David Hill (arts director)

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David Hill is a theatre and arts director and producer, founder of the leading UK cultural events and arts agency ArtReach which initiates, develops and produces extraordinary creative arts projects and programmes. Hill has created and produced the innovative Night of Festivals project,[1] produced the world’s largest interactive video artwork (Under Scan by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer)[2] in Trafalgar Square, London and in public spaces across the UK East Midlands and created/delivered a range of high-profile new arts events such Three Cities Create and Connect, The Lyric Lounge[3] and Dance in the Park. He has also delivered projects in Barcelona, India and the West Indies.

Born in Birmingham, and following a degree in Drama and English at Hull University, Hill started his career as a theatre practitioner with renowned theatre companies such as Welfare State International, IOU Theatre and the Pip Simmons Theatre Group. Appointed as the first Marketing Director at the 2,000 seat Birmingham Hippodrome, he established the marketing and publicity department for the venue during two major capital refurbishments of the Hippodrome in the 1980s. During this period the theatre was established as a premier touring venue and as a home to Welsh National Opera and Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet).

Returning to a role as theatre director, writer and actor, Hill established the pioneering Theatre Station Blyth in Northumberland, leading a team of theatre professionals in developing original community theatre with 100 unemployed adults, winning a National Training Award, and being shortlisted with the RSC and Jiving Lindy Hoppers for the prestigious, national Sainsbury Arts in Education Awards. During this time Hill created and directed shows, including The Tale of the Corn Woman, The TV Addict, Stitch-Up, Seven and War Bonds. In 1995 Theatre Station was reinvented and re-launched by Fran Castle and Alison Walton-Robson as the award-winning Headway Theatre.

As an associate director at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham in the early 1990s, Hill had particular responsibility for new theatre writing, working with playwrights such as Jude Alderson, Barrie Keeffe, Peter McGarry and David Calcutt. Shows directed included All Change, A Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Way of the World, The Mystery Plays, Belonging, Family Affairs, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar and The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty, with co-directing work on Macbeth and Jane Eyre.

In 1994, following the playwright’s death, he produced and directed The Official Tribute to Dennis Potter persuading Michael Grade (Channel 4 TV) and Alan Yentob (BBC 1) to jointly support and participate in the project. For this high-profile event Hill directed contributions from, amongst others, Alan Bates, Gemma Craven, Imelda Staunton, George Baker, Frank Finlay, Douglas Henshall, Kika Markham and Corin Redgrave, and also engaged and produced participation from writers and broadcasters Lynda La Plante, Alan Plater, Sheena MacDonald, Piers Haggard, Kennith Trodd and Melvyn Bragg.

As director of the Arts Management Centre (a business unit of The Management Centre) in 1994/5, Hill implemented and delivered national arts training programmes and designed and delivered the first national conference on the arts lottery. From 1996 he project directed all aspects of the design and building of Maidenhead’s £10 million new arts centre, Norden Farm Centre for the Arts. He opened the Centre by producing two special galas with contributors including Michael Parkinson, Lesley Garrett, Timothy West, Prunella Scales, Jimmy Tarbuck, Laurie Holloway, Marion Montgomery, Ronnie Corbett and Rolf Harris.

Over fifteen years since 1996, Hill has developed ArtReach working with partners such as Arts Council England, Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), Renaissance, Sport England, the Crafts Council, many Local Authorities, Regional Development Agencies, arts organisations and venues (international, national, regional and local) and individual artists. In 2005/6 ArtReach commissioned international artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to create Under Scan, which subsequently was taken to Venice Biennale in 2007 and produced by Hill in Trafalgar Square in 2008. Hill co-wrote the book Under Scan with Lozano-Hemmer, published in 2006.[4]

Hill has been an adviser to West Midlands Arts, Northern Arts and South West Arts in the UK and is a Trustee (Vice Chair) of Curve (theatre) (major new performing arts centre in Leicester, UK). He has previously been a board member/adviser for Triangle Arts Centre, Playtrain, Midlands Arts Centre and Worcester Swan Theatre. He has been an assessor for the UK Regional Arts Lottery Programme and has been an assessor to Arts Council England for both Capital and Arts for Everyone programmes.

References[edit]

  • Newcastle Journal (leading article) 19 June 1991
  • The Times (review of All Change) 2 Sept 1992
  • Gloucestershire Echo (feature) 1 April 1994
  • Western Daily Press, 26 May 1994
  • The Guardian (review of Belonging) 27 May 1994
  • Gloucester Citizen (feature) 21 July 1994
  • Birmingham Post (Dennis Potter Tribute article) 5 November 1994
  • The Guardian, feature on Dennis Potter Tribute, 8 November 1994
  • Maidenhead Advertiser (profile) 22 January 1999
  • The Stage (feature) 13 April 2000
  • RIBA Magazine (feature) January 2001
  • Wall Street Journal (article on Under Scan) 13 April 2009