Entertainment & Arts

National Theatre of Scotland names new artistic director

Laurie Sansom
Image caption Sansom was named best director for his work on Beyond the Horizon.

Laurie Sansom will take over the role of artistic director at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Sansom, currently the artistic director at Northampton's Royal and Derngate Theatre, replaces Vicky Featherstone, who moves to London's Royal Court.

Sansom has been guiding the Northampton theatre since 2006, and his direction helped the venue win Regional Theatre of the Year in January 2011.

He called his new post in Scotland "a thrilling challenge".

Sansom, who previously worked alongside Alan Ackybourn at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre, took up his position at the Royal & Derngate Theatre following major redevelopment.

Under his leadership, the theatre has won a number of accolades, including a best director award for Beyond the Horizon at the annual TMA (Theatre Management Association) Theatre Awards.

During his tenure, both Beyond the Horizon and another production, Spring Storm, transferred from Northampton to London's National Theatre, winning Sansom another best director nomination at the Evening Standard Awards.

A production of End of the Rainbow also enjoyed huge success, both in the West End and on national tour, and subsequently on Broadway.

"My six years at Royal & Derngate have been incredibly fulfilling," said Sansom. "Audiences in Northampton have been really supportive and helped the theatre go from strength to strength, with our work achieving national acclaim."

"Although it will be difficult to say goodbye to everyone at Royal & Derngate, it will be a thrilling challenge to lead the National Theatre of Scotland through the next stage of its development as it continues to champion new and innovative work in Scotland and beyond."

'Inspirational adventure'

Sansom's new role is one of a spate of changes among theatre's top brass.

Lucy Davies, who has been executive producer at National Theatre Wales since its launch, is to move to London's Royal Court as executive director, alongside incoming artistic director Vicky Featherstone.

Davies worked alongside artistic director John McGrath on the founding executive team of National Theatre Wales, launching the company in 2009. Previously she worked as executive producer, at the Donmar Warehouse, and at the National Theatre, under Nicholas Hytner.

"The past four years at National Theatre Wales have been the most memorable, inspirational adventure - I have worked with some outstanding colleagues and made some incredible friends," said Davies. "It has been a complete privilege, every moment."

McGrath offered his congratulations to both Davies and the Royal Court: "Without Lucy's expertise, joyful embrace of the unknown, and rare combination of creativity and practicality, our productions simply wouldn't have had the success they have."

"The partnership between Lucy and Vicky at the Royal Court is a truly exciting new chapter for British theatre."

At Manchester's Royal Exchange, Sarah Frankcom joins Greg Hersov as artistic director, as part of a leadership reshuffle which follows the retirement of Braham Murray in July - the last of the theatre's founding directors.

Frankcom said she was "really proud to be leading this iconic Manchester theatre into a new era". " I am excited about presenting original work, telling new stories and exploring new ideas inspired by the city and communities of which The Exchange sits at the heart."

The forthcoming Spring/Summer season will include three world premieres, as well as original productions of To Kill A Mockingbird and Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party.

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