Manchester International Festival today announces the appointment of Fiona Gasper as its new Executive Director. Currently Executive Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Fiona will take over from MIF’s current Executive Director Jim Forrester in March 2016. 

Over the past five years Fiona has helped lead the Royal Exchange Theatre in a bold new direction, focusing on new work and opportunities for emerging theatre practitioners and artists. She was previously Executive Producer of Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture Programme and was awarded a MBE in 2009 for her services to the arts.

“Fiona Gasper has long been one of my arts heroes. We worked together when I first came to Manchester in 1999, re-imagining Contact Theatre, and I was inspired at every step by the ways in which she combines vision and strategy to get great things done. Her work since then at Liverpool Capital of Culture and at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre has had a massive impact in both those cities. I can’t imagine a better person to join the MIF Executive Team as we enter into a bold new phase in the Festival’s life”

John E. McGrath, Artistic Director, MIF

“It’s been a real privilege and pleasure to work alongside Fiona taking the Royal Exchange Theatre through such an exciting period of transformation and development. The theatre that Fiona leaves behind is very different to the one she joined five years ago and I want to thank her hugely for her considerable contribution to this. I wish her great good luck in her exciting new adventure with MIF”

Sarah Frankcom, Artistic Director, Royal Exchange Theatre

“I am delighted for Fiona and excited that her appointment will further strengthen the relationship between Manchester International Festival and the Royal Exchange Theatre. Under Fiona the last five years have been one of our most successful periods for audience numbers and recognition, and she leaves us in such a strong position to continue with our significant re-imagining of Manchester’s most iconic theatre”

Ben Caldwell, Chair, Royal Exchange Theatre Board

 Jim Forrester joined Manchester International Festival as Executive Director in 2012 and has overseen two very successful Festivals (MIF13 and MIF15). Jim has been an integral part of the team building relationships between MIF and public sector bodies. He joined the Festival following his time at Imperial War Museum North when he oversaw the opening in 2002 and ran it as its first Director until 2012.


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