‘Start of a new era’ for Sheffield’s Theatre Deli as they announce two new artistic directors
“Nathan and Ryan’s appointment marks the start of a new era for Theatre Deli.” – Theatre Deli in Sheffield is set for a new lease of life after the appointment of two artistic directors.
National artist development charity Theatre Deli has announced the appointment of Ryan Harston and Nathan Geering as joint artistic directors.
The Sheffield-based multidisciplinary powerhouses of creative enterprise impressed Trustees with their innovative vision for the organisation moving forward.
They will now aim to bring accessibility, innovation, multi-discipline programming, and diversity to the fore as the newly appointed leaders of the charity.
Chairperson of the board of trustees, Pam Fraser-Solomon, said: “Nathan and Ryan’s appointment marks the start of a new era for Theatre Deli, which was run by its founding directors until the start of 2020, and the appointment of our Executive Director David Ralf, who has led us through the challenges of the last year.
“Our new co-artistic directors’ vision for the charity reflects and reinforces the values which have driven and sustained the charity and influenced the sector for over a decade.”
Executive director, David Ralf said: “As the inheritors of an organisation which has influenced and supported so many artists across more than a dozen venues, I’m thrilled to work with both of these inspirational leaders to expand our reach, our welcome and our creative network so that we can offer more opportunities to artists and audiences across the UK.”
Ryan David Harston is a South Yorkshire born and bred artist and the artistic director of URBANconceptz, a theatre and film collective.
He uses his creative vision and background in theatrical and digital performance to curate work internationally across multiple disciplines and mediums.
With a professional creative career spanning 20 years, Ryan has become a multi-award-winning artist and has worked with organisations including the National Theatre, Barbican Theatre, SKY Arts and the British Council, as well as being a long-standing associate artist with CAST theatre in Doncaster.
His work has featured on SKY One, ITV, and BBC, and he has recently entered into a brand-new partnership deal with REMEDY Incorporated and YouTube.
Speaking about the appointment, Ryan said: “I’m really excited to join Theatre Deli as joint Artistic Director, and I can’t wait to bring my artistic energy, honesty and enthusiasm to the role.
"This is an amazing opportunity for myself and Nathan, and I hope that my presence at Theatre Deli will be fruitful and positive. It’s up to us now to utilise this opportunity and bring our A-game to the table to invest positively in the arts, artists, and communities as the new co-artistic directors of Theatre Deli; watch this space.”
Nathan Geering specialises in accessibility innovation and strives to create work that widens accessibility for both disabled and non-disabled artists and audiences.
He was the artistic director of the 2017 Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, which saw him bring together over 200 disabled and non-disabled artists to perform in front of a live audience of 16,000 people.
His passion for innovating cutting edge technologies and accessibility within dance, theatre, music production and art has lead him to develop the award-winning Rationale Method of Audio Description that uses the skills of beatboxers and poets to provide a richer soundscape for people with visual impairment.
In recent years, Nathan has become a TEDx speaker, published author and multi-award-winning film-maker; he has featured on BBC television and worked with the likes of the National Theatre, The Royal Opera House, Wayne McGregor, British Council and the Singapore Repertory Theatre.
Nathan is also an appointed commissioner of the Sheffield Race Equality Commission and champions racial equality and diversity within the arts and beyond. He continues to implement his work nationally and internationally and strives to provide opportunities that make the arts accessible for all.
Nathan said: “For the first time, Theatre Deli has black artistic and creative leadership, and its programming will reflect the cultural diversity of each city that our venues reside in. This appointment marks a new and exciting era for the organisation, and I am really looking forward to cultivating excellence within our communities and setting new standards in accessible theatre.”
Theatre Deli came to Sheffield in the Summer of 2014 to stage an outdoor production in a park, and while there, the team realised that the former Woolworths building lying empty on The Moor would make the perfect first northern venue for the company.
In October 2017, Theatre Deli moved to the former Mothercare property on Eyre Street - where the company is still based today, offering a year-round theatre programme, bar, events and rehearsal space.
The charity has been a driving force within the arts industry for over ten years, supporting emerging companies.
They work to develop diverse audiences, expand the cultural offering, and provide safe environments for artists at every stage of their career to experiment, trial, and showcase new work.
Theatre Deli also engages with property developers to take over empty and unused spaces in order to expand resources for people to make, participate and experience art.
These buildings and venues nurture and connect creative communities – both artists and audiences - providing accessible resources and services that promote sustainability and resilience in the arts, as well as presenting work that pushes boundaries and removes barriers, giving opportunity and voice to those creating outside the mainstream.
In 2018 the organisation supported over 11,000 artists, collaborated with more than 200 partner organisations, and commissioned 20 new pieces of work.
Throughout the pandemic, the charity has provided over £18,000 of support to artists and companies.
It has also released a White Paper encouraging partnerships between arts organisations and property developers and has announced a new and improved Residency Programme for 2021.