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Headlong theatre company appoints Joe Hill-Gibbins as new artistic director | Stage

Joe Hill-Gibbins has been appointed as the artistic director of the touring theatre company Headlong. He will take over the role this summer, succeeding Jeremy Herrin at the company whose past leaders include Rupert Goold.

An acclaimed director of both theatre and opera, Hill-Gibbins is directing his first mainstage production at English National Opera this month with The Marriage of Figaro. He is a former deputy artistic director of the Young Vic, where he directed Measure for Measure starring Romola Garai and featuring a pile of sex dolls, and a dark Midsummer Night’s Dream whose actors became caked in mud. His modern-dress revival of The Changeling was followed by a short film that he wrote and directed, entitled Bed Trick, made by the Guardian and the Young Vic. He also revived Absolute Hell and Edward II at the National Theatre and directed Alecky Blythe’s play about the 2011 UK riots, Little Revolution, at the Almeida. At the Royal Court theatre he assisted Dominic Cooke, Ian Rickson and James McDonald.

Charles Edwards and Kate Fleetwood in Hill-Gibbins’ revival of Absolute Hell.

Charles Edwards and Kate Fleetwood in Hill-Gibbins’ revival of Absolute Hell. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Hill-Gibbins said: “What does the name Headlong mean to me? Fearlessness, velocity and abandon. I can’t wait to lead one of the country’s most exciting companies and drive its mission to ask daring questions about who we are today; to provoke and thrill in equal measure. I’m raring to get started.”

Under Herrin, Headlong have had hits with the controversial The Nether, about an online paedophile fantasy world; People, Places and Things, featuring a career-changing performance by Denise Gough; and Labour of Love, James Graham’s comedy about the Labour party. The company is currently touring Faustus: That Damned Woman and recently collaborated with the Guardian on Europeans, a video series using personal stories to explore the relationships of member countries to the European Union. The series is a follow-up to the Guardian and Headlong’s Brexit Shorts, released in 2017. Herrin’s departure from Headlong to pursue a career as a freelance director was announced last year.

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