Paris theatre picks Brit as new chief

January 3, 2017 by norman lebrecht


The Théatre du Châtelet has named Ruth Mackenzie as its next artistic director, succeeding Jean-Luc Choplin.

Ruth, 59, is presently head of the Holland Festival, a job she began just two years ago.

She was previously head of the London 2012 Olympic festival and, before that, worked in the UK Department of Culture as advisor to two Labour secretaries of state. She started out as head of Scottish Opera.

The Châtelet will be shut for the next two years for refurbishment.

The Dutch will be displeased.


Comments (12)

  1. Elizabeth Owen says:

    She used to sit tearing paper in to strips at meetings at the Arts Council. People watched in horrified fascination.

    1. Elizabeth Owen says:

      Forgot to add that she then ate the paper.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        This promises some quite interesting productions at the Chatelet.

  2. Michael Hunt says:

    My information is that Ruth has been appointed as co-artistic director with Thomas Lauriot dit Prevost who is currently number two at La Monnaie and was previously number two at Théatre du Châtelet. He is a charming man who is a very experienced financial director. It will be interesting to see how this combination works and I dare say it will mean that Ruth will remain at the Holland Festival and combine her new responsibilities.

  3. Michael Hunt says:

    Thomas has been a popular Board member of Opera Europa for some time and has clearly developed artistic credibility to add to his formidable financial skills. This could be a very good time for Paris.

  4. Neil van der Linden says:

    She’s gone before she made a real impact. A lot of what the Holland Festival does is still the legacy of the Pierre Audi period. That is natural by the way as many productions need years of preparation and planning. But really the impact was less than it could have been. Now she will run a theatre for years that is closed down. Nice job. But at least she will have to prove what she herself is up to.

  5. Iain Scott says:

    Well she ran up the debt at Scottish Opera then hopped off before the proverbial. Chancer.

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      That’s not how I remember it. She was charged by the board with merging Scottish Opera and Ballet. When the going got touch, the board abandoned her.

      1. Iain Scott says:

        That’s not correct. I lived through the sorry debacle. It started with a production of Macbeth at the Edinburgh Festival that was over budget and continued. There was no plan by the SO board to merge with Scottish Ballet as such . That was another bizarre episode driven by , I think, the Chair of Scottish Ballet.
        One point about her emerged recently – she never lived in Glasgow but committed along with her successor. Not exactly the commitment you want.
        By the way the RSNO hit 125 in 2016 but no coverage whatsoever ivy the Lindon critics of the erstwhile broadsheets.
        It would be nice if you did something Norman as it’s also been a marvellous season with incredible performances from John Storgards and Thomas Sondergard.
        The orchestra’s new home and concert hall is an acoustic gem which has lifted the playing to another outstanding level.

        1. norman lebrecht says:

          Dear Iain, Thanks for those reminders. It was a devious situation, as I recall. She was fired while on tour in China.
          I do report RNSO from time to time (quite a bit more than some London orchs) and am delighted to see that they are flourishing at last under enlightened management and musicianship.

          1. Iain Scot says:

            The RSNO is indeed flourishing and you are right about enlightened management and musicianship. and also you at least cover them!

  6. Elizabeth Owen says:


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