St James Theatre to be run without artistic director

The St James Theatre in London. Photo: Tom Cronin
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The St James Theatre will not replace its artistic director David Gilmore when he leaves at the end of the month, the London venue has confirmed.

It is also expected that the post of executive theatre director – held by Guy Kitchenn, who will leave at the same time as Gilmore – will not be re-advertised either.

The pair announced in a joint statement last week that they would be stepping down at the end of November.

A spokeswoman for the theatre said there would be no new artistic director, and that chief executive Robert Mackintosh would continue in his role as a leading member of the venue’s creative team.

Independent producer Karl Sydow, who has a show booked at the venue for next year, said it was a “concern” that Gilmore and Kitchenn were leaving.

He said: “I thought David Gilmore did a marvellous job of programming the theatre and he and Guy did a great job of running the theatre. It concerns me that they are leaving because I’ve had a long and fruitful association with both of them.”

Asked if he planned to continue to bring his shows to the venue, Sydow said: “We will see what happens – we will see how things go forward. It’s difficult to comment until the new regime is in place. The past team were very good to work with, and I’ve known them for a long time, so I knew what to expect when I went to the theatre.”

The London venue’s two senior members of staff have been in their posts for two and a half years, prior to the venue opening in September 2012.

In a statement, they said they were leaving to create a new production company. It is understood they handed in their notice to the venue several weeks before this announcement.

They said: “It has been exhilarating to be part of the creation of a new theatre for London – from building site to a fully developed and flourishing part of the West End theatrical scene.”

“We are both very excited about the future and have some wonderful projects we hope to bring to a wider audience, and, of course, hope that some of these will be seen at the St James in the future,” they added.

The pair will leave their posts on November 23 when their contracts expire.

Mackintosh said: “David and Guy have fulfilled the huge task of getting the St James Theatre up and running, and we couldn’t have asked for two better people to do the job.

“I look forward to working with both David and Guy again in the near future on some of their own projects.”

The St James Theatre, which includes a 312-seat main auditorium and a second 100-seat space, was built as the long-awaited replacement for the Westminster Theatre.

The £7 million venue opened in September 2012, run by joint chief executives Mackintosh and Alan Judd.