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Dateline: 31st October, 2005

Jonathan Church
Church to Take over Chichester

Birmingham Repertory Theatre's artistic director Jonathan Church is to leave the theatre in April 2006 to become artistic director at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Jonathan Church has been artistic director at The Rep since 2001 and in that time has seen annual attendances rise by an impressive 92% as a result of a change in programming policy. During his time the theatre has received both critical and audience acclaim for its programme of new and diverse work and also for landmark productions such as Of Mice And Men and The David Hare Trilogy. The programming of new work, which has been at the heart of Jonathan's tenure, has included large scale productions such as Elizabeth Rex, Simon Gray's The Old Masters and Peter Quilter's Glorious which opens in the West End this week, alongside the work of new and up and coming writers in The Door.

Jonathan Church says, "I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of leading and programming the remarkable place that is Birmingham Repertory Theatre. I am proud of what the theatre and its dedicated staff have achieved in the last five years. The significant rise in audience figures has undoubtedly led to greater financial stability for the company and has created a more vibrant building within which to work. I am eternally grateful to those audiences who have followed my artistic journey - for me their support is evidence that audiences both demand and deserve variety, quality and diversity from a theatre like The Rep. It is also vindication of the support given by our major funders; Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England. I trust both audiences and funders will continue to enjoy the most exciting and unique theatre at The Rep."

Chairman of Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Andy Allan says, "I was delighted to be part of the team that appointed Jonathan Church five years ago. He has transformed The Rep's fortunes with his inspirational programming and leaves the theatre in a very healthy position. This is a very amicable parting and The Rep is confident that it will attract a major talent from the world of theatre as its next Artistic Director."

Jonathan Church's production of The Life Of Galileo with Timothy West opens at The Rep this week. Before leaving for Chichester, Jonathan will direct the world premiere of the UB40 musical Promises And Lies at The Rep in March 2006.

At the beginning of August, the artistic director triumvirate of the Chichester Festival Theatre - Steven Pimlott, Martin Duncan and Ruth Mackenzie - announced that they would be leaving at the end of the year, thus setting in motion the search for a new artistic director and chief executive

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©Peter Lathan 2005