After 14 years at the helm, Dee Evans is leaving the Mercury Theatre, Colchester as its artistic director in January 2012. The theatre’s success was recognised earlier this year by its inclusion in the Arts Council’s national portfolio of funded organisations, which brings a three-year funding commitment.

She is currently programming the next season of work for the months up to July 2012. This will be announced, as usual, in January and will include a selection of in-house productions by the theatre company as well as visiting drama, theatre for children, music, dance and comedy.

In a formal statement, Evans says “I have relished the wonderful opportunities that working at the Mercury has given me and I am very proud of what we have achieved – board, staff and company – on stages, in the community, organisationally and financially.

“There is never a good time to make a change like this, but the Mercury has a great team and is in a strong position to move into planning and delivering the next three year cycle of work, so I have chosen to make the break now.

“Personally of course, I feel great sadness at leaving and will miss the place and the people very much. I would like to thank all of the thousands of people who have supported us over the years and look forward to seeing a very positive future unfold for the Mercury”.