Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Kerry Michael and Jermyn Street Theatre’s Anthony Biggs have both announced their intention to step down as artistic directors of their popular London venues.
Michael, who has spent 12 highly successful years in the post, will leave Theatre Royal Stratford East at the end of this year.
In a statement announcing his departure, Michael said: “One of the most rewarding aspects of this job is supporting the next wave of artists and staff, so it’s important I give someone else the opportunity to have one of the best jobs in British theatre…I’m going to very much enjoy watching this important theatre that I love soar higher and higher in the years to come.”
Paying tribute to Michael, Neil Darlison, director, theatre – Arts Council England said: “Kerry Michael has been a central figure in British theatre for nearly two decades. He has recently overseen the refurbishment to the Stratford Theatre Royal’s magnificent main auditorium, and built a truly welcoming and lively community space where audiences have enjoyed many, many great plays and musicals. He leaves a legacy worthy of the theatre’s founder, and we look forward with anticipation to Kerry’s next endeavours, to the future of Stratford East and to what his successor brings.”
The search for Michael’s replacement will begin soon while his own plans for the future will be revealed later in the year.
Biggs meanwhile will leave his post as artistic director of leading Off-West End venue the Jermyn Street Theatre in the summer after nearly five years in the job.
Following Biggs’ final production, the UK premiere of Maxim Gorky’s The Last Ones which will run from 6 June until 1 July, Tom Littler (the venue’s current associate director and former artistic director of Primavera theatre) will take over the role of artistic director. Littler will present his first season in the autumn.
Revealing his decision to leave, Biggs said: “I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved over the past five years, especially the international seasons and the introduction of the Equity Fringe Agreement. It’s been a joy and a privilege to lead this special theatre, and I’m looking forward to pursuing new projects. I leave the theatre in very capable hands, and I wish Tom every success for the future.”
Littler added: “I’m overjoyed to take on this role at my favourite studio theatre. Jermyn Street Theatre is an art-house jewel in the West End’s crown and Anthony is handing on a thriving, much-loved venue.
“As artistic director, I’ll be collaborating with theatres throughout the UK and abroad to deliver an ambitious programme of intriguing rediscoveries, alongside new work by emerging talents and major playwrights. Our audiences can look forward to intelligent, stimulating, entertaining productions, created and performed by equal numbers of women and men. I’m currently finalizing our unmissable autumn season.”