Mark Thomson is to step down as artistic director of the Lyceum next May, 2016, at the end of the theatre’s 50th anniversary season.
Thomson took over in 2003 after moving from the Brunton where he had also been AD. In the 13 years of his tenure the Lyceum will have produced over 90 shows of which 28 will have been world premieres. While he does not have a new post lined up, Thomson said in his parting statement that a “new adventure” is on the cards for him now.
Although the company controversially had its Creative Scotland three year budget cut by 17.5% at the latest funding round in November, Thomson leaves the company on a high, with a seven strong season programmed for the coming year.
He said: “I can’t think of a more positive way to finish my time here at the Lyceum than celebrating its 50th anniversary season with the likes of Brian Cox and Bill Paterson, great Lyceum people like Tony Cownie, John Dove and Liz Lochhead and with exciting collaborations with the Lyric Hammersmith, Told by an Idiot and National Theatre of Scotland.
“It is so difficult to leave a place like this with its incredible, dedicated and skilful teams, creative buzz and intelligent audiences. However, it’s absolutely time for a new adventure for me now just as I have always seen my time here as the constant refreshing of passion-led creative adventure for the artists and audiences in this extraordinary arena that celebrates theatre so vibrantly.”
“passionate and inspiring”
Æ understands that Thomson told the Lyceum board of his decision on Thursday morning before making the announcement public at a surprised staff meeting. The formal process to appoint his successor will begin later this month with an announcement hoped for by autumn 2015.
Describing Thomson as a “passionate and inspiring” artistic director, Lyceum chairman Shonaig Macpherson CBE said: “His commitment to ensuring the company produced bold seasons of work, encompassing the great classics of the theatre canon alongside new plays commissioned by The Lyceum, provided our audiences with a rich repertoire of high quality theatre.
“Our recently announced 50th Anniversary Season is the embodiment of this commitment and is set to be a fitting testament to his vision. We will of course be sad to see Mark leave, but in announcing his decision now our succession plans should allow for a smooth transition into the next chapter of artistic leadership.”