We were terribly sad to learn today of the death of a great friend and colleague - Nicola Thorold. Nicola was Director of ITC from 1993-2000 and continued to be a strong advocate for and very effective supporter of the independent theatre sector throughout her excellent, wide-ranging career in the arts. She had just been awarded the OBE for services to the arts – in her case a very well-deserved honour.
She left ITC to become Theatre Director at Arts Council England where she lead the Theatre Review that injected £100m increased funding into the theatre sector. Most recently she was Executive Producer at The Roundhouse and co-Director of World Stages London. She will be most particularly missed as co-founder and driving force of What Next? - a fast-growing, highly influential movement bringing all elements of the arts world across the UK together to make the case for culture and make the change in our society.
Nicola was a highly intelligent, hard-working, generous and outgoing individual with a keen sense of fun and humour balanced with real integrity and warmth. It was a great privilege to work with her in the seven years that she led ITC and I have benefitted hugely from her advice and support ever since.
Members of ITC have been sharing their reflections today
Jenny Seeley, Artistic Director Graeae and former ITC Board member:
‘She was a brilliant creative thinker and got things done. She did not hang about -she rolled up her sleeves and made it happen.’
Gavin Stride, CEO Farnham Maltings and former Chair of ITC:
‘Wherever Nicola worked, as the Chief Executive of ITC, as the head of theatre for ACE and latterly with the Round house she has made a significant and real difference. Because she cared, had a razor mind and was always willing to listen. I will miss her mischievous energy, her indefatigable belief in the value of arts in all our lives and her ability to make things happen. We have lost a shining light and it behoves us to carry on her work. To be generous, humble and determined to make the world better.
She was also a very good player of sardines…’
Topher Campbell, Former Chair of ITC:
‘Nicola was a true theatre friend. She was always available for sound advice and encouragement. Her guidance was sought by many. She was particularly brilliant at creating the right circumstances for new talent to emerge and was a great champion of diversity in the arts’
I find it hard to summarise or quantify the impact Nicola had on my life. She is always in my mind as part of my ‘virtual steering group’ and there she will remain for many years to come. Her advice, her opinions, her wit, even her occasional appropriate disapproval kept me on track and confident. I will miss her terribly and continue to reflect forever on her exceptional talents and her dedication to a worthy cause.
Charlotte Jones CEO ITC (current and ever grateful for Nicola’s support and guidance)