NEWS: Ellen McDougall appointed new director of Gate Theatre

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The Gate Theatre today announces that Ellen McDougall has been appointed as its new Artistic Director. McDougall, who takes up the position in March 2017, is currently an Associate Artist at the Gate, served as Associate Director for two years from 2012, and directed an acclaimed production of Idomeneus at the theatre in 2014. She replaces Christopher Haydon who leaves to pursue a Clore Fellowship and a number of freelance opportunities.

Ellen McDougall said today:

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been appointed Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre.

“It is both daunting and inspiring to be taking over from Christopher Haydon‘s bold and passionate tenure. His programming has showcased an immense talent for theatre that tackles important questions of global concern, the very best new writing, and a community of brilliant theatre makers. Christopher has an amazing group of people that run the company with him, and I’m incredibly grateful to be inheriting such a passionate, supportive, and ambitious team to collaborate with.”

“To me, the Gate Theatre is a home for fearless emerging artists who want to challenge the assumptions about the way theatre is made and experienced in this country. Its internationalism is underpinned by a belief that drawing on a diverse range of forms and stories inspires the most exciting theatre. It seems to me, that now more than ever, an approach that looks beyond national borders in recognition of our common humanity, is completely essential to making theatre that asks the biggest questions about what it means to be alive now. I can’t wait to welcome the most exceptional emerging artists from here and abroad to make work at the Gate that is inspired by irreverence and vision, in its intimate, shapeshifting, magical space.”

Christopher Haydon said today: “I am stupidly delighted that Ellen will be taking over as Artistic Director at the Gate Theatre. She has been a long term friend and colleague and makes outstanding, bold and visionary theatre. She started her relationship with the Gate four years ago as our Associate Director and later went on to direct our hugely successful production of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s Idomeneus. Her appointment to the post of Artistic Director is further proof of the vital role that the Gate plays in the process of discovering, developing and promoting the most exciting theatre talent of the future. I have no doubt that she will bring both continuity and change to the organisation – holding true to the theatre’s key values of internationalism, diversity and supporting emerging artists, whilst presenting a bold new artistic vision through which to promote those ideals.”

Chair of the Board, Joseph Smith, said today: “The search for Christopher’s successor was both thrilling and humbling as so many outstanding candidates applied from a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds.  After this exhaustive search The Board are delighted to be appointing Ellen to the role of Artistic Director.  We were taken with her bold artistic vision, proven directing talent and understanding of the energy and passion it takes to lead the organisation.  These skills will stand her in good stead to take The Gate into the next period of its development as one of the country’s leading homes for new theatrical talent and ground-breaking theatrical work.”

McDougall’s previously directed Idomeneus for the Gate Theatre in 2014.  Her recent directing work includes The Rolling Stone (Orange Tree Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange), The Glass Menagerie (Headlong, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Everyman and Playhouse) and Anna Karenina (Manchester Royal Exchange).  She directed the 2015 Lyric Hammersmith Panto, Cinderella by Tom Wells and will also direct this year’s Aladdin, by Joel Horwood. Her other previous credits include Glitterland (Secret Theatre Company at the Lyric Hammersmith) and  Henry the Fifth (Unicorn). Her upcoming productions include The Remains of Maisie Duggan (Abbey Theatre, Dublin) and Othello (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse).

She was awarded an International Artists’ Development Award (ACE/British Council) in 2012 and spent time in Germany; she was the runner up in the JMK Award 2008 and directed A Kind of Alaska at BAC. Her production of Ivan and the Dogs (ATC/Soho Theatre) was nominated for an Olivier Award 2011. 


The Gate Theatre sits above the Prince Albert pub in Notting Hill. We have been inspiring audiences and artists alike since 1979. In our intimate, ever-transforming 75 seat venue, we produce epic theatre that tackles big ideas of global concern. We act as a loudspeaker for unheard voices from across the globe. We are a small theatre but we always think big. We take pride in our reputation for being the home of restless creative ambition. We are a celebrated ‘teaching theatre’: a place where exceptional and diverse emerging theatre-makers shine, and where audiences get to see the theatre leaders of tomorrow, today.

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MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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