New Chief Exec Enters Stage Left At The Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Issue 97

Jonathan Higgins appointed to brand new role at the historic entertainment venue.

“How could I not come here,” were the first words Jonathan Higgins said when we spoke to him recently.

He’s taken-up the position of Chief Executive Officer at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House in what is a newly created role…one that is aimed at supporting the trustees and the management team in what has been an independently run, not-for-profit venue since 2015.

“When you look at the pedigree of the Theatre, it really is staggering,” adds Jonathan. “What the trust has achieved since 2015 is remarkable and I’m honoured to have been given this new role. Having worked within the entertainment industry for almost 20 years, I know how well thought of the Tyne Theatre and Opera House is nationally and internationally…both with artists and promoters. I want to take this venue to the next phase in its illustrious history by developing, leading and supporting the current team and offering another layer of business management. I am tremendously proud to be working at such a wonderful venue in the iconic city of Newcastle.”

The independent venue is owned by the Tyne Theatre and Opera House Preservation Trust and operated by its subsidiary company. All profits are reinvested into the Theatre, helping to restore and preserve the venue for future generations. Audience support is the main source of income, whether buying a ticket, sponsoring a seat, joining the Friends of the Theatre Club, buying drinks at the bar, or making donations.

We’d also point you in the direction of the Tyne Theatre social media feeds because you’ll not only keep up to date with what’s going on and ticket availability, but you’ll also see some contributions from well-known performers. One of the latest is by the fabulous comedian and actor Tom Allen, who recently appeared at the Theatre. He recorded a message of support for the theatre and charity beneath the stage next to the famous Victorian stage machinery. Other well-known supporting voices have included Sarah Millican, Lucy Beaumont and Grayson Perry.

“These stunning endorsements reaffirm the wonderful work that’s already been done by our Theatre Director Jo Johnson. It’s a demonstration of how well we look after people. We have a terrific relationship with performers and the paying customers, and it’s clear that the theatre is beloved locally and enjoys a great reputation within the industry.

As for the future, bearing in mind that this is a Grade One listed building, there’s a never-ending list of stuff to take care of. We are the custodians of the building and we need to preserve it for future generations. Plans are afoot to develop a second performance venue at the Theatre and reinstate the Grand Saloon in what is currently the bistro, and develop other areas of the building which aren’t used. For example the Grand Circle boardroom would be ideal for corporate and private hospitality. We need to maximise the potential of the Theatre, develop the programme of events, and make sure we can sustain the business going forward.”

In other words, with Jonathan at the helm, the future of the Tyne Theatre and Opera House looks bright. His experience and drive will add to the fabulous work which has taken place at the Theatre and helped it survive during the Covid pandemic when it had to close and saw revenue drop to zero. For it to have recovered and blossomed since then is testament to the hard work and skill of the team who look after this North East gem.

For a full list of what’s on go to

You can buy tickets, and find more information on how you can support the Theatre.

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