Holly Kendrick, director and chief executive officer of the National Student Drama Festival, is to join HighTide Festival Theatre as joint executive director with HighTide’s artistic director Steve Atkinson in July 2012. Atkinson has worked with Kendrick before, at the NSDF, where he is a selector.

She has led the NSDF since 2006, during which she has produced five annual festivals in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and, for 2012, has created the International Student Drama Festival in Sheffield (22-30 June) in partnership with Sheffield Theatres, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, LIFT, the RSC, Old Vic Tunnels, IdeasTap and London 2012.

Criona Palmer, the interim chair of Hightide’s board said that: “It's a reflection on the growing profile of HighTide that an arts executive of Holly's calibre has agreed to take on this new role. Holly is joining the company at an exciting and pivotal phase in its development and the board is confident that she and Steven will be able to steer HighTide to even greater heights”.

Kendrick’s own comment is: “Never in the whole of human history has there been fewer reasons to leave the house, with everything you can imagine being streamed, posted, delivered to your door. Despite this, festivals still exist and are essential. They cannot be replicated and they allow the audience to take risks, to go on an adventure, to be part of something in the flesh. I am delighted to join the HighTide team who produce the most exceptional festival in Suffolk with the most wonderful array of new writing. HighTide is without doubt the future of theatre".

Kendrick has been working professionally as a producer for fourteen years. In addition to leading the NSDF, she founded the Caird Company with John Caird and led it as its producer between 2001-2005; she has also s worked in the touring department of the National Theatre (between 1998-2001). She is currently on the boards of the Viviana Durante Company, Sheffield Theatres and is chairman of curious directive – who are producing two new plays Binary for HighTide Festival 2012.

HighTide’s board will be advertising for a new chairman shortly. This is to replace the founding chairman Mary Allen, formerly chief executive of the Royal Opera House and secretary-general of The Arts Council of England, who is retiring after five years’ service.