Dan Bates (pictured), chief executive of Sheffield Theatres, is set to take a sabbatical from his role to gain insight into the events industry in the Far East.

His absence will be spent exploring opportunities for Sheffield Theatres, which is home to the world-famous Crucible, the WRG Sprague-built Lyceum, and the multi-format Studio.

Bates’ sabbatical, which will begin in mid-February, has been part-funded by the Arts Council and British Council’s Artists’ International Development Fund. He will start in Singapore, then head off to Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, before ending his journey in Australia.

Bates said, according to the Broadway World website: “After 30 years of producing theatre across Yorkshire and eight years leading Sheffield Theatres, this feels like the right time to take stock and look further afield for inspiration. We have enjoyed tremendous success as a company, and as Rob begins his second season as Artistic Director, I feel we are in an excellent position to pursue our international ambitions.

“I spent a short time with one of my counterparts in Singapore last March and found their approach both fascinating and invigorating. It’s vital that we, as a sector, seek to innovate and improve our practice, and I am excited by the shared learning that will result from this visit and how this can support our growth as an organisation.”

The Crucible (left) and Lyceum (right) are both run by Sheffield Theatres

Sheffield Theatres

Image: Dun.can

The chief executive will develop new cultural links, creative partners and opportunities for international touring and transfers. He will be meeting with industry leaders at West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, Melbourne Arts Centre, the National Taichung Theater in Taiwan and Seoul Arts Centre.

Sheffield Theatres produces a diverse programme of work across its three theatres, spanning a range of genres, including classical revivals, new work, large-scale musicals and innovative and immersive theatre experiences.

Claire Murray, communications and fundraising director at Sheffield Theatres, will assume the role of chief executive during Bates’ sabbatical.

Bates added: “I am so grateful to the board for supporting me in pursuing this venture and to Rob, Claire and the senior team who will be looking after these very special theatres in my absence.”

Images: Nigel Barker