Lisa Goldman has been appointed as artistic director of Soho Theatre (pictured), filling the vacancy left by Abigail Morris’ sudden departure before Christmas (See News, 12 Jan 2006). Goldman will join the company later this year, though no start date has yet been set.

Morris had been with Soho for 13 years, moving the company into its £10.6 million, purpose-built home in Dean Street and 2000 and helping to build it into one of London’s leading venues for new writers. Her departure was not officially confirmed until January, when a spokesperson confirmed to Whatsonstage.com that she had left by mutual agreement following several months of conversations between the director and the Soho board. Amongst the names mentioned in connection with the job have been Young Vic associate director Rufus Norris and Gate artistic director Thea Sharrock.

Goldman co-founded the new writing company, the Red Room, in 1995 and is currently its artistic director. Her productions have included Kay Adshead’s The Bogus Woman, Anthony Neilson’s Stitching and The Censor and Parv Bancil’s Made in England. Last year she wrote and directed an acclaimed walkabout performance Hoxton Story.

Commenting today, Goldman said: “I'm thrilled to be joining the remarkable team at Soho Theatre. I look forward to engaging audiences and artists with relevant, exceptional and daring new theatre, befitting these turbulent times.”

Chair of Soho’s board Nicholas Allott added: “I’m delighted to welcome Lisa as artistic director. There has been tremendous interest in this position, and Lisa’s vision shone out from an incredibly strong field. Building on our track record of innovation and good management, Soho has been able to make a bold appointment. Lisa’s approach will be distinctive, contemporary and provocative and will build on the company’s excellent existing programme to take us in challenging new directions.”

Founded in 1969 at Soho Poly and, from 1992 to 1995, based at the Cockpit Theatre near Edgware Road in London, Soho Theatre Company opened its current Dean Street home in 2000 (See News, 14 Mar 2000). The £10.6 million venue, which also houses a writers’ centre, became the West End's first ever purpose-built theatre for new work. Over the past five years, Soho has also developed a successful comedy and late night performance programme.

Jonathan Lloyd, a long-time associate director at Soho, will continue as acting artistic director until Goldman joins full-time. The theatre’s management team also includes executive director Mark Godfrey and Writers’ Centre director Nina Steiger.

- by Terri Paddock