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New chief executive appointed by Eden Court in Inverness; Highland arts venue welcomes Rebecca Holt of Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) in London as James Mackenzie-Blackman set to go to Theatre Royal Plymouth

By Andrew Dixon

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Rebecca Holt. Picture: Miran Hadžić
Rebecca Holt. Picture: Miran Hadžić

Eden Court has appoint a new boss.

Rebecca Holt will succeed James Mackenzie-Blackman as the new chief executive.

She is currently executive director and deputy chief executive at Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) in London.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Eden Court, an organisation I have admired from afar for some time,” she said.

“Eden Court’s strong civic role in bringing creativity to communities across the Highlands, coupled with its artistic ambition across theatre and film, make it a truly special organisation.

“James leaves an exceptional legacy and I’m looking forward to working with [chairman] Don [Robertson] and the rest of the Eden Court team to devise and deliver the remarkable things that Eden Court will do next.

“I know that I’ll continue to be inspired by the incredible work of Tarek [Iskander], and the rest of the team at Battersea Arts Centre, as they push the sector forwards as a home for radical artistic ideas.”

Mr Mackenzie-Blackman is leaving later this month after almost four years in charge to return to his home town and head up the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Bryan Beattie has been appointed interim chief executive, a role he will fulfil until at least the end of January, pending confirmation of Ms Holt’s start date.

Mr Beattie will be supported in the interim period by leading arts consultant, David Micklem, in the role of external adviser.

“It’s been the honour of my career leading Eden Court,” Mr Mackenzie-Blackman said.

“I am sure that Rebecca will be an exceptional leader of this wonderful organisation and I look forward, very much, to looking on at all she will achieve with her wonderful team.”

Mr Robertson was delighted after an extensive recruitment process led by AEM International.

“Throughout the process the recruitment panel were deeply impressed by Rebecca’s sector knowledge as well as her demonstrating a real understanding of the role Eden Court plays in the life of communities across the north of Scotland,” he said. “We look forward to delivering a warm Highland welcome.”

Mr Iskander, artistic director and chief executive at Battersea Arts Centre, said: “Eden Court has really made a fantastic appointment. Rebecca has always provided inspirational leadership and is rightly admired by colleagues across the sector. We will really miss her, but are also excited to see the great heights Eden Court will reach during her tenure.”

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