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The Glasshouse


Posted on 19 June 2019



Sage Gateshead’s Board has announced that Sir Martin Narey DL will take over from Lord Falconer of Thoroton as Chair of the organisation from summer 2020.

Lord Falconer, Chair since 2012, will hand over to Sir Martin, who is currently Vice Chair, at an exciting time for Sage Gateshead just after the organisation turns 15 years old and with plans to develop and improve the main auditorium, Sage One and the concourse area. Alongside this, the charity has ambitious plans for Royal Northern Sinfonia, based at Sage Gateshead, which will tour the region and internationally. Sage Gateshead’s work with Children and Young People will also continue to grow, supporting those who are most in need and encouraging young people to develop their musical talent.

Lord Falconer said: “I am delighted to be able to work alongside Sir Martin until his succession next year, and have no doubt that his exceptional leadership will steer Sage Gateshead through its next exciting phase of development. Having worked alongside him on the Board for some time, I have every confidence that he will lead the organisation to further success.

“Working with the team at Sage Gateshead has been a pleasure, and it gives me enormous satisfaction to see the national and international reputation the company has gained, both as a world class concert venue, and as a music education centre. I look forward to working with Sir Martin, my fellow Board colleagues and the Sage Gateshead team during my final months as Chair.”

Sir Martin Narey DL, whose appointment comes following an open recruitment process led by the Sage Gateshead Board, lives In Whitby in North Yorkshire. He was previously Head of the Prison and Probation Services in England and Wales and later was the Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, the children’s charity.

He now advises the Secretary of State for Education on children’s issues and has been the architect of the Government’s adoption reforms, which have seen adoptions in England reach a 36-year high. Sir Martin was awarded a knighthood in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list for services to vulnerable people.

Sir Martin said: “I love The Sage and attend concerts frequently, so it is an honour to take over the chairmanship from Lord Falconer. He has brought wisdom and vision to the Sage and I look forward to supporting him in his final year as Chair. After that I shall enjoy working with Abigail Pogson and her leadership team to continue to grow our reputation as a place for everyone to enjoy, learn and experience music.”

Sage Gateshead is a charity and the support it receives helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joy of music.

From opening in 2004 the iconic building now welcomes more than 500,000 people a year. It nurtures the next generation of musicians for the north and its music-making and learning programme engages with 30,000 children and young people and 20,000 adults each year.

Sage Gateshead is home to the UK’s leading chamber orchestra Royal Northern Sinfonia and more than 400 concerts, featuring all kinds of local, regional and international music, take place all year round.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director at Sage Gateshead said: “It is exciting times for Sage Gateshead as our audiences continue to grow, the work we do to support emerging musicians is increasing and our commitment to working with children and young people remains the highest priority.  This season Royal Northern Sinfonia have celebrated their 60th anniversary and we’ve welcomed to our stages, amongst many others, Kamasi Washington, KT Tunstall, LA Master Chorale, Terry Riley, John Grant, Nightmares on Wax, Maarju Nuut and St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

“The role of Chair of the Board is crucial in steering the charity and its work and we have benefited from Lord Falconer’s leadership and advice through his time as Chair. His handing the baton over to Sir Martin Narey in a year’s time ensures the charity will go from strength to strength.  I am looking forward to working with both of them in the coming year.”




For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4690

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4617 M. 07793 762 879


Notes to editors:

Sage Gateshead is an international music venue reaching an annual audience of over 260,000 people. Every year we stage over 400 concerts and offer over 11,000 classes and workshops to over 13,000 participants of all ages and backgrounds.

We are home to the acclaimed Royal Northern Sinfonia as well as our popular, annual festivals SummerTyne Americana and Folk on the Tyne. We are dedicated to supporting emerging artists, as well as established names, offering residencies such as our Summer Studio and Folkworks Summer Schools.

Alongside our music performance and learning offer, our iconic building, designed by Foster & Partners, provides the perfect venue to over 100 conferences and events a year.

As a charity, the financial support we receive from Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, Arts Council England and our donors helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music. Positioned as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation, our continued ambition for the future is to work to significantly to increase the number and range of people connected with music.

We are for artists, for audiences, for the North, for the long term.

Sir Martin Narey DL was born in Middlesbrough and now lives in Whitby. He began his career working in the NHS, before training as a Prison Governor. He was Director General of the Prison Service of England and Wales between 1998 and 2003, and Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service from 2003 to 2005 before leading Barnardo’s for six years.

He is currently Chair of Portman Group and the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area, and Visiting Professor at  Sheffield Hallam University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Durham.

He has been married to his wife, Jan, for forty years and has two adult children and three grandchildren.


Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.