Ros Rigby stands downs after fifteen years as Performance Programme Director of Sage Gateshead
Ros Rigby OBE, Sage Gateshead’s Performance Programme Director, who has overseen around 300 popular performances each year since the music venue opened in 2004, has today announced that she will be standing down from the post after fifteen years at the end of July.
Abigail Pogson, Sage Gateshead’s Managing Director, also announced that Tamsin Austin, currently Head of Popular and Contemporary Programme at Sage Gateshead, has been appointed as Director of Programming to head up this team from September.
Abigail Pogson said:
“In Ros we have been lucky to have such a dedicated and passionate advocate of culture who has given so much to this region over so long, and for the last fifteen years has made a formative contribution to Sage Gateshead. Her programmes and festivals – not least the Gateshead International Jazz Festival which we’ve enjoyed again this past weekend – have helped put Sage Gateshead on the national and international map. We are very sad to see her go, but thank her very warmly for everything she has done.
In Tamsin Austin we have someone who has already made a great contribution to Sage Gateshead through her creative programming across our festivals and engagements with some of the leading rock and pop artists worldwide. She is 100% committed to seeking out new talent, supporting local artist development and to delivering international artists to the region. I am really looking forward to working with Tamsin in the years to come.”
Ros Rigby initially worked in arts development roles in Peterlee and Gateshead before co-founding Folkworks in 1988, which became the UK’s foremost producer, presenter and educator in folk and traditional music. Ros was awarded the OBE for this work in 1999.
When Sage Gateshead opened, Folkworks, along with Royal Northern Sinfonia, was a founding partner and became integrated into the new organisation in 2001. Ros was appointed Performance Programme Director for Sage Gateshead with responsibility for around 300 concerts a year across, folk, jazz, world, non-western classical, brass bands, rock, pop, electronic and spoken word. The programme includes well established festivals such as Gateshead International Jazz Festival and SummerTyne Americana Festival.
Alongside her role at Sage Gateshead Ros has also been heavily involved in regional and international cultural developments; she served on the Board of Northern Arts for six years in the 1990s and is a Board member of the North East Culture Partnership and chaired the Steering group for the Case for Culture, launched in 2015. She is also a Board member of the Europe Jazz Network, whose membership includes over 100 jazz promoters from 31 countries across Europe, and was elected President of the EJN in 2014.
Ros will continue to work with Sage Gateshead on a project basis on its jazz programme and will combine other freelance work and non-executive roles with being able to spend more time with her three grandchildren, and in supporting her busy family’s own cultural activities.
Ros Rigby said:
“Being involved in the development of Sage Gateshead from the mid-1990s onwards has been an enormous privilege, and I will take with me very many vivid memories of both successful events and challenging moments, wonderful artists and hugely committed staff and partners. I look forward to having continued contact with the company on a different basis, and also to having more time to become involved in other developments in the region and beyond. Tamsin Austin and I have worked together very closely since she was appointed in 2003, and I cannot think of a better person to lead the work of our team, and to take it in new and exciting directions.”
Councillor Mick Henry, Leader of Gateshead Council and a member of Sage Gateshead’s Board, said:
“I’ve been a great fan and friend of Ros for many years. Her energy and dedication to developing culture in the North East has been extraordinary, and we owe her a massive thank you. I’m grateful for everything she’s done for Gateshead, both when she worked for the Council as Arts Development Officer, long before Sage Gateshead opened, then her role leading Folkworks and, of course, her pivotal contribution to Sage Gateshead. Her programmes there, and especially the Jazz festivals, have become nationally and internationally important and I look forward to them every year. I also know that Tamsin is a very talented programmer and has already done great work founding the SummerTyne Americana Festival, which will have its 11th year in July. So, I look forward to working with Tamsin and I’m also looking forward to enjoying whatever Ros does next. I wish her all the very best.”
Tamsin Austin joined Sage Gateshead in 2005, and has two decades of experience working within both the arts sector and wider music industry. To date for Sage Gateshead she has delivered headline international concerts including Nick Cave, James Brown, Sting, John Grant, Pet Shop Boys, Underworld, Kacey Musgraves and kd Lang, and led on many major projects including founding and developing the SummerTyne Americana Festival, alongside very successful collaborations between Royal Northern Sinfonia and contemporary artists including John Grant, Raul Malo, Efterklang, Joanna Newsom and Ben Folds.
Following her appointment, Tamsin Austin said:
“This is a very exciting opportunity at a significant time of change at Sage Gateshead. The music scene in the North East is stronger than ever and I am really looking forward to continuing to contribute to making this region a destination for international touring artists and promoting our own home-grown talent. We are lucky to have one of the best facilities in the world and I am thrilled to be part of the team as we steer into the next decade.”