The Lyric Theatre's Artistic Director, Richard Croxford, is to leave the theatre in December after five years in the job.
Richard, who has been one of the Lyric’s longest-serving Artistic Directors, will bow out after directing this year’s Christmas children’s show Cinderella which opens on 24 November. His musical version of Pride and Prejudice opens on the theatre’s Danske Bank Stage next week.
When Richard was appointed in 2008 the new theatre was still a building site, but under his creative leadership and imaginative programming the range and quality of the drama staged at the new Lyric has been recognised both nationally and internationally.
Some of the highlights of Richard’s time as Artistic Director include the opening production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, The Man Jesus with Simon Callow, and The Painkiller, starring Sir Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon – which broke all box office records. Richard was also responsible for programming Brendan at the Chelsea, directed by and starring Adrian Dunbar, which opens in New York next week as part of the theatre’s first transatlantic tour in a generation.
Richard has also overseen the Lyric’s Writer-in-Residence scheme and the multi award-winning education and outreach strand of the Lyric’s work with young people from diverse communities across Belfast.
Sid McDowell, the Lyric’s Vice Chairman said: “Richard has made a huge contribution to the life of the Lyric over the past five years. He was the right man, in the right place, at the right time and we wish him well as he starts this new chapter in his career. His time as Lyric Artistic Director has been a distinguished one and we hope he will return to work at the theatre as a visiting director in the years ahead.”
Richard Croxford said: “It’s always sad to come to the end of a contract when you have enjoyed your time so thoroughly. I have had five intense and wonderful years at the Lyric and am honoured to have been a small part of the Lyric’s new incarnation. I look forward hugely to returning as a freelance artist and wish the theatre the greatest of success for the future.”
Noírín McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council said: “Richard delivered an exceptional programme at the Lyric, consistently surprising and enthralling audiences. The many local actors and theatre practitioners whose careers have benefited as a result of his time at the Lyric will no doubt want to join us in wishing Richard continued success as he moves on.”
The recruitment process for Richard’s successor has now begun with the theatre seeking to appoint an Executive Producer who will be the overall creative leader of the entire organisation.