York’s Cruden steps down after 22 years

Theatre Royal artistic director will move to Rose theatre revival

York Theatre Royal’s long standing artistic director Damian Cruden is to step down later this year.

Cruden, who has been at the York venue for 22 years, is leaving to take over as artistic director of the Shakespeare Rose Theatre project. The project, which premiered in York last year, will stage productions of Shakespeare’s plays in a replica of the original Rose theatre in York and Blenheim, Oxford.

Speaking about his departure, Cruden said: "I feel content that the company is in a strong position with great possibilities for a fantastically innovative future. I wish the company every success in its continuing unfolding story that is York Theatre Royal.”

His last production with York Theatre Royal will be a summer family show, Swallows and Amazons.

Cruden has won accolades for developing the venue's youth theatre, including the pioneering Takeover season, which allows young people to produce their own programme. His production of The Railway Children ran for four years in York and London and won an Olivier Award. He also masterminded a major open-air cycle of the York Mystery Plays in 2012.

The move follows the returement earlier this year of the theatre’s veteran panto dame Berwick Kaler after 40 years, which means that the 2019 panto will have a new star and new director. York Theatre Royal executive director Tom Bird is due to make an announcement on the panto plans in the coming weeks.

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