Thom Stanbury, Chief Executive of the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, will step down from his post later this year.
Thom joined the Queen’s in 2000 as Stage Manager, working his way up to Administrative Director in 2004, before taking on the mantle of Chief Executive. He will be leaving at the end of September.
During his time in Hornchurch, Thom has worked hard to develop new audiences and repertoire with an inspired programme of visiting shows to complement the Queen’s in-house productions – resulting in significant increases in audience numbers. Successes include the introduction of and enduring popularity of the Queen’s main house jazz programme. He has also helped to expand the scope of the Theatre’s Foyer space, which is now an established platform for new writing and music especially up-and-coming young musicians and singer-songwriters.
Passionate about affordability and accessibility, Thom is in the midst of overseeing a pricing review – which will help to keep the Queen’s ticket prices far lower than the national average. An advocate of best practice and equal opportunity, he initiated the practice of staff appraisals, flexible working arrangements and pioneered a thriving series of apprenticeships for young people in various backstage roles.
Thom has also been a proactive champion of funding to the Queen’s at local and national levels. He fronted the Theatre’s campaign against reductions in local government funding – eventually securing a compromise from the council to stagger the cut over several years. He has also helped to secure the Queen’s Arts Council grant over three funding cycles.
Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul says: “Thom has been a rock for the theatre and myself. He has guided us through a period of transition with great care and passion. His legacy, one of security and stability, will be felt long into the future. Although we are terribly sad to lose him, I’m thrilled that he’s embarking on an exciting new journey – one where the Queen’s Theatre no longer consumes his every waking moment.”
Councillor Melvin Wallace, the London Borough of Havering’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Community Engagement, said: “Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is an asset to the borough and Thom’s presence will be missed. We thank him for all his contributions to Havering including successfully securing Arts Council England funding, alongside other Havering Council contributions to enable the work of the theatre to continue, as well as developing the Foyer space at the Theatre, to increase access. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Thom says: “This is an immensely exciting time for the Queen’s Theatre, with our brilliant Artistic Director leading a refreshed artistic programme, and a renewed engagement with the wider theatre industry and with our community. We’re about to start on a programme of Board recruitment; we’re growing our Learning and Participation team to make better links into Havering and beyond; and the staff team is really flying in their work with new creative teams, new actors, and new partners.
“The Queen’s is a unique organisation which encourages its extraordinary staff to develop themselves and to be more than they were before. I have taken full advantage of this ethos and, I hope, helped others in my turn. I have truly enjoyed my 16 years here, however, and although it will be a terrible wrench to leave, I feel it’s now time for a change. I can’t think of better hands to leave the theatre in. I hugely look forward to watching the Queen’s continue to thrive in the coming years and returning as a paying customer!”