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‘Inspirational’ artistic director Chissick to quit Harrogate

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Harrogate Theatre artistic director Hannah Chissick has announced that she will be quitting this April after three years in charge of the venue.

When she joined the theatre in 2003, Chissick, at 26, was one of the youngest artistic directors in the country and one of only three women running a regional theatre. She now leaves to pursue a freelance career.

Commenting on her resignation, she said: “After an amazing three years as artistic director, I have decided that it is time for me to move on and seek new challenges. My time in Harrogate has been the most thrilling and fulfilling of my career and I would like to thank the staff, board and audiences of Harrogate Theatre for all their support and encouragement… I hope my involvement in the future and aspirations of Harrogate Theatre will be an ongoing one.”

Prior to working at Harrogate, Chissick worked at the King’s Head Theatre in London and later at the Derby Playhouse, as part of the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. During her time at Harrogate, she had success with shows such as Art – her first production at the theatre, which attracted an average house of 96% – and revivals of Teechers, Bouncers and House and Garden.

However, more recently, the venue has struggled to attract sufficient audiences and earlier this year the management was forced to announce that it was in talks with funders to resolve a projected shortfall for the end of this season.

Speaking about Chissick’s decision to leave, chief executive David Bown commented: “Back in 2001 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport instructed the arts council and the producing theatres to challenge audiences with adventurous programming, large cast shows, new drama and exciting production values. Since her arrival at Harrogate Theatre, Hannah Chissick has done all of this and more.

“Not only has she brought some of the most exciting acting talent in the country to Harrogate, she has delivered some stunning productions. She will be deeply missed by everyone connected with the theatre, she has been truly inspirational amongst the staff and many will look back at her time here as a defining moment in the history of Harrogate Theatre.”

Chissick will leave the venue after the completion of her final production Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, which is currently playing at the theatre. She has already programmed until the end of the summer and the theatre expects to begin recruiting for a successor in the autumn.

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