Award-winning theatre company Headlong has today announced the appointment of Holly Race Roughan as their new Artistic Director. Holly, who is currently Associate Artistic Director will take up the role from 23 August, becoming the first woman to hold the position at Headlong.
A director with a reputation for developing new writing, Holly directed Headlong’s Hedda Tesman by Cordelia Lynn at Chichester Festival Theatre and The Lowry, Salford. She was an Executive Producer on Unprecedented, the BBC Four, Century Films and Headlong critically acclaimed drama anthology, directing House Party by April De Angelis and Penny by Charlene James for the series. During the pandemic Holly co-created Signal Fires, a nationwide festival for touring companies, and directed The Ghost Caller by Luke Barnes, an interactive audio drama for the city of Liverpool starring David Morrisey and Leanne Best. Previously for Headlong she directed the UK tour of People, Places & Things by Duncan MacMillan with Jeremy Herrin.
Holly joined Headlong as Associate Artistic Director in 2019 leading the company artistically from mid-2020. Since joining the company, she has commissioned new work from Laura Lomas, Chloe Moss, Josh Azouz with recent commissions including new works by Winsome Pinnock, Joel Tan, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Marina Carr, Morgan Lloyd Malcom and Amanda Wilkin, Headlong’s Writer-in-residence 20/21. Off-stage, she will lead Headlong Origins, an annual programme that nurtures emerging artists and theatre makers from all across the UK, outside of London. She will continue to work closely with Headlong’s team to deliver on the company’s commitments to justice and equality with a particular focus on race, the environment, gender, disability, class and LGBTQI+ communities.
This autumn, Holly is co-directing a new version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses for Shakespeare’s Globe. Between 2018 and 2019, Holly was the Director of the Lyric Ensemble at the Lyric Hammersmith directing The Mob Reformers by Omar El-Khairy. Other directing credits include Broken Dreams by Simon Longman for the Royal Court, Prurience for Southbank Centre and the Guggenheim Museum, Eye Of A Needle for Southwark Playhouse, and Milly Thomas’ A First World Problem and Clickbait for Theatre 503, and Best Served Cold by Cordelia Lynn for the VAULT Festival.
Holly sits on the board of arts-in-prisons charity, Kestrel Theatre Company, where she was Associate Director from 2015 to 2019.
“Theatre allows us to collectively imagine an alternative future, and I believe touring companies can be pollinators of that national imagination.
I’m hugely inspired by Headlong’s history of creating bold work that speaks directly to the political moment. I can’t wait to collaborate with our brilliant producing partners, work inclusively with the next generation of theatre-makers, and innovate what theatre can be.
I look forward to exhilarating our audiences across the UK - on stage, on screen, and on air. It’s a privilege to lead this company, to dive headlong together into an ambitious, exciting tomorrow.”
“We are delighted to appoint Holly as Headlong's new AD. She is a visionary and exciting director, whose work is contemporary, relevant and thrilling.
Holly has an exceptional commitment to writers and nurturing the next generation of artists, and we know that Headlong will have a dynamic and exciting future with her at the helm. We greatly look forward to Headlong flourishing under her imaginative creative leadership.”
“It has been a complete joy to share in Holly’s journey at Headlong, from Associate Director of People, Places and Things, to the director of the UK tour of that groundbreaking show. Then as Associate Artistic Director of the company, programming ambitious revivals such as August Wilson’s Jitney at Leeds Playhouse, cross-media collaborations such as Unprecedented with the BBC, Signal Fires with over forty UK touring companies and many more productions for stage and screen that are soon to be announced.
Holly will be a transformative leader of Headlong, with a commitment to developing talent from outside of London to invigorate audiences across the country.”