The Lowry has appointed Rhiannon Mckay-Smith and Gwen Oakden as its new directors of development.
The pair, who have 26-years fundraising experience between them, fulfil the role on a job-share basis and will be responsible for the Salford arts venue’s annual, non-commercial income.
The duo replace Stephen Crocker, who is leaving in November to take up the position of chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal.
Mckay-Smith began her fundraising career at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew before moving to the Young Vic theatre in Waterloo. She joined The Lowry as head of development in 2011 and has worked on the organisation’s £5m capital campaign – securing funding for the Artist Development Programme and over £100,000 for its annual Christmas Appeal.
Oakden started her career working first for Arts & Business and then Morris Hargreaves McIntyre. A past board member of FutureEverything, she has worked for Manchester Art Gallery and The Whitworth before arriving at The Lowry in 2015 to cover Mckay-Smith’s maternity leave. Since then, she has worked on the opening of the £3m bar and restaurant, Pier Eight and the delivery of the cross-arts festival, Week 53.
Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “Rhiannon and Gwen are a formidable team whose skills and experience complement each-another perfectly. They take the reins at a crucial period in our history – when public sector funding is ever-decreasing and our artistic programme is more and more ambitious – and I cannot think of anyone better suited to the task.
“Stephen leaves us after nine years with The Lowry – during which time he helped secure our largest ever private donation of £1m. We will miss him terribly – but wish him all the best for his new role at Norwich Theatre Royal.”
Mckay-Smith is a mother of two and married to Ben, a police detective. They live in Altrincham. Oakden is married to Tom, a research and insights manager at City Football Group and lives on Salford Quays.