joined the theatre in February on a three-year fixed term contract, she was full of ideas for the venue’s future.

The former Norwich High School student said: “I was led to believe at my interview and subsequent discussions that I was appointed because the board of trustees supported my vision for the theatre and the ideas I presented to them for achieving it. Sadly, it soon became clear to me that the reality was different.”

Miss Raghu, 24, said a key part of her vision had been to encourage collaborations with individuals and organisations on local and national levels and to inspire openness to new creative possibilities.

She said she had worked to develop links with the UEA, City College and schools to attract young people to the theatre, and said the children’s opera project which she is planning to run with musician Patrick Hawes was intended to continue, but with a different venue.

“I did not want to leave the Maddermarket and it is extremely disappointing that I am not going to be able to stay to see the vision that I had mapped out for the future come into fruition,” she said.

Miss Raghu said she was told in October that the theatre had decided to terminate her contract with four weeks’ notice – just as she was about to start rehearsals for The Railway Children and launch the 2013 season, which she hoped would reach out to the broadest possible audiences.

She said: “The news came to me as a great shock because my production quality or competence for the job had never been called into question.

“The Maddermarket Theatre is a gem, a beautiful theatre with an intimacy which makes for the best type of storytelling.

“I hope, with all my heart, that the theatre’s future is long, that change and development is embraced, that its audiences grow, that productions are bold and that the theatre offers the public opportunities, experiences and the possibilities that I know it is capable of.

“I am sad that I will not be able to fulfil my intended commitment to Norfolk and the Maddermarket and to take it on this journey myself.”

Miss Raghu will soon be travelling to Belfast to begin work on an English language premiere of a Spanish play by Juan Mayorga called A Boy at the Back which it is hoped will be performed in London next year.

The Maddermarket Theatre’s general manager Les Hoare said the relationship between employee and employer is private and confidential and so he felt unable to comment.

He said: “While I respect Genevieve is free to express her opinions neither I or the chairman of the board of trustees are prepared to enter into any discussion on the subject for we genuinely believe it would be wrong for us to do so.”

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