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Dundee Rep's James Brining to replace Ian Brown at WYP

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Artistic director of Dundee Rep James Brining will replace Ian Brown as artistic director of West Yorkshire Playhouse (WYP), taking over the reigns of the Leeds venue later this summer.

Brown announced in March 2011 that he would step down from the position later this year having spent 10 years in the job.

Leeds-born Brining joins WYP having reinforced Dundee Rep's reputation as one of Scotland's leading theatre companies. One of the few British theatres to operate an ensemble company, Brining has also been responsible for leading Scottish Dance Theatre and Rep Creative Learning as joint artistic director and chief executive since June 2003.

As a director Brining has created productions of newly commissioned works by writers including David Greig and Stephen Greenhorn. His productions of Sunshine on Leith and Sweeney Todd won TMA Best Musical in 2007 and 2010 respectively and he is currently working on the first major revival of Zinnie Harris’ acclaimed drama Further Than The Furthest Thing.

Prior to the Rep, Brining was artistic director of TAG Theatre Company. He has also directed site-specific theatre, radio drama for the BBC and opera on the Southbank. His other theatre roles include being community director of the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond and Proteus Theatre Company, a new writing company touring Southern England.

In a statement Brining said of his new appointment: "I am hugely excited by the opportunity to return home and lead this great theatre into a new era. I look forward to bringing the many strands of my experience together at one of Britain’s leading cultural organisations and to working on both Playhouse stages, as well as providing platforms for other artists to make extraordinary work.

"I want to develop a culture of creativity and excellence, building partnerships at home and throughout the UK as well as overseas. Theatre is a vital element of our cultural and social fabric and I aim to ensure that West Yorkshire Playhouse is a place where people have life-enriching and transformative experiences.

It’s our job to throw open the doors and welcome people to the Playhouse with unforgettable, world-class work."

Ian Brown became artistic director of the regional powerhouse in 2002 taking over as both artistic director and chief executive of WYP from Jude Kelly. She in turn had lead the building since it opened in 1990.

He inaugurated his tenure with a production of Hamlet starring Christopher Eccleston, and recently marked the venue’s 21st birthday with Tim Pigott-Smith starring in King Lear.

In the years between, Brown has also directed Twelth Night, Macbeth and As You Like It, while his own non-Shakespeare hits have included When We Are Married, Hay Fever and Pretending to Be Me, which starred Tom Courtenay and transferred to the West End.

Other WYP co-productions that have transferred – nine in total – during Brown’s term have included Othello with Lenny Henry and the Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Award-winning The 39 Steps, still running at the Criterion Theatre, while 32 WYP shows have toured the UK.


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