ALTRINCHAM Garrick Playhouse has undergone a management restructure and appointed two people to add sparkle and new ideas to the theatre both now and post-lockdown.

Joe Meighan, the new artistic director, will be joined by operations director and former box office manager, Sarah Reilly.

Joe, who has already directed seven productions there, said: “I’m honoured to be taking on this new role. The sooner the Garrick returns to normal, the sooner we can assure it will be brighter and safer in the future.”

Joe has many ideas. One is to put on a panto, live, in a socially distanced auditorium, this Christmas. He will announce more about that shortly.

The couple are to welcome Radio Alty who will broadcast from the theatre and they are also encouraging community based activities.

These include a play reading and spoken word club which has already started, screenings of live local football, and Alty Fringe, running for two weeks from Novemberr 23.

Joe said theatre had given him, not only happy memories, but also great friendships.

He said: “Collaborating with actors, designers, technicians and others is one of the best feelings about creating theatre.

“The Picture House has been a saving grace recently. I love going to see the films we’re showing and which our volunteers and staff have made Covid safe.”

Joe believes his biggest breakthrough was to train at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London

Prior to the lockdown he had directed a new musical which opened in London’s “Off- West End” theatre scene.

He added; “I think The Secret Garden in 2017 was a particularly magical Garrick production of mine. I am thrilled to be working with Sarah."

Sarah was, for 15 years, a litigation solicitor and re-started amateur dramatics during a career break when her second child was born. She joined the Garrick as an acting member in 2017 and became box office manager in 2018.

She said: “Before that I participated with other local drama societies. I have appeared in three Garrick productions - Annie, Priscilla and Business Affairs. The two musicals were extremely successful and directed by Joe, so we know we work well together.

“As operations director I will be responsible for the overall operations of the theatre, including staff management, administration, box office, human resources, event support, contracts and licensing.”

With staff, trustees, volunteers and members on board the two will create a multi arts centre that will support generations to come.