27th Oct, 2021

Former chairman of the board at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre steps down from formal duties

A FORMER chairman of the board at the Belgrade Theatre has stepped down from formal duties after 20 years’ service.

David Shortland has played a vital role in the regeneration and development of the Belgrade and will remain one of the theatre’s ambassadors.

David’s drive and desire has made a difference to the landscape of Coventry with him overseeing an impressive period of growth.

He was heavily involved in two major refurbishments which transformed the venue.

David first joined the Board of the Belgrade in 2002 and took on the role of chairman in 2008, succeeding David Burbidge.

It was in 2003 that he and Mr Burbidge interviewed new candidates for the roles of artistic director and executive director.

Hamish Glen and Joanna Reid were chosen respectively and have been at the helm for 18 years.

In 2007, David made a significant financial and professional contribution towards the £14million redevelopment of the Belgrade which saw the creation of the B2 auditorium.

The new Belgrade business also included the introduction of events and conferencing, and the manufacture of sets and costumes for other theatres through Belgrade Production Services. It was at this time that the Shortland Foyer was named in recognition of his significant donations.

As development started in 2008, David was passionate about creating an improved offer and experience for theatregoers. He was responsible for ensuring the name of the new development created a cohesion between the theatre and its surroundings.

He stepped down as chairman of the board in 2011, after almost a decade of service, and has since held a place on various Belgrade committees, remaining a director of its wholly-owned trading subsidiary Belgrade Enterprises Ltd.

In more recent years, David has contributed to ensuring the progression of the Belgrade Theatre’s 2020 capital project redevelopment.

The refurbished main auditorium and stunning new Belgrade Café and Nineteen 58 Bar were completed just in time for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture. Coinciding with this, The David

Shortland Bar was named in honour of his substantial contributions towards the regeneration of the Theatre.

The Belgrade recently announced Hamish Glen and Joanna Reid will step down from the head of the organisation in March 2022. As David Shortland also steps down, it marks the end of an era for the Belgrade.

David said: “Having been heavily involved with the Belgrade for the last 20 years, the time has come for me to take a step back.

“I’ll still be an ambassador for the Belgrade, which I’m hugely proud of, but it’s going to leave a big hole in my life.

“It’s an opportunity I’d recommend to anyone – to play a significant role in the jewel of the city’s crown.”

Joanna Reid, Executive Director of the Belgrade, said: “We’ve hugely appreciated David’s long commitment to the Belgrade, on both a personal and professional level, and benefited enormously from his advice and enthusiasm, as well as his generosity.

“His belief in the Belgrade has both encouraged and challenged us to go further and his long service means we can now all to look back with great pride to see how far we’ve come.

“His example shows what the Belgrade in partnership with business can achieve – and how great that is for the city.”

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