It has been announced that Daniel Evans will step down from his role at Sheffield Theatres in June 2016 to take over as artistic director of Chichester Festival Theatre, succeeding Jonathan Church.
Chichester Festival Theatre Chairman, William Castell: “I am delighted to confirm Daniel Evans as our next artistic leader. After a comprehensive search, we were presented with a very accomplished shortlist of candidates but it was clear that Daniel’s breadth of experience as a director and actor makes him a brilliant fit for Chichester Festival Theatre. He is widely admired for championing classical work and musicals alongside a commitment to new writing, and his passion for theatre is infectious. I am very happy he has chosen to share that with us as we look forward to a terrific future for CFT.”
Evans said: “I am truly delighted to be asked by the Board at Chichester Festival Theatre to become its next artistic director. Under the leadership of Jonathan Church and executive director Alan Finch, Chichester has developed into the most incredible theatrical powerhouse which has fed and nourished the local community in the South East as well as the theatre ecology throughout the UK and internationally. I look forward to collaborating with the team in West Sussex to develop that work further as the organisation evolves into this next exciting chapter in its history.
“I am hugely grateful to the entire staff at Sheffield Theatres and I’m deeply proud of the bold, passionate and enriching work we’ve achieved together in our City Region. It has been a real privilege to lead the organisation for the last seven years.”
Jonathan Church, who leaves Chichester in September 2016, added: “I could not be happier with this fantastic news. Daniel is a first-rate director with a real passion for theatre and I’m really pleased to be leaving Chichester Festival Theatre in such good hands. As someone who has lived and worked in Sheffield, I can truly appreciate everything that he has achieved there. Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre has the only other large-scale Guthrie thrust stage in the UK, so Daniel’s experience will sit wonderfully with our audience here in Chichester and be welcomed with great excitement by our staff.
“I will continue to programme and deliver our Festival 2016 season as I hand over to Daniel and wish him every good fortune as he takes over the helm.”
Evans trained as an actor and has gone on to be the recipient of two Olivier Awards and a Tony nomination. He has been artistic director of Sheffield Theatres since 2009 and is currently directing a new production of Show Boat at Sheffield and his production of American Buffalo with Damian Lewis recently completed a West End run at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
Evans reopened the Crucible Theatre in 2010 after a major £15million refurbishment. A major revival of An Enemy of the People with Anthony Sher launched his inaugural season. It was the start of a critically acclaimed tenure, which has seen the company win ten UK Theatre Awards including Best Musical Production (This is My Family), Best New Play (Bull), Best Touring Production (The Full Monty) in 2013, Translations in 2014 and in 2015, Twelfth Night. Its track record for creating ambitious and exciting work on its three stages was recognised in 2013 and 2014 when Sheffield Theatres won the Regional Theatre of the Year Award for an unprecedented two consecutive years in The Stage Awards.
Under Evans’ leadership Sheffield Theatres has produced six of Shakespeare’s greatest plays: Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet; four seasons celebrating the work of David Hare (2011), Michael Frayn (2012) Brian Friel (2014) and Sarah Kane (2015), and major musical productions of Me and My Girl, Company, My Fair Lady, Oliver! and Anything Goes, with Show Boat to open this month.
Evans has showcased new writing across all the spaces at the theatre – with new musicals including Tim Firth’s award-winning This is My Family and the forthcoming Flowers For Mrs Harris.
His production of The Full Monty enjoyed a three week, sell-out run at the Lyceum in 2013 before touring the UK and then transferring into the West End. Sheffield Theatres also enjoyed international success at the beginning of 2013 when it transferred its production of Mike Bartlett’s Bull to the 59E59 Theaters in New York as part of the Brits Off-Broadway Festival. The same production will return to the Young Vic this month following its successful run there in 2014.
He was responsible for the establishment of Sheffield People’s Theatre – an intergenerational company of community players which has staged several major productions featuring more than 100 participants including The Sheffield Mysteries and Camelot: The Shining City.
Evans also performed on the company’s stages in The Pride and Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
The role of artistic director of Sheffield Theatres will be advertised in January 2016.