The woman in charge of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and the city’s 300 annual events has been appointed to spearhead Croydon Council’s cultural ambitions.
Leading the vision for the regenerated Fairfield Halls, developing a new creative programme for the borough and using its open spaces as cultural venues are among the priorities of the council’s new creative director Paula Murray.
Currently assistant chief executive at Brighton & Hove City Council, Ms Murray will have the key role of boosting Croydon’s position as a cultural hub for London and the south-east in an initial six-month secondment.
She will also work with partner organisations such as Arts Council England, developers and landowners to embed culture in the borough’s regeneration, as well as attracting people and businesses to Croydon.
Ms Murray, whose overall responsibilities include Brighton’s tourism, museums and outdoor and venue-based events, plus leading a revamp of the Royal Pavilion, will be starting her full-time secondment on 1 April and will meet people and organisations in Croydon beforehand.
Council leader Councillor Tony Newman said: “Culture will be at the heart of Croydon’s regeneration, so I couldn’t be happier to announce this important appointment. Delivering top-notch culture is what Paula brings to the table, and getting someone with her strong track record is a real coup for Croydon.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “Brighton is renowned for its vibrant culture, so to entice a key player behind these ongoing successes to Croydon will help us further widen our cultural and artistic offer. This shows our significant ambition and confidence in putting culture at the centre of our plans for our borough’s future.
“Paula brings huge experience that will be key to Croydon’s regeneration, especially in delivering the exciting plans for Fairfield Halls and leading the follow-up to last year’s Ambition Festival, and I look forward to working with her to deliver these plans.”
Ms Murray said: “I’m thrilled about this opportunity to use my experiences from Brighton to develop culture in what are exciting times for Croydon. I look forward to working with the council leadership, other organisations and people involved at the grassroots to deliver a crucial part of the borough’s regeneration and revitalise the borough’s cultural offer.”