HOME has announced that Walter Meierjohann (Artistic Director of Theatre) will be leaving the organisation in the autumn after he has opened The Emperor in New York. Following five highly successful years in which he launched and led HOME’s theatre programme, he will now be moving on from Manchester to pursue other projects in the UK and internationally.
In addition to leading the theatre programme for HOME, Walter also played a central role in the development of the overall artistic policy for the organisation ahead of the opening of the building in May 2015. In 2014 he commissioned a season of site specific work including Angel Meadow by ANU Productions, the first show under the HOME brand which received universal critical acclaim. This was followed by his own stunning landmark and celebrated production of Romeo and Juliet in Manchester’s iconic Victoria Baths.
HOME opened in 2015 with Walter’s production, The Funfair, a world premiere of Simon Stephens’ adaptation of Horvath’s Kasimir and Karoline. He went on to direct Inkheart, Chamaco, The Emperor starring Kathryn Hunter and his award-winning production of Uncle Vanya.
Through his innovative programme he has brought many of the most exciting artists in contemporary theatre from the national and international scene to HOME, and in doing so has inspired new audiences and the next generation of Manchester’s theatre makers. International artists such as Peeping Tom, Sol Pico, Philippe Quesne, Lola Arias, Agrupación Señor Serrano and Thomas Ostermeier have presented their extraordinary work at HOME.
In terms of UK directors, Walter articulated an emphasis on giving mid-career directors the opportunity to take on projects which would challenge and develop their practice. Directors such as Polly Findlay, Bijan Sheibani and Blanche McIntyre have all directed productions of the highest quality for HOME. Walter also encouraged a programme of director training opportunities, mentoring schemes and workshops which have since flourished. His contribution to establishing innovative festivals celebrating national, emerging, international and local work has contributed to the cross-art identity of HOME in a significant way.
Dave Moutrey, Director and CEO of HOME said: “I have hugely enjoyed working with Walter over the past few years in developing such a vibrant cultural offer at HOME. He has produced, curated and nurtured an international programme that has offered so much to the ecology of the city. I admire him immensely as a director and we hope he will come back and work with us again at some point in the future.”
Walter Meierjohann said: “It has been a huge privilege to have launched a new theatre programme in a stunning new building and to have placed HOME on the map. Over 5 years I have worked with extraordinary artists from the thriving creative scene in this city and from the wider British and International scene. They have all helped shape the bold identity of HOME, and I am deeply grateful to all. I am very proud of the mixture of the international and the local, the emerging and the established we have presented on our stages in these exciting years.
As HOME moves into a new phase, I feel it is the right time for me to move on and pursue opportunities beyond Manchester and internationally. I thank all my colleagues at HOME for their commitment, enthusiasm and support. I wish them the very best for the future.”