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Edward Cole Appointed as New Artistic/Executive Director of Alphabetti Theatre

Official Statement: 04.06.24

Ali, Ed, Rex & Robin outside Alphabetti.jpg

Alphabetti Theatre is thrilled to announce the appointment of Edward Cole as our new Artistic/Executive Director, succeeding the theatre's founder, Ali Pritchard. This significant leadership transition marks an exciting new chapter in Alphabetti’s story.


Ed brings a wealth of experience to Alphabetti. After graduating from the University of Hull with a degree in Drama and studying for a Masters at Drama Centre London, he co-founded Middle Child Theatre, now one of the UK’s foremost new writing theatre companies. Since then, he has worked with numerous theatrical institutions across the country as a director, producer, actor and theatre maker.


Ed grew up in County Durham, and throughout his career has developed an intimate knowledge of the performing arts sector in the North East. He is passionate about theatre, performance and the local region, and he is ideally positioned to maintain and develop Alphabetti’s already prestigious reputation for supporting emerging artists, programming bold new work, and acting as a trailblazer for progression and accessibility in the arts.


Ali Pritchard, the outgoing Artistic/Executive Director and founder, shared his thoughts on this transition:

"Founding Alphabetti Theatre and serving as its Artistic/Executive Director has been an incredible journey. I am immensely proud of what we've achieved together – creating a space where creativity thrives, and diverse voices are heard. Ed's vision, passion, and commitment to the arts make him the perfect leader to carry forward Alphabetti's legacy. I am confident that under Ed's direction, the theatre will continue to grow and inspire our community in new and exciting ways.”


Ed expressed his enthusiasm for joining Alphabetti Theatre:

"Stepping into the role of Artistic/Executive Director at Alphabetti Theatre is the honour of a lifetime. This theatre has a unique and vibrant spirit, and I can’t pay enough tribute to Ali and the tireless work he has put in over the years to develop it into the essential facility it is today. The talent and dedication of the team at Alphabetti is humbling, and it will be a privilege to build on the strong foundations already in place while exploring new horizons. I am particularly looking forward to engaging with our artists and audiences - understanding what the venue means to them - and working together to ensure Alphabetti Theatre continues to be a beacon of creativity, development, inclusivity and accessibility for Newcastle and the North East.”


Christina Dawson from the Alphabetti Board of Trustees, added her support for the new appointment:

‘This is a very exciting time for Alphabetti. Ed is a vibrant and passionate cultural leader and I’m really looking forward to seeing what this new relationship looks like. Ed has got so much to offer our community. Welcome, Ed!

Many Alphabetti regulars will have questions about Ali’s beloved theatre dog, Rex. While we are pleased to say that Rex will still be making occasional appearances at Alphabetti, we are equally excited to announce that he will be passing his collar, lead and title of theatre dog to Ed’s enthusiastic cocker spaniel, Robin. 


Ed joins the team in June 2024. On Thursday June 6th and Friday June 7th, he and Ali will host an Alphabetti Meet – a community artistic dinner party where artists, audience members and friends are invited to come and say hello in an open and informal setting. Reserve your space here - PRESS ME

Alphabetti Theatre Artistic / Executive Director and founder to step down.

Official Statement: 6th October 2023

Stage Awards 2023 winners__Photo Alex Brenner__Alistair Pritchard__s.jpg

After more than a decade, Alphabetti Theatre’s Artistic & Executive Director is leaving, as he explores working on a larger scale. Is that leading a larger organization? Creating work for bigger stages? Or crossing over into different creative mediums? Only time will tell.

Ali’s final creative role at Alphabetti will be Puddle, a fantastical family adventure, with magic, music, and science, which is being co-created with children from Hotspur Primary, West Jesmond Primary and Hawthorn Primary (5th December 2023 – 6th January 2024). After the festive season, Ali and the beloved theatre dog, Rex, will be around to oversee the rest of Spring season shows and exciting new residencies before officially stepping away.

This is a hugely exciting time for Ali and Alphabetti with the formulating of succession plans currently being finalised by the trustees, these will be announced in due course.

This Summer, Alphabetti celebrated its 10 year anniversary with ‘Alphabetti Soup’. Those who attended the shows will know the journey it took in them years to make the theatre what it is today. Ali founded Alphabetti in 2012, when he left university – his debut performance played a few dates in Newcastle upon Tyne and the home counties before a fortnight at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Upon returning to Newcastle on a shoestring budget, he opened a venue above The Dog & Parrot pub. In 2015, he moved Alphabetti Theatre to an abandoned basement on New Bridge Street West – until finally moving the charity to their forever home on St James’ Boulevard.

From lighting shows with a household dimmer switch to now, an artist led, award winning studio theatre with community and access at its core. Alphabetti Theatre has artist studios, two rehearsal rooms, an 80 seater theatre, and an 80 capacity cabaret and music stage in their banging bar! From shy beginnings to now yearly averaging 300 performances, working with 1,250 artists, and 10,000 audience members.

Ali says: “Creating Alphabetti Theatre has been a rollercoaster of experimentation, evolution, and excellence – it’s been an incredible journey and one I’ll never forget. Thank you to all who have supported me to get here”.


Under Ali’s leadership, innovation and guidance, Alphabetti Theatre has become a powerhouse of creativity for the North East of England and he leaves the organisation the strongest it’s ever been.


We wish Ali all the success for the future and look forward to seeing his next revelations.

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