Fringe Summerhall director Rupert Thomson leaves post

Rupert Thomson. Picture: TSPL
Rupert Thomson. Picture: TSPL
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ONE of Edinburgh’s biggest Fringe venues has been dealt a huge blow after it emerged that its driving force is to leave the city for a new job in London.

Rupert Thomson has been artistic director of Summerhall since it opened for the festival in 2011 in the former Edinburgh Vet School overlooking the Meadows.

Thomson, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures on Edinburgh’s cultural scene, has taken up a job as a senior programmer at the Southbank Centre in London.

Within a few years Summerhall has become firmly established as one of the Fringe’s most important venues, particularly for theatre and visual art, winning a clutch of awards.

The venue, which has since become a year-round arts centre, was opened after being snapped up by arts philanthropist Robert McDowell.

He has quit Summerhall months after telling The Scotsman that the venue was likely to have to turn to arts agency Creative Scotland for support in the future.

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: What next for Summerhall?

Thomson said: “Naturally I am very much looking forward to getting started at Southbank. But it is also very much the case that I will miss Summerhall and the buoyant Scottish arts and culture scene.

“I am hugely grateful for the support and investment Summerhall has had from artists, individuals and organisations over the past few years, and I am sure many of us will be working together again one way or another in the future.”

Mr McDowell said: “At Summerhall we are very proud of all of our programming in our first four years, the quality of which is greatly to Rupert’s credit.

“He has a vision which we all share and will continue. We celebrate Rupert’s well deserved reputation and are sure he will be a great asset to the Southbank.

“We hope Rupert will continue to offer his good advice and be an informative mentor to all that we strive to accomplish here at Summerhall in the future.”

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