Eclipse Theatre is thrilled to announce two new appointments in senior management. In December 2019 Amanda Huxtable will become the new Artistic Director and CEO, and Shawab Iqbal will join the company as Executive Producer. Currently in Sheffield and moving to Leeds, Eclipse is the foremost Black-led national touring company in the UK, developing new artists and delivering diverse programming in theatre, film and radio across the country.
Amanda Huxtable succeeds Dawn Walton who stepped down in June after 10 years at the helm. Amanda is a theatre director based in the North of England. She was Artistic Associate at Hull Truck Theatre and is Chair at RJC Dance in Leeds. With over 20 years directing and producing experience she has built her portfolio across the UK, USA and Canada, having worked with Belgrade Theatre, Red Ladder, Proper Job Theatre, Yorkshire Women’s Theatre, Chol Theatre, Virtual Migrants, Tayo Aluko and Vanitas Arts. Amanda’s other work includes co-Artistic Director at Hidden Gems (with writer Marcia Layne) a touring company that presents Black British stories. Together with Vanitas Arts she is also developing an immersive theatre piece based on Trumpet, the debut novel by Scottish Nigerian poet Jackie Kay. Amanda is on the steering committee of Huddersfield Literature Festival and was the Chair of governors at Birkby Junior School in West Yorkshire.
She says ‘I feel like a small yet proud nation who has just won an Olympic Gold medal. After winning this particular race I am both exhilarated and excited for future possibilities. It is important to pause and reflect before embarking on that future, so I want to thank our previous Artistic Director, Dawn Walton and all who supported Eclipse Theatre in its exceptional role of leading the way towards a more representative and inclusive cultural landscape. I am pleased to have built mutual understanding, respect and hope from the Eclipse Theatre Board. It is now time for me to continue building on this with our current and potential partnerships and all who support Eclipse. Our ultimate aim is to create outstanding work and experiences for all our audiences. I cannot wait to lead the team towards our collective powerful opportunities in the future’. Amanda Huxtable
The new Executive Producer Shawab Iqbal was born and bred in East London, he graduated with a first class honours degree in Sociology from the University of Kent. Shawab is an experienced Producer having worked across theatre and dance for over a decade. He is currently Senior Artistic Associate at Bush Theatre and Learning & Participation Producer at Hip Hop dance company Boy Blue. Prior to this, he was a Producer at Theatre Royal Stratford East and an Administrator for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.
Shawab has an extensive freelance portfolio working with established and emerging artists. He is a trustee at Tamasha Theatre Company and an independent governor at Newham Sixth Form College. Shawab is also a qualified teacher and former ChildLine counsellor.
He says ‘I am thrilled to be joining Eclipse Theatre at this exciting time alongside the visionary Amanda Huxtable. We live in increasingly regressive times where divisive politics continue to take centre stage, making Eclipse and its unapologetic commitment to black and brown artists even more vital and important. This is also a significant moment in the sector, and the company will continue to be at the forefront of enabling a more equitable and representative theatrical landscape. I want to pay tribute to Dawn Walton’s work over the past ten years and her ongoing legacy, and look forward to building the next chapter with Amanda, the company’s talented team and its board of trustees’.
Eclipse Theatre’s mission is to use the Black* British experience to create new work to enrich the stories shared with theatre audiences nationwide, and to diversify those audiences. *To Eclipse, “Black” includes anyone marginalised for their race or ethnicity. The theatre companies productions include: Black Men Walking (nominated for the UK Theatre ‘Best New Play’ and Writer’s Guild ‘Best Play’ 2019), A Raisin in the Sun (nominated for UK Theatre ‘Best Touring Production’), One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show and The Hounding of David Oluwale (nominated for TMA: ‘Best Director’).
2019 has seen exciting developments for Eclipse. In September Stella Kanu became the new Chair, of the recent appointments she says, ‘I am delighted to announce Amanda Huxtable and Shawab Iqbal as the new Eclipse Leadership team. There is barely a venue across the North that has not come into contact with Amanda as director and visionary collaborator – now we will have the opportunity to see her dynamic artistic vision and leadership usher Eclipse into the next phrase of its exciting future.
Shawab Iqbal brings a world of producing and planning experience and has been firing up the sector with his thought leadership in recent years. These feel like extraordinary times ahead, we have two visionary, creative thinkers and doers who will inspire. They will connect with like-minded venues and support work for audiences across the region and beyond. I cannot wait for them to get started!’
Over the last four years, Eclipse have been developing and growing two unique national and international movements, Slate: Black · Arts · World: which supports Black artists in the North to work locally, nationally and internationally, building sustainable models for careers in the independent sector. Led by a cohort of Enablers (Black arts professionals), Slate offers a bespoke service that responds to the needs of Black artists and like them, works across all art forms. Slate has supported over 2,000 artists across the North of England. And Revolution Mix: a movement spearheading the largest ever national delivery of new Black British productions in theatre, film and radio which has attracted nearly 15,000 audiences. Revolution Mix has produced: Black Men Walking (back by popular demand), The Last Flag (BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play – featured as Drama of the Week). Princess & the Hustler (National Middle-scale tour), Samuels’ Trousers – film (currently in Post-Production).The new Revolution Mix production, The Gift will be touring in the spring of 2020. Eclipse Theatre is a National Portfolio Funded Organisation with Arts Council England.
Photo credit Sharron Wallace – Amanda Huxtable and Shawab Iqbal