The theatre director of the Alexandra, Birmingham Simon Creed is leading the venue through a period of resurgence as it continues to be at the heart of city life
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Originally from South Wales, I moved to Birmingham in 2001 to be part of the team re-opening Birmingham Hippodrome and stayed there for nearly nine years, working on some huge productions including Miss Saigon, Mary Poppins, We Will Rock You – and my own wedding! In late 2009, I joined the management team at Midlands Arts Centre prior to its re-opening to the public in May 2010. The next stop was Birmingham Town Hall/Symphony Hall (now called B:Music). I then helped operate the Artrix in Bromsgrove, which is my hometown. It was a sad day when the pandemic caused the venue to close in 2020. Today, I am focused on being theatre director of the fabulous Alexandra, Birmingham.
IT’S WHAT I DO
I’m delighted to be leading the venue through an exciting period of resurgence. I’m an informal, positive and enthusiastic director which I hope the amazing team at the Alex appreciates. I’m involved in every aspect of the theatre, including programming, finances, marketing, sales, customer experience and technical services.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
My ambitions for the Alex are simple – to programme the best productions possible while offering fantastic customer services. There are some fabulous venues in Birmingham and rather than seeing them as competition I like to see them as complementary to each other. As a venue and a team, we must ensure that the Alexandra continues to be a vital part of the Birmingham community, taking part in city-wide events such as Birmingham Pride.
Meeting my wife and having a daughter is high on the list – they keep me in check! Another success is calling myself a recovering stammerer – up until 2001 even saying my name was a struggle. I’ve never lacked in self-confidence, however my speech found it challenging! I was part of a course called the McGuire programme in the early Noughties and this changed my life.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
Mistakes are an essential part of any career, so I don’t think I’d change anything. Of course, there are decisions I wouldn’t make today! Also, trust and respect your team – you can’t do everything and you’re not an expert in everything.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
Birmingham is not a grey city – it’s full of colour, culture and diversity. The people are so friendly. The canals and green spaces are the things that most surprised me when I moved here, and I still enjoy a stroll along the canal.
I’m a great believer in having a good work/life balance. My 11-year-old daughter keeps me very busy as you’d expect! The great outdoors is my happy place – going to music festivals or the beach in our campervan is high on the agenda during the warmer months.