James Dacre, whose credits include Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning play The Mountaintop, has been appointed the new artistic director of the Royal & Derngate theatres in Northampton. He will take up his new post this summer and succeeds Laurie Sansom, who, as previously announced, is leaving to head up the National Theatre of Scotland.

Since helming the world premiere of The Mountaintop - which started at south London’s tiny Theatre503 before transferring to the West End and going on to become the surprise winner of the 2010 Olivier for Best New Play, besting both Jerusalem and Enron - Dacre’s notable directing credits have included: As You Like It for Shakespeare’s Globe and on two European tours, King James Bible for the National and The Accrington Pals at Royal Exchange, Manchester. His premiere of Amanda Whittington’s The Thrill of Love transferred to London’s St James Theatre this week, following runs at Newcastle-under-Lyme’s New Vic and Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph theatres.

Dacre originally trained on the ITV/Channel 4 Regional Theatre Scheme at the New Vic Theatre, Stoke, where he later became resident artistic associate.

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Royal & Derngate, commented: “We are delighted that James will be joining the team here in Northampton, bringing his experience and enthusiasm to build on the successes we have enjoyed over the years.” He added: “It was a very competitive field, and we are really encouraged by the quality of candidates who want to work in regional theatre.”

Dacre said: “Laurie Sansom is a huge act to follow. And I feel highly privileged to be joining the exceptional team at Royal & Derngate, which is one of the most exciting venues in Britain to be creating theatre today. Few theatres enjoy such a close relationship with their audience. And as the new artistic director, I want Royal & Derngate to continue living at the heart of its community while inspiring the country’s most brilliant writers, actors and directors to create original theatre that will address the major concerns of our time. Northampton, with its rich mix of old and new, urban and rural, liberal and conservative, is the perfect place to do that.”