1981

1st January 2018
1981

Founded by Karl Hibberd and Mike Sherman with a grant from Manpower Services Commission. Originally based at New Milton Arts Centre, Forest Forge moved several times over the years, including to Ringwood Comprehensive School in 1983. Karl remained Artistic Director for 13 years and in that time produced over 40 touring shows for Forest Forge.

1984

15th January 2018
1984

Kevin Shaw became Artistic Director for the next seven years. During this time the Outreach Programme was developed, which included the beginnings of the Forest Forge Youth Theatre.

1996

1st February 2018
1996

In May 1996, Forest Forge Theatre Company was awarded a capital grant by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England, to build a brand-new purpose-built studio space and workshop in Ringwood, which we moved into in March 1997 and is still our home today.

1998

15th August 2018
1998

Through an Arts Council England A4E grant, the company had its first highly successful Tent Tour, performing at outdoor locations across Hampshire and Dorset throughout the summer over two consecutive years.

1999

15th August 2018
1999

The Southern Touring Theatre Consortium (Forest Forge, Oxfordshire Touring Theatre Company and Trading Faces) was formed to deliver small scale/community touring provision to the region.

2002

15th August 2018
2002

Forest Forge became founder members of the Pride of Place Theatre Festival Company. In 2003 the company jointly produced a major Arts-in-Health conference “Lifelines” exploring the methodology of art project evaluation in a clinical setting. In 2004 Forest Forge was chosen as one of the companies to provide the focus of a national academic research

2003

15th August 2018
2003

In 2003 Sean Aita became Artistic Director and produced the company’s first International co-production called New Found Lands, with Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador. Forest Forge was shortlisted for Stage Awards for achievement in Regional Theatre 2005.

2009

15th August 2018
2009

Kirstie Davis joined the company as Artistic Director for 6 yrs. She commissioned Gary Owen to create Free Folk contemporary story about life in rural Britain, which went on to be shortlisted for the John Whiting Award for New Writing. In this year Forest Forge also launched the Elevate project, our annual work experience scheme.

2011

15th August 2018
2011

30th anniversary. Forest Forge Theatre Company commissioned David Lane to write two plays – The World Outside and companion piece Born. Born was performed by the Youth Theatre and toured alongside the professional production. 2011 was also the year that the company’s trustees were shortlisted for the Winifred Tumim Memorial Prize for good governance.

2016

15th August 2018
2016

Sharon Lawless joined the company in a new role as CEO/Creative Producer to lead the company and develop Forest Forge Theatre Company into a creative hub for the region.