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Lancaster’s Dukes Theatre appoints Karen O’Neill as director following restructure

Karen O'Neill, director of the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster
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Karen O’Neill has been appointed director of the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster.

She takes over in the newly created role of director – a merger of the previous chief executive and artistic director roles.

The theatre announced earlier this year that it would restructure its leadership team as part of a new business model aimed at weathering funding cuts and securing “a sustainable financial future”.

Lancaster’s Dukes Theatre to restructure leadership in response to funding cuts

O’Neill joins the Dukes from the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, where she is executive director. She will take over at the Dukes from August.

She said: “The Dukes is at the heart of the creative landscape of Lancaster and has an amazing reputation both locally and nationally as a creator of excellence.

“I am looking forward to working alongside our board and partners to shape the next chapter, creating a bold and inspiring organisation for our audiences, communities and artists.”

Last month, the Dukes was one of five theatres in the North West of England that came under fire from actors who expressed concern over a decrease in work opportunities at the venues.

The Dukes responded acknowledging the reduction in output due to funding levels, but said its new model would ensure the theatre “survives and thrives into the future”.

North West actors: Theatre work is being drastically reduced in our region

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