Chelsey Gillard has been appointed as new Artistic Director,of Milford Haven’s Torch Theatre, succeeding Peter Doran after his 25 years in the role.
Chelsey was most recently the Carne Trust Associate Director at The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough (2019-2021) where she had the great privilege of working on the premiere production of Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s 85th play The Girl Next Door. She is a founding member of PowderHouse, the Company in Residence at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff and is also an Associate Artist of Chippy Lane Productions.
Chelsey Gillard said, “I am thrilled to be joining The Torch, I have long admired the work of this brilliant team and Peter Doran’s leadership. As the only regularly funded venue in Pembrokeshire it has been a beacon of creativity and a vital hub for the community over the last 45 years. As we look forward we will need to continue to innovate, finding new ways to reach out to audiences, participants and artists in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire and beyond. I am excited to lead this next chapter alongside Executive Director Benjamin Lloyd and the Board.”
“The last few years have been so difficult for so many and theatre can be the spark of joy, connection and solace that we all so desperately need. I am looking forward to welcoming you back to our stages where I am delighted to be curating a wide range of work including the annual Panto, classic drama and home-grown new writing, whilst also celebrating the vibrant youth theatre and community groups who call The Torch home. What a privilege to be part of the legacy of this unique building, I can’t wait to get started.”
Bridgend-born Chelsey’s Chelsey career started at The Other Room in Cardiff as a Trainee Director, where she directed her first professional production, Constellation Street by Matthew Bulgo (co-directed with Dan Jones), which won Best Production in the English Language at the Wales Theatre Awards. Since then, Chelsey has gone on to work around Wales and the UK, directing productions such as BLUE (Chippy Lane and Chapter), Saethu Cwningod/ Shooting Rabbits (PowderHouse, Sherman and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), The Invisible Woman (WMC and Welsh tour) and The Burton Taylor Affair (Sherman and Oran Mor, Glasgow). Chelsey as she will join the development of the Torch Youth and Engagement strategies this Summer and will oversee the Torch Youth Theatre’s Drama Summer Schools offer in early August.
Chelsey will officially start the role of Artistic Director in October 2022, initially working alongside Peter Doran as he delivers his final season of work at the Torch. The theatre is producing a bumper programme of artistic work to mark Peter’s final season and the Torch’s 45th anniversary, with two productions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Grav and Angel respectively, a UK Tour of Angel in September and October, the Torch Theatre Company’s Autumn Production, Of Mice and Men, and the annual Christmas Pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, which will be Peter’s last show as Artistic Director. Chelsey will continue solely in the role from January 2023.