In March 2020, Cinzia Hardy, Founder, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at November Club, the Northumberland-based theatre company, announced she would be stepping down from the role at the end of 2020.

In May 2020, a national recruitment campaign was launched and resulted in an impressive range of applicants. Following an extensive selection process, the company is delighted to announce that Joe Hufton will be joining November Club as the new Artistic Director and Chief Executive.

Joe is currently a freelance theatre director, working in live performance and immersive and site-specific theatre. He has worked in partnership with organisations including National Trust and Museums Northumberland; he is currently Associate Director at Les Enfants Terribles, a London based theatre company.

Joe will join the company in October 2020, enjoying a three-month handover with Cinzia, before officially taking over leadership of November Club in January 2021.

Joe said: “I am delighted to be taking November Club forward into the next decade and am honoured to build on Cinzia Hardy’s superb work at November Club for the last 13 years and with its predecessor, European Players, since 1990.  

I look forward to renewing the company’s commitment to making ambitious work in Northumberland’s extraordinary spaces and beyond. I hope that under my leadership the organisation will make new connections and cement its place as a unique part of the North East’s cultural landscape.  

All arts organisations face obvious challenges going into the coming months and years. I believe that November Club can be a passionate advocate of taking work directly to people in unexpected ways and forms. I look forward to working with the whole team at November Club to create a brave, bold and diverse new chapter.” 

Joe, whose family live in the North East, plans to move to Northumberland in early 2021. He has previous experience of working in the North East. In December 2019, Joe created ‘First Footing’ at Woodhorn Museum, an immersive experience involving theatre, dance, and interactive installation.

Image © Sabina McKenzie Brown

On behalf of the Board, Fiona Standfield, Chair of Trustees at November Club, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming Joe Hufton as November Club’s new Artistic Director and Chief Executive. We were seeking an outstanding leader with an inspirational artistic vision who would continue to amaze and delight our audiences. In Joe, we believe we have found the person to do just that.”

Nicholas Baumfield, Senior Relationship Manager, Arts Council England said: “November Club is a valued part of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio, consistently making highly imaginative work, often in unusual spaces. Under the inspiring leadership of founder Cinzia Hardy it has developed a distinctive collaborative way of engaging audiences, reaching communities across the North East many of whom would not otherwise experience its unique form of theatre.
While this might have been a hard act to follow, the trustees have found an exceptional candidate in Joe Hufton. At a crucial moment for theatre and for cultural organisations everywhere he showed he has the vision, the dynamism and the skills to take November Club forward and continue to delight, inspire and captivate audiences wherever they are. It will be exciting to see the work he makes with them.”

November Club is an award-winning, professional performing arts company based in Morpeth, Northumberland. The organisation was founded in London in 1990 by Cinzia Hardy, when it was originally known as European Players Theatre Company. In 2007 the company rebranded to November Club. The company achieved Arts Council England National Portfolio Status (NPO) in 2012 and has remained part of the portfolio since then.

Image (c) Sabina McKenzie Brown

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Notes: 

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk 

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Funds. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19