James Dacre appointed Royal and Derngate artistic director

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Northampton’s Royal and Derngate has announced James Dacre as its new artistic director.

Dacre previously directed the world premiere of The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, which beat Jerusalem to win the Olivier Award for best new play in 2010, and more recently co-directed a staged reading of the King James Bible at the National Theatre.

He replaces Laurie Sansom, who left to join the National Theatre of Scotland after heading Royal and Derngate since 2006.

Dacre said: “Laurie Sansom is a huge act to follow. And I feel highly privileged to be joining the exceptional team at Royal & Derngate, which is one of the most exciting venues in Britain to be creating theatre today. Few theatres enjoy such a close relationship with their audience.”

The incoming artistic director, who studied directing at Columbia University in the US on a Fulbright Scholarship, trained on the ITV/Channel 4 regional theatre scheme at the New Vic Theatre, Stoke, where he later became resident artistic associate. His production of The Thrill of Love by Amanda Whittington is playing at the St James Theatre in London until May 4.

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Royal and Derngate, commented: “We are delighted that James will be joining the team here in Northampton, bringing his experience and enthusiasm to build on the successes we have enjoyed over the years.”

Dacre will take up his new post this summer.