New head of arts to lead South Kesteven’s cultural strategy

South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) has appointed a new Head of Arts, Michael Cross, who will play a key role in InvestSK’s work to drive cultural activity and regeneration in the district. As the multidisciplinary team charged by SKDC to lead the area’s ambitious economic growth, InvestSK is keen to see that arts is a major contributor to making South Kesteven not only a great place to invest and work, but also to live in.

This new role will work closely with the heritage, visitor economy and market teams within InvestSK and South Kesteven District Council to provide a holistic approach across the whole district.

Commenting on his appointment, Michael Cross who joined InvestSK in May, said: “I’m thrilled to have joined the InvestSK team. I’m no stranger to South Kesteven but I’ve been bowled over by the amount of creativity here and the community support for events taking place around the district. We’re awash for things to do and places to go, and that’s inspiring.

“Part of my work will explore the potential of regular arts activity in Bourne and the Deepings – that will be my focus for the first 6 months. Looking further ahead towards the next decade, I want to make sure the arts feature prominently within South Kesteven’s overall development agenda.”

The Leader of South Kesteven District Council, Councilllor Matthew Lee, said: “The artistic and cultural vibrancy of our district is enormously important in making South Kesteven a great place to live and visit. I am delighted that InvestSK has the benefit of Michael’s vast experience to help do just that.”

Michael began his career as an actor, touring throughout the UK in theatre productions before turning to production management and directing. His work also included choreography, set and costume design projects as well as writing and adapting plays, musicals and pantomime. He eventually took up a post as Artistic Director of the Key Theatre in Peterborough. This role included programming work for the annual Peterborough Festival, as well as producing bespoke projects for civic events and developing partnerships with creative artists across a range of disciplines.

Michael’s tenure of the Key included overseeing three major refurbishment projects and the opening of a 100 seat studio theatre.

He subsequently worked with HQ Theatres and Hospitality as Venue Director for the White Rock Theatre in Hastings, developing the venue’s programme, community engagement and promotional activity.

Most recently Michael returned to freelance projects, including touring productions and writing, before joining Peterborough Music Hub as Programme Manager, commissioning professional orchestras and musicians for workshops and performances across the city.