Adrian Vinken, Chief Executive of the Theatre Royal Plymouth has been awarded an OBE in this year’s New Years Honours list in recognition of his record in innovation and successful leadership in the Arts and Urban Regeneration.
In the early 1980s Adrian led the development of the pioneering Leadmill music venue and arts centre in a derelict flour mill in Sheffield. The success of the project catalysed the creation of Sheffield’s ‘Cultural Industries Quarter’ and the regeneration of a large area of its city centre. The Leadmill also won BBC television’s national ‘It’s My City’ award for the best arts project in the UK.
After more projects developing derelict historic buildings for new community uses, Adrian moved to Plymouth in 1991 to manage the Theatre Royal at a time of acute financial crisis. His new management approach soon reversed the Theatre’s fortunes leading it to become the best attended and most productive producing theatre in the UK with the lowest subsidy per visit and an enviable national reputation. He has also overseen Plymouth Pavilions progress from strength to strength as the South West’s premiere concert venue which now attracts top flight acts from around the globe.
In recent years Adrian helped to mastermind the construction of TR2, the Theatre Royal’s 8 million Production and Education Centre on Plymouth’s waterfront. In picking up a raft of international architectural awards, TR2 was recognised as the UK’s 2003 ‘Building of the Year’.
Adrian is currently Chair of Culture South West, the government’s agency responsible for overseeing the arts, sport, heritage, museum, architecture and film sectors in the region. He also currently chairs the National Touring Partnership and is a Governor of Plymouth University and Director of The Lowry Centre Salford.
Asked about the award Adrian said: I am just very grateful for the leadership opportunities that have come my way over the years. I’ve been really fortunate to work in both Plymouth and Sheffield with teams of remarkably committed and creative colleagues who were responsible for making those opportunities successful. This award is a clear recognition of the efforts of the dedicated individuals who made up those teams. It’s been a privilege to work in such vibrant areas of activity where people are simply enthused by the work they do and passionately committed to making a difference to the world around them. I am also very thankful for the constant support offered by my wife Elaine and daughters Felicity and Polly especially at times when things have been less than easy.