THE actor behind a famous Coronation Street villain and a Cornwall cultural charity director are among three new appointments made to the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth.

Plymouth based artist and actor Connor McIntyre, best known for his role at Pat Phelan in the long-running soap opera has been announced as the new patron of the theatre. He is joined by Claire Honey, formerly head of cultural experiences at Real Ideas Organisation CIC and chair of intoBodmin, taking up the role as development consultant and Laura Horton as artistic consultant.

It represents a home-coming for Mr McIntyre, 63, who started his acting career at the Barbican Theatre Plymouth and had remained an advocate for the theatre.

Claire Honey works across the creative industries and the social sector as a consultant with social enterprises, businesses and individuals, having formally worked as the Head of Cultural Experiences with Real Ideas Organisation CIC.

Laura Horton is a playwright, facilitator, publicist and former Plymouth Laureate of Words. Her play Breathless, which she produced alongside Theatre Royal Plymouth in Edinburgh, won a Fringe First in 2022 and toured to Soho Theatre and Off-Broadway in 2023.

Robin Tatam, chair of the Barbican Theatre Plymouth welcomed the trio, said: “We are thrilled that Claire and Laura will be joining the theatre. Claire brings a wealth of experience from the intersection of the creative industries and the social sector and Laura’s creative talent, performing arts and publicity experience will bring a fresh and exciting perspective to the space. We’re excited to build on our community and youth programmes and re-establish the theatre as a strong theatrical presence in Plymouth and beyond. We also can’t wait to welcome Connor as Patron, it’s a beautiful full circle moment.”

Claire Honey said: “I am deeply invested in the Barbican Theatre's significance as a cultural cornerstone in Plymouth. My commitment extends beyond consultation; it's a shared dedication to shaping its future and ensuring its enduring impact on the cultural fabric of the community. I look forward to collaborating closely with the entire team to bring forth an era of innovation, inclusivity, and creative brilliance.”

Laura Horton said she was honoured to be working with the theatre, added: “The Barbican Theatre was formative for me as a teenager, experiencing experimental, inventive and exciting new work here, not to mention spending many evenings in the bar. I’m honoured to start working with this brilliant team and excited to have an opportunity to fuse my experiences as a publicist, facilitator and artist to programme, support the local artistic community and explore opportunities to make the most of this beautiful, vibrant theatre.

Connor McIntyre said: "Over thirty years ago I wandered into the Barbican Theatre Plymouth by chance and found myself watching a rehearsal of a Steven Berkoff play, it was this experience that changed the course of my life and ignited my interest in acting and performance. As a passionate advocate for regional theatre and access to the arts I am delighted to be the new Patron of the Barbican Theatre."

After four years in the post CEO and artistic director Laura Kriefman stepped down in January 2024 to return to her creative practice.

Robin stated: “Laura Kriefman and I have together recognised that what is now needed is some support in defining how we operate before we decide on the next steps for the theatre.”