Jim Forrester to chair board of merged company

On 1 April 2012 Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company will merge to create an entirely new production based multi-artform organisation. Jim Forrester, currently Director of the Imperial War Museum North, will chair the board of the new organisation. Philip Shapiro, who has chaired the Cornerhouse board for 15 years, will step down.

With a purpose-built home central Manchester, opening in 2014, the new organisation will produce the best in contemporary theatre, visual art and film, learning and participation, creative industries and digital innovation.

Leading partner Manchester City Council is overseeing the creation of the new building, which will be a catalyst for the regeneration of the 20-acre First Street site and its neighbourhood, stimulating development and helping to unlock up to 10,000 jobs.

Jim Forrester will be working with the Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company senior management team to recruit trustees for the board. ‘I’m looking forward to taking the newly merged organisation through this exciting phase. I’ve long admired and enjoyed the work of both Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company and am excited about the opportunities the new cultural centre will bring to Manchester.’ comments Jim Forrester.

“I’m delighted that Jim will be chairing our new board, comments Dave Moutrey, Director and Chief Executive at Cornerhouse and at the merged organisation, “He brings with him a wealth of relevant experience and an important network of contacts which will help us make our new organisation fit to take best advantage of our new home in 2014. I’d also like to thank Philip Shapiro for his leadership and the outstanding contribution he has made to the development of Cornerhouse over the last 15 years.”

For media enquiries please contact Truda Spruyt or Iliana Taliotis at Colman Getty
on 020 7631 2666, Truda@colmangetty.co.uk

About Jim Forrester
After graduating from Durham in 1973 with a degree in English and a track record in stage management, Jim Forrester pursued an interest in industrial archaeology and trade skills by serving his time as an apprentice boat builder. He then ran a boat restoration business for ten years, living and working on the UK’s canal network, before joining the staff of Merseyside Maritime Museum to look after their extensive collection of small boats. This led to an education post as Public Programme Officer with the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (NMGM, now National Museums Liverpool) and then as a Project Officer for their new Conservation Centre. As General Manager of NMGM’s trading subsidy, Jim ran all the commercial activities of the Museum before joining the staff of the Imperial War Museums (IWM) in May 2001 to prepare the ground for running the new IWM North in Trafford from its opening in July 2002. He has been Director of IWM’s innovative and awardwinning northern branch since then. Jim will be retiring from this post at the end of March 2012. Jim has recently been appointed as Chair, North Wales and Borders Partnership Board for the new Canal and River Trust. He has previously been President of the North West Federation of Museums & Art Galleries, a Trustee of MLA North West and a Primary School Governor.

Jim Forrester was recruited to the honorary position of chair of the board after a national advertising campaign. The new home for the merged Cornerhouse and Library Theatre company is being designed by Mecanoo, whose proposed design has been submitted for planning consent. The cultural centre will be the cornerstone of the new First Street site, which is being developed by Ask.