Theresa Heskins

I grew up on a tough London council estate. The education I received changed my life. Now, working with the team at the New Vic, I’m able to contribute back, having an impact on the daily and cultural life of our community. So it’s a very great honour to be recognised in this way by a university which values inclusion, social mobility, and the transformative power of education to enable ordinary people like me to realise our potential

Theresa Heskins is the Artistic Director of Staffordshire’s New Vic Theatre.

She grew up in London, studied at Oxford University, trained as a director at Birmingham Rep, and has lived and worked in the Midlands ever since.

In 1999 Theresa became Artistic Director of Pentabus Theatre, touring new writing to the whole country from the company’s base on a Ludlow farm. Productions included White Open Spaces, asking ‘is there a silent apartheid in the countryside?’, co-created with BBC Radio Drama; and Silent Engine, in association with the National Theatre Studio and recipient of an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First.
Theresa also writes for BBC Radio including adapting classic novels such as Wives and Daughters, and Lady Audley’s Secret for Woman’s Hour.

Joining the New Vic Theatre as Artistic Director in 2007, she has directed numerous productions in the round including Widower’s Houses; Alecky Blythe’s verbatim documentary Where Have I Been All My Life?; The Admirable Crichton; The Wicked Lady; Dracula; and Around the World in 80 Days, nominated for Best Production at the Manchester Theatre Awards and Best Show for Children and Young People at the UK Theatre Awards.

Theresa’s adaptations for New Vic family audiences include The Borrowers; Peter Pan; Alice in Wonderland; and 101 Dalmatians.  In 2009 she adapted and produced The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which has since been performed all over the world, and this year will be enjoyed by audiences at The Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh. 

The award of Honorary Doctor of the Arts is bestowed on Theresa for services to the theatre and her cultural contribution to North Staffordshire. It celebrates her role at the New Vic Theatre, her playwriting and adaptations, and the prestigious accolades her work has attracted.  It also recognises her considerable efforts to engage the wider community through initiatives like Appetite and the New Vic’s enriching work with the University’s drama department.

Theresa said, “I grew up on a tough London council estate.  The education I received changed my life.  Now, working with the team at the New Vic, I’m able to contribute back, having an impact on the daily and cultural life of our community.  So it’s a very great honour to be recognised in this way by a university which values inclusion, social mobility, and the transformative power of education to enable ordinary people like me to realise our potential.”