David Shortland steps down as Belgrade's Chairman

Posted on 5 October 2011

As his term of office has come to an end, local businessman David Shortland stepped down as Chairman of the Belgrade on 22 September 2011 after nearly a decade of service.

Founder of residential estate agents and chartered surveyors, Shortland Horne and the recently rebranded commercial property agency Shortland Penn + Moore, David Shortland has been involved with the work of the Belgrade for nearly 10 years after joining the board of directors in 2002, becoming Vice Chairman in 2005 and Chairman in September 2008.

Under his guidance the last 10 years has been a period of huge growth for the theatre, as it has produced an increasing number of extremely successful plays, including Scenes from a Marriage, directed by Trevor Nunn, Alan Pollock’s Coventry Blitz play One Night in November and most recently Too Much Pressure, We Love You City, Uncle Vanya and Bomber’s Moon.

Alongside the Belgrade’s Artistic Director, Hamish Glen and Executive Director, Joanna Reid, David was also heavily involved in the £14 million redevelopment project, which saw the creation of the B2 auditorium and the refurbishment of the existing listed building and the expansion of services to include Events & Conferencing and the manufacture of sets and costumes for other theatres via Belgrade Production Services.

David Shortland said: “As a development surveyor who has been involved in many of Coventry’s city centre regeneration projects, including Belgrade Plaza, Priory Place and Electric Wharf, I have always considered that a vibrant city centre needs a first class cultural offering. I’m pleased to say that I believe this has been achieved over the last decade with the restoration of the Belgrade’s reputation as a first class producing house. In addition, the Belgrade has succeeded in its aim of attracting new audiences with its diverse range of work which has included family shows, music shows, ballet and contemporary dance and serious drama, as well as the best of the touring productions. I am delighted to report that my successor will be René Olivieri, who I think is particularly well placed to continue the Belgrade’s admirable progress.”

The Belgrade’s new Chairman, René Olivieri, has recently moved into the Midlands area and has a keen interest in the performing arts. For many years he was Chief Executive of Blackwell Publishing and most recently Chief Operating Officer of Wiley-Blackwell. He is also Chairman of Tubney Charitable Trust and sits on the Board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.