ONE of Scotland’s leading playwrights is to take the helm of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh in the wake of the its 50th anniversary celebrations.
David Greig, whose acclaimed adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s iconic novel Lanark was staged at the theatre last month, has been appointed artistic director to succeed Mark Thomson.
Greig’s best-known work include Macbeth sequel Dunsinane, romantic comedy Midsummer, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, one of the National Theatre of Scotland’s biggest hits and an adaptation of The Bacchae for the company.
Edinburgh-born Greig, a co-founder of the Suspect Culture theatre company 25 years ago, will take over from Thomson when he leaves his post in June.
Greig, who has been closely associated with the neighbouring Traverse Theatre throughout his career, said he will be in charge of programming for Royal Lyceum from next autumn.
He announced in May that he was stepping down after 12 years - just weeks after unveiling plans for the theatre’s 50th birthday. The news came six months after the theatre was hit with a funding cut, although he has insisted he had already decided to leave.
Greig said: “I’m thrilled and flattered the board has shown confidence in my vision.
“The Lyceum is a beautiful theatre and sits at the heart of Scottish drama and Edinburgh life. It’s the stage on which I saw my first play and it’s been part of my theatre-making for nearly two decades now.”
Thomson, who has overseen more than 90 productions during his tenure, said: “David’s appointment is great news for the Lyceum.
“He brings vast experience and knowledge of theatre to the company and I am glad there will be a much-admired and respected theatre artist leading the company to what I am sure will be an exciting future.”
The Royal Lyceum’s 50th anniversary celebrations will be launched later this month when stage and screen veterans Brian Cox and Bill Paterson join forces for a new production of Waiting For Godot.
Other productions due to be staged over the next nine months include a new stage version of the Sarah Waters novel Tipping the Velvet, the Victorian drama adapted into a controversial BBC TV series, the C S Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, a revival for Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the powerful drama set about 17th century witch hunts that was famously written during the McCarthy-era anti-communism trials in the 1950s and a brand new comedy by Scots makar Liz Lochhead.
Shonaig Macpherson, chair of the Royal Lyceum board, said: “We are delighted that David Greig will be taking up the post of artistic director to lead the company into its 51st year.
“Already a major figure in British drama, David’s plays have been performed at theatres across the UK including the RSC, the National Theatre, the Royal Court and the Edinburgh International Festival.
“He is an inspirational and widely-respected figure in Scottish arts, where he has been a committed champion of the nation’s creativity.
“We had a very strong field of applicants for the role, but in our discussions throughout the recruitment process David’s passion for the company and vision for its future made him stand out as the perfect candidate to build on our success.”