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Steven Atkinson to step down as artistic director of HighTide, 2018 programme announced

The company will present shows in Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and Walthamstow

Steven Atkinson and The Mix pop-up venue, which will appear in Walthamstow
© Right: Simon Kennedy

Steven Atkinson will stand down as artistic director of HighTide after 12 years in the job in 2019, it has been announced.

Atkinson, who co-founded the company in 2007, has been responsible for overseeing shows by some of the most iconic playwrights of the generation, including Ella Hickson, Luke Barnes, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins and Al Smith.

Atkinson said: "Creating and leading HighTide has been such a brilliant start to my career. I've decided that in 2019, after 12 years as artistic director and CEO, it's the right time to take up new opportunities in theatre producing. I'm proud of HighTide's contribution to Waltham Forest's winning bid as the first London Borough of Culture in 2019 and my programming will conclude with HighTide Festival Walthamstow in September 2019."

The news comes as HighTide announces its full 2018 programme, which will be performed in Edinburgh across August before heading to Aldeburgh from 11 to 16 September and Walthamstow from 18 to 30 September.

As previously announced, the company will present five shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Tallulah Brown's coming-of-age, folk-laced play Songlines will be produced alongside HighTide's associate company DugOut, Jessica Butcher's two-hander musical Sparks will feature original music by Anoushka Lucas and Danusia Samal will present a new gig-theatre piece Busking It about busking on the Tube. David Aula and Simon Evans' The Extinction Event and Harry Blake's new comedy musical Thor and Loki will also premiere.

From Edinburgh, the company will go to Aldeburgh for its fourth successive year, where the five above shows will be joined by pieces including Luke Wright's work-in-progress Poet Laureate, Jon Brittain's A Super Happy Story (about Feeling Super Sad), and Jeffrey Holland's ...And This is My Friend Mr Laurel. Also programmed are Isley Lynn's Skin A Cat, Apphia Campbell and Meredith Yarbrough's Woke and Soul Sessions, also with Campbell.

Performances take place across the Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall, Pumphouse, Aldeburgh Cinema, Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and for the first time ever this year late night events will take place in Ye Olde Cross Keys.

In Walthamstow, the company will return with the Hub, with eleven family shows as well as performances from visiting companies including HighRise Theatre with Lil.Miss.Lady, exploring the history of Grime, and Waltham Forest company Stand and Be Counted with Where We Began, featuring an international cast. There will also be a reading of Tariq Jordan's Ali and Dahlia.

The comedy programme will feature Tim Key's Megadate, a work in progress from Sofie Hagen, and The Horne Section. There will also be gigs from Arthur Darvill and Inès De Clercq, Songlines band TRILLS, and Soul in the Van.

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