William Burdett-Coutts has left Riverside Studios after 27 years, as the venue’s board confirms a leadership restructure.
Burdett-Coutts’ departure from his longstanding role as artistic director and chief executive emerges as the west London venue announces Rachel Tackley will join as its interim creative director.
Riverside Studios reopened some of its spaces at the end of 2019 following a five-year, £50 million refurbishment to create two theatres, television studios and a cinema, as well as rehearsal and event spaces, restaurants and bars.
The board said work is underway to allow it to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, but that current circumstances had prompted it to restructure the organisation’s leadership and "refocus the trust’s charitable purposes".
"Given the unprecedented new environment and the future challenges that Riverside faces, the board has decided to put in place a new leadership structure to succeed William Burdett-Coutts, who has led Riverside Studios for the past 27 years as chief executive and artistic director," the statement said.
As part of the new team Tackley joins as interim creative director and will lead the programming team.
Her previous roles have included leading English Touring Theatre, executive director of Chichester Festival Theatre and president of UK Theatre.
Tony Lankester, Riverside Studios’ general manager, will become interim executive director, while Guy Hornsby, whose been executive director for the past 14 years, will become interim director of business and finance.
"Together with our remarkable staff, they will lead Riverside Studios through a period of considerable change as we adapt our artistic offerings and our premises to the post-Covid world and refocus on the trust’s charitable purposes," the board said.
Burdett-Coutts, who also manages the Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue operator Assembly, will continue to chair Riverside TV Studios, which is a tenant on the west London site.
The statement added that Burdett-Coutts would "remain a formidable figure in the Riverside Studios story" and had offered to provide help and support during its recovery from the pandemic.