Forest Forge Theatre Company has announced the appointment of Sharon Lawless as its new CEO and Creative Producer following the departure in April of Artistic Director, Kirstie Davis.

Lawless joins Forest Forge in this newly created role from Reading Rep, where she was Executive Director. Lawless also previously worked for two of the south’s flagship producing theatres; the Salisbury Playhouse and the Nuffield Theatre where she was Community Producer for over 10 years and first worked for Forest Forge between 1994 – 1998 as Funding and Development Director.

At Forest Forge, Lawless will be responsible for establishing its Ringwood theatre space as a new cultural hub for the region, engaging, supporting and creating new partnerships with local artists across all art forms, as well as producing newwork at the venue and on tour. Lawless will also expand Forest Forge’s extensive creative learning and outreach work, developing new community projects across the south-west

Lawless originally trained as an actor at Rose Bruford College and toured in TIE and community theatre companies throughout the UK and Vienna. Lawless recently completed an MA in Cultural and Arts Management at the University of Winchester, graduating in 2014.

Forest Forge Chair Dr Miranda Whitehead commented:

“ We are absolutely delighted to welcome Sharon Lawless to the new CEO and Creative Producer role at Forest Forge Theatre Company. Sharon has huge experience of local and national arts provision and her connection with Forest Forge goes back to 1994 when she raised the funding to secure our permanent base in Ringwood. We are sure that she is just the person to take the company forward in this new and very exciting phase of our community development.”

Sharon Lawless commented:

“It’s really exciting to be returning to Forest Forge especially as the theatre company celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. I’m delighted to be entrusted with continuing the theatre company’s legacy and help to develop our Ringwood home into a vibrant arts venue that all the New Forest community can experience. I’m keen to bring new work to our local audiences, support new writing and develop partnerships with local artists as well as continue to take Forest Forge’s work out on tour across the south and beyond.”