The Court Theatre today announces that long term Artistic Director Ross Gumbley will have a change of focus for the next few years – accepting the newly created role of Artistic Adviser/Lead Director.

The Court is looking to build a new home in the centre of Christchurch City in partnership with the Christchurch City Council. This will require Mr Gumbley to have time to work alongside the project team, architects and designers, the Court’s Chief Executive, Trust and Foundation Boards, to ensure that the new theatre is world-class, dynamic, and exceptional in every way.  

Christchurch audiences will still be able to see the excellent productions he is renowned for directing, and the loveable characters he embodies as an actor on the stage.     

Chief Executive, Barbara George, who has been with The Court Theatre for one year, says she has very much enjoyed working alongside the talented director. “Ross is a compelling story-teller and an exceptional director. His new role will not only help us realise a world-class new home, but also share his considerable talent with other directors and creatives. Fourteen years is a tremendous achievement and we are fortunate that he will stay with us and continue to contribute to the artistic team.”

The Court Theatre is pleased to announce that Daniel Pengelly has been appointed Interim Artistic Director. He will take up the role on 27 January 2020.

Mr Pengelly hails from Christchurch and has had a long association with The Court Theatre, including three years as Associate Director from 2014-2016 and regular appearances as a Court Jester since 2004.

He is currently wrapping up three successful years as Artistic Director of Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North and counts among his achievements audiences that have doubled in number and a reinvigorated and thriving organisation. 

Dan says: “I am pleased to come home to The Court to work with the incredible artists, team and supporters again. I am sad to farewell my Palmerston North theatre whānau and community, but I also expect new opportunities for collaboration in the not too distant future. This leadership role is very exciting.”

Barbara George says that she is thrilled that Dan expressed his interest in coming back to The Court. Over the past year she has had opportunities to talk with him and observe his work and considers his appointment a good fit.

“We look forward to working with Dan as he brings his particular talents and experience to the role. In our discussions, he has been very excited to take on the opportunities and challenges of NZ’s largest professional theatre company, working alongside our exceptional team.”

An international search for our next Artistic Director will begin in March 2020.

“While the search will be international in its reach, we will be looking for a high-energy theatre professional who understands the New Zealand Aotearoa context, who can celebrate diversity, who can work collaboratively for the benefit of the theatre industry, and who shares our values and vision.”