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James Dacre to step down as artistic director of Royal and Derngate

Dacre joined the venue in 2013

James Dacre
© Marc Brenner

James Dacre is set to step down as artistic director of Northampton's Royal and Derngate, it has been revealed.

Dacre will see out a decade in the role when the venue completes its 2022/23 season next year.

During his tenure Royal and Derngate has been recognised as a powerhouse producing venue, responsible for a variety of shows that have toured internationally and enjoyed spells in the West End. In fact, of the 120 shows produced at the venue, 60 have had additional runs elsewhere.

He explained today: "As I reach my tenth year, the culmination of several major strategic projects, the successful completion of our current funding term and the launch of our most far-reaching season yet, it seems like the right time to embark upon a new chapter in my career. Leaving next spring also provides plenty of time to begin the careful process of handing the artistic reins of these very special theatres to a new artistic director.

Our industry has been through seismic challenges and changes over the past few years but Royal and Derngate is thriving. It truly is a community venue, a centre of artistic excellence and ambition and a home for exceptional educational and social opportunities for young people. Over the past decade it has been an enormous privilege to create and champion such a wide range of work for Royal and Derngate's three stages but also for Northampton's civic spaces, from football stadiums, cathedrals and high streets to car parks, castles, and waterways. It has also been thrilling to see so much of this work go on to tour the country and the world. And I know Royal and Derngate will always shout from the rooftops that regional theatres do so much more than simply put on shows. They nourish civic life and serve local communities, promoting cultural exchange through creativity.

"There's still much good work to do before I leave Northampton next spring but, for my part, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our Trustees for their wisdom, to our remarkable, kind, and inspiring chief executive Jo Gordon and all the magnificent, talented and passionate colleagues and theatre practitioners I have been lucky enough to work with. For the future, I'm looking forward to building upon my relationships across the sector by directing and producing new theatre, opera, film and music projects across the UK both as an independent artist and through my new production company - Living Theatre Productions - which launches in the New Year."