Chris Lawson Appointed Chief Executive at The Dukes, Lancaster

Chris Lawson Appointed Chief Executive at The Dukes, Lancaster

The Dukes, a renowned cultural hub in Lancaster, proudly announces the appointment of Chris Lawson as their new Chief Executive, effective from January 2024.

Chris Lawson, an accomplished Arts Leader, Director, and Producer, is set to bring his wealth of experience and expertise to the Dukes. Returning to the North West after a decade of prior experience in the region, Chris comes to the Dukes from the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, where he served as the Director of Producing and Programming. Previously, he held the position of Artistic Director at Oldham Coliseum since 2018, concurrently serving as CEO from December 2022. Chris originally joined The Coliseum in 2015 as Associate Director and had previously held a senior leadership role at the Almeida in London.

Expressing his enthusiasm about the new role, Chris Lawson stated, "I am utterly delighted to be joining the Dukes and to have the opportunity to lead this exciting next chapter. It is clear to me that the staff team at the Dukes is excellent at what they do. The importance of the organisation to the region and the potential for this to continue to grow are evident. I know the Dukes both as an artist touring work here and as an audience member. It is an honour to take up the role of CEO."

Chris has a proven track record of working across the UK and internationally, fostering strong partnerships, co-productions, and tours, as well as engaging with diverse community settings.

Chris assumes the role of CEO from January 2024, succeeding Karen O’Neill, who left earlier this year to join HOME in Manchester as Executive Director. Roddy Gauld, Chair of the Dukes, expressed his pleasure at the appointment, stating, "I am so pleased to welcome Chris Lawson to The Dukes as our next CEO. He succeeds Karen O’Neill, who did a brilliant job leading the Dukes over the last four years. Chris brings a fantastic reputation as a leader, producer, and director. He impressed us with his experience and his drive to connect the Dukes with communities, artists, and audiences from Lancaster and beyond. The trustees are sure that under his leadership, the Dukes will thrive, and we are looking forward to him starting in January." Cllr Sandra Thornberry who represented Lancaster City Council in the interview process said: “Chris showed impressive experience in making theatre and arts as widely accessible as possible, including contacting difficult-to-reach communities and encouraging their participation in theatre productions. He will be a huge asset in increasing the Dukes’ community involvement, and an excellent contributor to our city’s already vibrant cultural leadership”.

Chris will take up the role in January 2024.