Liza Vallance, Artistic Director and CEO of Studio 3 Arts, has announced that she will be leaving to take on a new role as Deputy Director of Learning (Programmes) at the National Theatre in January.

Since 2009 Liza’s leadership has established Studio 3 Arts’ reputation as one of London’s leading participatory arts organisations at the forefront of socially-engaged, co-created arts.

As Liza moves on to this exciting new opportunity, we wish her all the very best for the future, from everyone at Studio 3 Arts.

Liza leaves Studio 3 Arts in a strong position, with our transformed new-look Barking venue reopening following a major redevelopment and a 40% uplift in Arts Council England funding secured for the next three years.

Attracting financial and cultural investment into Barking and Dagenham has been a key part of Studio 3 Arts’ growth and success during Liza’s 14 years as CEO. She has ensured Studio 3 Arts is firmly embedded in the life of the local community, building fruitful partnerships with many people and organisations, from local authority departments, community groups, national charities and world-leading arts organisations.

Prior to her appointment as Artistic Director, Liza had been working at Studio 3 Arts developing the Big Deal youth arts programme. Since joining as a Project Manager in 2003 she grew our portfolio of work with young people to include professional theatre, dance professional development, youth-led training for social workers and a youth-run music studio social enterprise. Liza’s youth engagement work has continued throughout, most recently with the with the youth leadership project Groundbreakers.

“Liza’s artistic vision and dedication has seen many achievements, driven by her ambition to democratise the arts through accessibility, diversity, and participation. Studio 3 Arts bring together artists and communities to collaborate and create real change in art and society. Some of Liza’s greatest success stories over the last 21 years have been the artists nurtured, the many communities inspired, and the thousands of individuals empowered through transformative co-created art. On behalf of everyone at Studio 3 Arts, and the wider community you’ve worked so tirelessly for and with, over many years, thank you.” — Frank McDonagh, Vice Chair, Studio 3 Arts

Notable achievements include the promenade adaptation of The Merchant of Venice in 2016, which saw a cast of 9 professional actors perform in locations around Barking with more than 100 local people, and Civil Blood, a collaboration between Big Deal and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures,  which gave 20 young people from Barking and Dagenham the opportunity to create an original dance piece inspired by Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet and perform it on the main stage at the iconic Sadler’s Wells.

Liza said: “Studio 3 Arts has been my passion for almost half my life. I leave with great memories, lasting friendships and a fire in my belly to make sure everyone has access to outstanding art.  Studio 3 Arts is a team effort and without the hard work of the staff, artists, volunteers, trustees, partners and funders, it simply wouldn’t happen. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone I’ve worked with over the years. Barking and Dagenham is still my family home and I’ll always be a proud supporter of the arts here. I wish Studio 3 Arts nothing but the best for the future.”