This summer, Collective Encounters will be saying goodbye to its founding Artistic Director Sarah Thornton who is planning to relocate her creative practice within the Republic of Ireland. Sarah established Collective Encounters as a ‘practice as research’ organisation in 2004 whilst working as a senior lecturer at Liverpool Hope University. Since then Collective Encounters has gone onto deliver tens of thousands of high-quality participatory theatre workshops and performances to people and communities in the Liverpool City Region and establish a Centre for Excellence to assist with the development of the participatory theatre sector, and advocate on its behalf.

Sarah Thornton says:
“I’ve been privileged to work with incredible people during my time with Collective Encounters and will always be grateful for the many and varied opportunities afforded me. The company is at an exciting point in its evolution with a truly exceptional Executive Director, the best creative team, a diverse and skilled board, an excellent (inter)national reputation and an innovative, responsive programme. It is poised for new adventures. I will always have feelings of pride and love when I think back on my time with Collective Encounters. It has been a wonderful 18 years and I am so grateful to everyone including board members past for enabling and supporting the journey”.

Long term participant, Alma Brown said of Sarah’s leaving:

“Sarah has been an incredible person since I have known her. She has inspired me to believe in myself and build my confidence into doing drama and writing scripts which I enjoy doing i will miss hearing her voice saying, “come on Alma, you can do it”. Good luck in whatever you do Sarah”.

Collective Encounters’ Chair, Jim Johnson said:
“I speak on behalf of all the board in wishing Sarah the very best for the future, safe in the knowledge that as the founder of Collective Encounters she set in motion something that truly has developed a life of its own, impacting in a myriad of amazing ways the arts sector, the wider social sector and most importantly those individuals in Liverpool whose lives have been changed and voices amplified by Collective Encounters’ work”.

Over the next few months we’ll be recruiting for new associate artists to work with us on our theatre for social change programme in Liverpool; make sure you’re signed up to the newsletter to hear about these opportunities first.