Dick Penny

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dick Penny
Born Droitwich Spa
Nationality British
Occupation arts administrator
Known for contributions to the arts in Bristol

Dick Penny MBE is an arts administrator, consultant and producer, based in Bristol, England.[1] Before his involvement in the arts, he worked in manufacturing industry, computer programming and the building trade.[1]


Penny was born in Droitwich Spa and educated at Monmouth School and Ross-on-Wye Grammar School.[2] His first job in the theatre was as administrator of the Little Theatre Company (1980–1983), which he set up with a group of Bristol Old Vic actors to keep the Little Theatre,[3] in the municipally owned Colston Hall complex, going as a professional venue. His duties included everything from set building to front of house. Notable productions included Raymond Briggs' 1983 adaptation of his own book When the Wind Blows, based on the UK Government civil defence booklet Protect and Survive, which transferred to the Whitehall Theatre.[1][3]

Between 1986 and 1988 Penny was the Associate Director at Bristol Old Vic with a brief to develop programme and audience. From 1991 to 1993 he was director of Watershed Media Centre, the UK's first media centre. He has been a board member of the Ashton Court Festival, Circomedia and Bristol +. Penny has stated that he has "a passion for Bristol and a drive to make the city a more exciting, open and inter-connected place to live, work and play."[1][4][5]

In the 1990s Penny's production company Rebbeck Penny co-produced Macbeth, starring Pete Postlethwaite, with Bristol Old Vic for a UK tour,[6] and in 2001 Scaramouche Jones, which also starred Postlethwaite, for a UK and world tour.[7] In 2007 he took over as Executive Chair of Bristol Old Vic with the main objective of reopening England's longest running theatre.[8][9] He is currently the managing director of the Watershed Media Centre, an organisation he re-joined in 1998.[10]

Penny is also founding director of Bristol +, a creative partnership board made up of public sector officials and creative entrepreneurs. In 2010 he was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.[2][11] He was awarded an MBE for services to the creative industries in Bristol in the 2011 New Year's Honours List.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d "Meet Dick Penny". Bristol Old Vic. 18 January 2008. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Press Office (15 November 2010). "UWE awards honorary degree to Dick Penny". University of the West of England. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Theatre Collection". University of Bristol. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  4. ^ "Dick Penny". British Council. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Creative Economy Network and Conference". Creative Clusters. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  6. ^ Shenton, Mark (21 January 2002). "20 Questions With...Pete Postlethwaite". What's on Stage. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Scaramouche Jones". www.scaramouchejones.co.uk. Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  8. ^ Smith, Alistair (24 December 2007). "Rhymes resigns as chair of Bristol Old Vic". The Stage. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  9. ^ "New star at Bristol Old Vic". This Is Bristol, Bristol Evening Post. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  10. ^ "Celebrating a watershed in creativity". Bristol Evening Post. 15 September 2007. 
  11. ^ "Inspiring pair receive degree accolades". This Is Bath. 17 July 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "New Year Gongs for our Local Heroes". This Is Bristol, Bristol Evening Post. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.