New Director to lead Attenborough Arts Centre

Andrew Fletcher, incoming Director of the Attenborough Arts Centre. Credit: Mandip Seehra

The University of Leicester is pleased to confirm the appointment of a new Director of the Attenborough Arts Centre, which delivers the institution’s public arts programme. 

Andrew Fletcher will move from his position as Programme Manager at Warwick Arts Centre, the largest university arts centre in the country, to take up his new role after Easter 2022.

He will take on leadership of the Attenborough Arts Centre from Michaela Butter MBE, who retires after Easter following 12 years as Director. Under her direction, audiences have increased from 25,000 people in 2010 to over 110,000, and the venue has doubled in size with the creation of a major gallery extension for the display of contemporary art. The pair will work together to deliver a smooth transition.

Speaking of his appointment, Andrew Fletcher said: “I have long admired how the Attenborough Arts Centre champions inclusivity through its multi-disciplinary artistic and participatory programmes, inspired by the Attenborough family’s commitment to culture and education. The organisation engages public audiences and participants across the city and region, nurtures innovative work with local, national and international artists, amplifies the University of Leicester’s world-leading research and provides a hub for student creativity at the heart of campus. 

“I look forward to getting to know all our audiences, participants, local artists and communities. I will work together with the staff, board, University, Arts Council England and peer organisations in Leicester to build on Michaela’s impressive legacy while further developing the Attenborough Arts Centre’s reach, representation and relevance for everyone.”

Prior to his role at Warwick, Andrew was Head of Administration at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and over the past 15 years has worked in strategic planning roles and within the executive teams in a number of nationally-important cultural institutions such as the Serpentine Gallery, National Theatre and Wigmore Hall. He is also a board member of a number of cultural organisations including Buxton Opera House, Lancaster Arts, Lichfield Festival, the City of Coventry Music Board and Birmingham 2022 Critical Mass programme.

In his current role he has developed co-produced projects with artists and Coventry communities and led several public engagement programmes with the University of Warwick, connecting the Arts Centre to academic research, building connections with students and the Students’ Union and fostering a number of exciting international partnerships.

Kerry Law, Chief Marketing & Engagement Officer at the University of Leicester, said: “We have been really impressed with Andrew’s passion, energy and strategic focus as well as his track record in championing inclusion and diversity.

“His extensive experience to date – and his exciting ideas for the Attenborough Arts Centre moving forward – makes him a fantastic asset to the University of Leicester’s public arts programme.

“As we welcome Andrew to Leicester, we would also like to take this opportunity to thank Michaela for her leadership of the Attenborough Arts team, which has expanded its reach and made a real difference to the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland under her guidance. I have no doubt she will continue to be a passionate advocate for the arts in her retirement.”

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director, Arts Council England, added: “We are pleased to welcome Andrew Fletcher as the new director for Attenborough Arts Centre. With Andrew’s wide range of experience and passion for inclusivity we are excited by the prospect of many new and excellent opportunities for artists.

“We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Michaela for the fantastic work that she has done in over seven years at Attenborough Arts Centre, and the hugely positive impact she has had on the arts community in Leicester.”

The Attenborough Arts Centre houses the largest contemporary art gallery in Leicester and offers contemporary art exhibitions, performance, courses and workshops, and activities for children and families among its participatory activities.

Its work in championing emerging talent and disabled artists has been recognised through multiple awards and grants from Arts Council England, BBC Children in Need, Leicester Shire Promotions and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

The programme is inspired by the late Richard, Lord Attenborough – a world-leading filmmaker, actor and lifelong patron of the arts, who grew up on the Leicester campus – and who formally opened the Centre alongside Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

Richard’s son Michael, a successful theatre director in his own right, serves as the Centre’s lead patron and continues the University’s long-standing association with the Attenborough Family.

Further Attenborough Arts Centre patrons include Grayson Perry CBE, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and Baron Lowe of Dalston CBE.