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Charity-run theatre announces new chair of board

This news post is 8 months old

Big Issue editor Paul McNamee will join the Citizens Theatre.

The Citizens Theatre has announced that Paul McNamee has been appointed as the new chair of its board of trustees. 

Paul will succeed April Chamberlain, who has served the maximum term and will step down at the AGM in November 2023.

Following a comprehensive recruitment process, Paul joined the board earlier this year as a new trustee and chair designate. 

He will take up the role of Chair from November 21, allowing a managed handover of board leadership. He will help steer the organisation into its next exciting chapter as it prepares for an anticipated return to its Gorbals home in 2024.

Paul is UK Editor of Big Issue, a position he has held since 2011. 

He began his career in local newspapers in Northern Ireland before co-founding Belfast-based Irish music magazine Blank with Colin Murray over 25 years ago. He moved to the NME in London and subsequently worked for a number of titles, including the Daily Mirror, The Guardian, Belfast Telegraph and The Irish Times.

Since taking charge at The Big Issue, he has guided the publication through a shift to digital-first output. 

He has been named British Editor of The Year three times by the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors 2013, 2016, 2022), was inducted into the PPA Scotland Hall of Fame in 2021 and voted BSME Editors Editor of the year in 2021. He is a regular contributor to news, politics and sports programmes on the BBC and Sky.

Paul McNamee said: “The Citizens Theatre represents the best of Glasgow. I’ve always thought it significant that the theatre is nestled just south of the river, in the Gorbals, an area that has welcomed refugees for decades. It makes art and drama feel, as it should, like a vital voice, culturally, socially and politically. In my time at The Big Issue, a succession of actors, from Gary Oldman to Rupert Everett, have spoken of the unique feeling of the Citizens, and the start it provided in their careers, something they carry with them at all times. To be involved now, as Glasgow grows and as the Citz is reborn, feels very special.”

Alex Reedijk, vice chair of the Citizens Theatre Board, said: “We are delighted to welcome Paul to the Board as a new trustee and Chair. 

“Over the last 5 years, in partnership with the management team, the Board has worked tirelessly to navigate the company through the Redevelopment project - in quite extraordinary times for the sector. 

“Now, as we prepare to re-open in 2024, it is an ideal time for a new Chair to explore the future ambitions of the company for the next decade. Paul will make a huge contribution to this new era in the theatre’s history, and we look forward to him taking up post in November.”

Dominic Hill, artistic director, and Alex McGowan Executive, director, added: “We are really looking forward to working with Paul as our new chair. 

“His contribution to the world of publishing is remarkable and his current role as the UK Editor of the Big Issue, gives him a unique understanding of the social, political and economic challenges facing individuals and communities across the UK. 

“Through his leadership roles, he has shown innovation and a passion for reinvention, which will be a great asset to the theatre as we look forward to re-opening our Gorbals home next year.”