Award-winning director lands ‘best job in London theatre’ at Islington’s renowned Almeida

PUBLISHED: 15:01 11 February 2013 | UPDATED: 15:01 11 February 2013

Islington's Almeida Theatre is one of the capital's top fringe theatres.

 Picture: Ewald van der Straeten

Islington's Almeida Theatre is one of the capital's top fringe theatres. Picture: Ewald van der Straeten

Ewald van der Straeten

An award-winning director has landed the job described as “the best in London theatre” as the new head of one of Islington’s most prestigious playhouses.

Rupert Goold, acclaimed director of West End hits such as Enron and The Effect, which stars Billie Piper, is set to become artistic director at the internationally-renowned Almeida Theatre in Almeida Street in August.

Mr Goold is already due to direct the world premiere of a musical based on Bret Easton Ellis’s cult novel American Psycho at the Almeida in December, while his company Headlong, which he has helmed since 2005, will also co-produce Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica at the 325-seat theatre in May.

He described the space as “magical”, saying: “After eight wonderful years at Headlong I’m thrilled to be joining the Almeida, with our collaborations on Chimerica and American Psycho this year it feels the perfect timing. I look forward to welcoming the best artists from here and abroad to make work in this magical theatre and building on its international reputation for theatre of risk and vision.”

Mr Goold, who lives in Finsbury Park, succeeds Michael Attenborough, son of actor Richard, who has enjoyed 11 successful years as artistic director and is stepping down in order to concentrate on directing.

In recent years, Mr Attenborough has produced works by such heavyweight playwrights as Neil LaBute, David Mamet and Stephen Poliakoff.

As he celebrated a decade in the post last year, he told the Gazette he had “the best job in London theatre”, despite it being “pretty full-on and stressful”.

He said of Mr Goold’s appointment: “I can pay Rupert no higher compliment than point to the fact that we are co-producing two shows with his company Headlong (one of which he is directing himself) during my final season up to the end of 2013.

“I am truly thrilled to be passing the theatre on to, not only a bold and brilliant director, but someone who takes equal delight in the promotion of other artists and the same ambitious, progressive programming for which the Almeida has always been known.”

Mr Goold previously directed Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at the Almeida in 2008.

Christopher Rodrigues CBE, chair of the Almeida Theatre Board, said: “Rupert has an exceptional international reputation and could not be better placed to take the Almeida forward at what is a particularly exciting time for British theatre.

“The Almeida is thrilled that he has accepted the role and we are very much looking forward to welcoming him to our Islington base later this year. In due course, we very much look forward to sharing his plans with all of our supporters.”

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