Joanna Read steps down as LAMDA Principal

LAMDA has announced today that Joanna Read will be stepping down as Principal in 2019 after eight years to become Chief Executive and Theatre Director of Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.

Joanna Read said “It’s been a privilege and a delight to lead LAMDA. It’s a fabulous creative institution with a great heart and I am extremely proud of all the staff and students I've had the pleasure to work with during my time as Principal. I would like to thank all of them and the Board of Trustees for their support during my time. Although I will miss LAMDA, I leave it in a strong place with an exciting future ahead in our glorious new building.”

The Rt Hon Shaun Woodward, Chairman of the LAMDA Board and also the American Board said today, “Joanna has been an outstanding Principal for LAMDA, during which time the Academy has continued to build its reputation to provide the best drama teaching anywhere. Jo has truly created an amazing and exciting role for her successor because of the extraordinary achievements she has made throughout her tenure. The growth of LAMDA teaching, the very high standards of our residential courses and the huge expansion of LAMDA examinations around the world; her vision and leadership of staff and students in the rebuilding of LAMDA’s new £28.2m London home, have all been outstanding accomplishments. And whilst Jo’s desire to return back to the theatre and to directing is one we can appreciate; all of us at LAMDA will miss her hugely."

A theatre director by profession, Joanna became LAMDA Principal in 2010. Under her leadership the organisation completed a successful £28.2million capital programme to build ten rehearsal studios, two theatres and a screen and audio suite for the Academy. During the building of the new wing Joanna conceived LAMDA @ Large, taking productions to venues such as the Old Vic Tunnels, Pleasance Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith.

During her tenure LAMDA has launched new degree courses including an MFA in Professional Acting, a one year ‘top-up’ BA in Production & Technical Arts and an MA in Classical Acting, and has developed meaningful partnerships with community organisations across the UK as part of LAMDA’s widening access and participation Pathways Programme.

Joanna has broadened LAMDA’s international reach, forging relationships with City College New York, Harlem School of Arts, UCLA, Moscow Arts Theatre School to name a few. She was instrumental in launching the Virtual Conservatoire, a cross arts collaborative digital workspace and recently entered LAMDA into a multi-year scholarship partnership with Audible. She has revitalised LAMDA’s new writing programme, recently commissioning and producing new work by Jon Brittan and Kaite O Reilly, and expanded LAMDA’s touring circuit to include the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and Old Laundry Bowness.

In addition to broadening the diversity of the Academy, Joanna has successfully led the organisation towards independence. Earlier this month LAMDA was placed on the Office for Student’s Register of Higher Education Providers, a key milestone towards the Academy awarding its own degrees.

Under her watch LAMDA Examinations, an awarding body offering Communication and Performance courses and Qualifications has increased its reach with a record number of young people taking a LAMDA Examination in 2017-18 - over 116,000 learners in 33 countries.

Joanna Read will leave LAMDA in January 2019.

Published on Friday 3 August 2018.