This week, the Unity announced the appointment of Matthew Linley as artistic director and CEO. He will succeed Graeme Phillips, who has been at the theatre’s helm for the last 34 years, and maintained its tradition of staging radical but accessible work that stretches back to the 1930s.
Matthew is currently general manager with Eastern Angles, an acclaimed touring theatre company based in Ipswich. He has previously led venues in Leicester (Phoenix Arts), Reading (21 South Street) and Bath (Michael Tippett Centre).
He said: “I am thrilled to be invited to become the new chief executive and artistic director of Unity Theatre. To be asked to lead this remarkable venue with its reputation for challenging and edgy work is a dream job for me. Independent theatre, supporting new and home-grown talent and venues rooted in a strong sense of community have always been key passions of mine.
“In the last few years I’ve been making regular visits to Liverpool and I’ve always been struck by the way the city holds culture close to its heart. There is a very real sense of collaboration, pride, ambition and optimism, and I’m looking forward to being part of that, and working with the artists and audiences of this brilliant city.
“Most of all though I want to build on the legacy of Graeme’s 34 year tenure and work with the whole Unity team to ensure the theatre continues not just to thrive but to punch way above its weight in the city, regionally, nationally and beyond.”
Matthew’s independent producer credits include chairing the Artist Taking the Lead panel for the East, four Phrased & Confused festival programmes and a national tour, UK tours for Croatian radical theatre makers BadCo and House of Extreme Music Theatre, the hub’s Insulting Cabaret (Royal National Theatre and Southwark Playhouse) and producing all of Windswept Productions tours and activities.
Graeme Phillips will be leaving the Unity in July next year.