Gene David Kirk steps down as Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre
TODAY (October 12, 2012), Gene David Kirk has announced that he will step down as Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre at the end of this year. He will be replaced by the venue’s current Associate Director, Anthony Biggs.
However, Kirk will stay on in an advisory capacity as Executive Director in order to oversee the auditorium refurbishment and the completion of ongoing funding streams and applications.
Since Kirk was appointed four years ago as its first Artistic Director in ten years, Jermyn Street Theatre has been transformed from what was essentially a receiving house into one of the most exciting small producing spaces in the UK. This feat was publically recognised earlier this year, when Jermyn Street Theatre received The Stage Fringe Theatre of The Year Award 2012.
During his tenure Kirk has developed a commitment to presenting both rarely performed European and American classics and vibrant new plays and musicals – an artistic policy that will be reinforced and fostered by Anthony Biggs.
Highlights during Kirk’s term have included his critically acclaimed productions of Charles Dyer’s Mother Adam and Tennessee Williams’ The Two-Character Play, as well as Anthony Biggs’ productions of Ibsen’s Little Eyolf starring Imogen Stubbs, The River Line by Charles Morgan and the UK premiere of another Ibsen play, St John’s Night.
And last night saw the opening of Trevor Nunn’s production of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall, starring Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon. Meanwhile, Kirk’s farewell production at the helm will be the UK premiere of long-running Off-Broadway musical Boy Meets Boy, which opens on November 21.
In 2011, Jermyn Street Theatre was nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award.
Kirk has programmed the first six months of 2013, whilst Biggs is concentrating on the output from that point on. Productions from January to July 2013 include a rare revival of Ivor Novello’s Gay’s The Word, which will be followed by Graham Greene’s little-performed play, The Living Room, directed by Tom Littler.
In April, Anthony Biggs will direct a 1920s classic – Frederick Lonsdale’s superb comedy-of-manners, On Approval. Finally, the season will culminate with Robert Chevara’s production of the wonderfully strange In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel by Tennessee Williams, which has not been seen in London for thirty years.
Kirk himself will be working in the US for much of next year. In March 2013, he will be in New York to direct The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams starring Amanda Plummer, after which he moves to Los Angeles to direct a ‘yet to be announced’ production with the Actors’ Company LA.
Gene David Kirk says:
“Four years ago the Trustees asked me to take over the artistic helm at Jermyn Street Theatre, and to give it an identity as a producing theatre with a clear artistic output. I feel I have achieved that brief and it is now time for new leadership on the artistic level; someone who can identify where the theatre has come from, where it is now, and what it needs to do in order to become even more alluring to a theatre-going public deciding where to spend their well-earned money.
“Anthony Biggs has been named as my successor and I truly cannot think of a better person and a more well-placed individual to take the theatre on to the next level.
“My heartfelt thanks and respect must go to the incomparable Penny Horner, who has been my rock at every moment over the past four years. Her stability and passion have made dreams come true. All of us at Jermyn Street Theatre now look to this next phase with a core commitment to deliver a quality of work beyond its perceived station.”