Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dundee RepJames Brininghas been appointed as the new Artistic Director ofWest Yorkshire Playhousefollowing Ian Brown's decision to step down after 10 years at the helm. The Playhouse is thrilled to have appointed one of the UK's leading artistic voices and one of Scotland's most successful Artistic Directors to take the organisation into the future. Leeds-born Brining will make a welcome return to his home city to lead one of the country's largest and most significant regional producing theatres.
Brining brings with him a wealth of experience, both as a stage director and in running a successful regional venue, making its mark on a national scale. Under his leadership Dundee Rep has been recognised as one of Scotland's foremost theatres and cultural hubs, being home not only to one of the few ensemble companies in the UK (Dundee Rep Ensemble), but also to Scottish Dance Theatre and Rep Creative Learning. During Brining's tenure Dundee Rep has won and been nominated for more TMA and Critics Awards in Scotland than any other Scottish theatre. The Company has gained a national and international reputation, touring work across the world to countries as diverse as Iran, Mexico and Japan, as well as throughout the UK.
As a director Brining has created premiere productions of newly commissioned plays by leading Scottish writers such as David Greig and Stephen Greenhorn, as well as presenting reinterpretations of contemporary drama and revivals of classic plays. His productions of SUNSHINE ON LEITH and SWEENEY TODD won TMA Best Musical in 2007 and 2010 respectively and he is currently working on the first major revival of Zinnie Harris' acclaimed drama FURTHER THAN THE FURTHEST THING. In his previous role as Artistic Director of TAG Theatre Company, Brining developed work with and for young people from across Scotland, a strand of work which has continued to play an integral role for him during his time at Dundee Rep. His extensive knowledge and skills as a director and creative leader were called upon for the creation of both the National Theatre of Scotland and the Playwrights' Studio, Scotland when he sat on the Steering Groups to establish both organisations.
On accepting the position as West Yorkshire Playhouse's new Artistic Director, Brining comments…
I am hugely excited by the opportunity to return home and lead this great theatre into a new era. I look forward to bringing the many strands of my experience together at one of Britain's leading cultural organisations and to working on both Playhouse stages, as well as providing platforms for other artists to make extraordinary work. I want to develop a culture of creativity and excellence, building partnerships at home and throughout the UK as well as overseas. Theatre is a vital element of our cultural and social fabric and I aim to ensure that West Yorkshire Playhouse is a place where people have life-enriching and transformative experiences. It's our job to throw open the doors and welcome people to the Playhouse with unforgettable, world-class work.
Brining was appointed ahead of strong competition and his directorship of this regional powerhouse will begin in late summer 2012. His compelling creative vision, inspiring programme of work and uncompromising passion to engage on a national scale with a regional focus secured his position as the theatre's next creative leader. Playhouse Chief Executive Sheena Wrigley comments
I am very excited to be welcoming James Brining to the Playhouse. He has a singularly strong sense of how a theatre deeply rooted in its locality can have a rich and resonant national voice. The Playhouse has an illustrious past, under the directorships of Jude Kelly and Ian Brown, but like much of the arts sector at this time faces considerable challenges. James' experience, creativity and vitality will be central to shaping a dynamic future for the theatre. I look forward to working with him to take the West Yorkshire Playhouse into a new era.
In the current economic climate it is vital that theatres like West Yorkshire Playhouse continue to push boundaries, challenge their audiences, stimulate debate and provide somewhere a shared experience can be enjoyed by all.