New Artistic Director

Our new Artistic Director

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Simon Startin has been appointed as our new Artistic Director!

He will join the Vital Xposure team in early 2021 as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary.

Simon is an acclaimed actor, published playwright, director and activist, who last appeared in The Visit at the National Theatre. He has also performed recently at Shakespeare’s Globe, Arcola Theatre and Birmingham Rep as well as TV roles on BBC, Channel 4 and Paramount.

He has been an Associate Artist of Theatre Royal Stratford East, London Bubble and Graeae; an alumni of the Battersea Arts Centre 21st Century Leadership scheme, China Plate Enhanced Optimists course and a Graduate of the Young Vic Directors Program. He has directed at the Young Vic, Royal Shakespeare Company and Nottingham Playhouse.

As an activist he has worked with many organisations to increase disabled representation on stage and screen.

Our founder and outgoing Artistic Director, Julie McNamara will return to Vital Xposure for White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels, a co-production with Dervish Productions that is co-written and co-directed by McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie. White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels will tour in 2022.

A red line that matches Vital Xposure's branding, replicating a line from the letter 'X' from the word 'Xposure'


Simon Startin said of his new appointment:

‘I am profoundly excited about taking the helm at Vital Xposure and building on the outstanding work of Julie McNamara.

There has never been a more important time for society to hear the voice of disabled artists, who have been living at the sharp end of human fragility and resilience long before the rest of the world woke up to it.

There is an urgent need for disabled theatre makers to proudly communicate not just the disabled experience but to take that perspective to universally question the times we live in.

Under my leadership, the Vital Xposure commitment to hidden voices and social justice will continue to drive our work, but we will also begin to interrogate what participatory political theatre, led by disabled people, for the benefit of all, can achieve in the 21st century.

There is also still much work to be done in creating community and opportunities for disabled people within the wider theatre sector, and Vital Xposure will be looking to broaden our work with partner organisations to reframe the old narratives and forms that favour one community over another.

We will further our commitment to working with artists of colour and other excluded communities, beginning with our production of White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels.

I look forward, with the Vital Xposure team, to making our theatre spaces a fairer place to gather when we come out of tiers and lockdowns, and to sharing the stories and voices that connect us all.’

Simon Startin, Incoming Artistic Director


Message from Julie McNamara:

‘I am thrilled that Simon has chosen Vital Xposure as his next life adventure.

Simon comes with a wealth of experience in the creative industries and a highly respected body of work both in the mainstream and in Disability-led theatre.

His is a uniquely imaginative voice that will bring fresh energy and ideas to the future direction of this extraordinary company. I am hugely excited and very curious to see what imaginative Disability-led leaps and bounds he will lead the company onto next. Indeed, I look forward with a sense of glee! ‘

Julie McNamara, Outgoing Artistic Director of Vital Xposure


Message from Jonathan Meth, Chair

‘We are delighted that Simon Startin will be the new Artistic Director of Vital Xposure.

Simon brings extensive experience to the role and the board could not have wished for a better appointment to build on the pioneering work of Julie McNamara. We look forward with great excitement to Simon joining us in the New Year.

Where to start with Julie McNamara is almost as hard as where to finish. Julie’s work straddles the length and breadth of the UK and beyond. But her impact is far wider. She uses her voice to speak for all those whose voices are unheard and whose stories are too often untold. That she can talk to anyone, as well as enable others to find their voices, belies the complexity and richness of her creative working processes – as theatre maker, as a disabled artist and as advocate, activist and leader.

In forming and leading Vital Xposure over the past decade Julie has created a company dedicated to the embodiment of these qualities. On behalf of all those involved with Vital Xposure we wish Julie great success with her Australian adventure.”

Jonathan Meth, Chair of Vital Xposure’s Board of Trustees


Click here to download the Press Release in PDF format

A flavour of our future plans: Simon Startin, incoming Artistic Director talks about inclusive theatre on Broadway World