Dame Darcey Bussell has been announced as the new chair of the board at Theatre Royal Plymouth (TRP).
The former Strictly Come Dancing judge praised the “excellence” of the venue and said she was in full support of the “bold and ambitious” plans for the future.
Her appointment, effective from April 1, was announced to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8.
Dame Darcey will be taking over the position from Nick Buckland who is retiring from TRP’s board after 13 years.
“I have known of the Theatre Royal and its excellence as a regional theatre for a long time, as I first danced on the beautiful Lyric stage over 30 years ago,” Dame Darcey said.
“It has been a pleasure getting to know the whole TRP team over the last few months as my husband and I establish a new base in Plymouth and I would like to thank our outgoing chair, Nick Buckland, for being so supportive and going out of his way to help with a smooth transition.”
She also praised the “exceptional leadership” of TRP chief executive and executive producer James Mackenzie-Blackman.
“Under James’ exceptional leadership, TRP is on a bold and ambitious path to augment its position as one of the country’s leading theatres with the growth of homegrown productions, a pathway I fully support,” she said.
“TRP is the beating heart of Plymouth, a city whose future is very bright indeed and I am excited about playing my part.”
Mr Mackenzie-Blackman said Dame Darcey was “a true embodiment of TRP’s values” and that her “vast artistic experience” and “global reputation” would help deliver the theatre’s vision.
Mr Buckland added: “I leave the dream role of chair of TRP’s trustees with mixed emotions: great joy that Darcey has agreed to take the reins and that James and his team are taking the theatre to a new level, but sadness at not being a direct part of the exciting future.
“With new leadership, the theatre is well placed to continue to play its important role in the life of Plymouth and the region, as well as being a hub for creative talent that’s recognised worldwide.
In 2022 TRP embarked on a period of creative and organisational development, announcing nine new Trustees in December 2022.
The appointment of Dame Darcey concludes this strand of board development.
TRP has also recently announced five new creative positions; associate director, children, young people and families; associate director, dance; associate director, theatre; artist for change, diversity and inclusion, and artist for change, climate emergency.