Susie McKenna has stepped down as creative director of the Hackney Empire, after seven years in the role.
McKenna has confirmed that she will retain a part time role at the venue, continuing as executive creative producer, with a budget to develop new, diverse musical theatre for the Empire.
According to the outgoing creative director, the move will enable her to "pursue a freelance career as a writer, director and actor, while still creating work for the Hackney Empire stage." She added that she will continue to write and direct the venue's annual pantomime.
McKenna, who stepped down from the position on 3 January, thanked colleagues including chief executive Claire Middleton, creative learning producer Yamin Choudury and Rachel Horowitz.
"I’ve worked alongside many wonderful artists, creatives, producers and an administrative team" she said, "whose passion have made this wonderful theatre what it is today, with a reputation for high quality popular entertainment and a vast community footprint which serves Hackney and its surrounding boroughs."
McKenna's successor is yet to be announced.