Arifa Akbar is to succeed Michael Billington as chief theatre critic at the Guardian.
Former literary editor of the Independent, Akbar has written about the arts for the Guardian over several years and will become its chief theatre critic in January. She leaves her role as arts editor at Tortoise Media to take up the position at the Guardian.
Billington announced this week he would be stepping down from the role.
Akbar said: “I have always loved the Guardian and it has only grown more dynamic, diverse and campaigning under [editor-in-chief] Katharine Viner, not just in its political coverage but across the arts too.”
She added: “Today’s theatre is alive with imagination, passion and fury, talking directly to, and about, the world we live in. I hope to reflect that in my coverage and critiques.”
Viner described Akbar as “a wonderful writer on the arts”.
“Her reviews are thoughtful, evocative and insightful; they’re sometimes witty and often moving. I can’t think of a better writer to guide Guardian readers through all that is new and exciting on the stage,” she added.
Billington announced this week that he will be stepping down at Christmas after five decades and 10,000 reviews in the role.