Roxana Silbert (pictured) has been appointed as the new artistic director of renowned new writing touring company Paines Plough. She’ll take over in January 2005, following the departure this month of Vicky Featherstone, who has become the first-ever artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland (See News, 5 Aug 2004).

Silbert is an acclaimed director of new writing, having also worked as literary director of the Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre. Her recent directorial projects include Whistle in the Dark by Tom Murphy (Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre), Blonde Bombshells (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Damages (Bush), At The Table and Still Nothing (Royal Court).

Silbert was awarded a Fringe First, Glasgow Herald Award, Time Out Award and the Critics’ Circle Award for her production of Henry Adam’s The People Next Door, which transferred to London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East last year after its premiere at the Traverse during the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her 2002 festival production of Rona Munro’s Iron, transferred to the Royal Court in February 2003, won an Evening Standard Award and John Whiting Award for Best Play.

Commenting on the appointment of her successor, Featherstone said: "I am flattered that someone of Roxana's calibre and talent has agreed to become the new artistic director of Paines Plough. She's an inspirational director and I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing where she takes Paines Plough.”

Paines Plough, one of Britain's leading touring companies of new work, celebrated their 30th year anniversary this year. The company will be taking up residency at south London’s Menier Chocolate Factory from 2 January 2005 with a major season of new writing entitled “This Other England”, featuring new plays by Enda Walsh, Philip Ridley, David Greig and Douglas Maxwell, directed by Featherstone and John Tiffany.

- by Hannah Kennedy