Cooke, Horton to leave Royal Court

Horton to be deputy exec director of National

New-play powerhouse the Royal Court Theater has announced that artistic director Dominic Cooke and exec director Kate Horton will be leaving.

Cooke will step down in 2013 to focus on freelance work, while Horton is ankling in April to take up the new position of deputy executive director of the National Theater.

Cooke and Horton have collaborated for more than four years, staging new plays and developing British writing from the theater’s London home in Sloane Square. Numerous SRO seasons plus West End and Broadway transfers, including “Jerusalem” and “Clybourne Park,” have boosted box office receipts and fund-raising to an all-time high, while the Court has staged plays by first-time writers and work too demanding for the purely commercial sector.

By the time of Cooke’s departure, he will have produced around 100 plays during his seven-year tenure. During that period, the Court has received more than 189 kudos nominations and 56 wins, including three Olivier Awards this year.

In addition to first-time writers, Cooke has produced plays by 21 emergent writers, including Lucy Prebble, Nina Raine, Penelope Skinner and Laura Wade and U.S. playwrights Bruce Norris and Christopher Shinn. More well-established playwrights who have premiered work there include Richard Bean, Jez Butterworth, Caryl Churchill, David Hare, Joe Penhall, Mark Ravenhill, Wallace Shawn, Simon Stephens and Roy Williams.

Commenting on his departure, Cooke said: “Through the theater’s burgeoning writers’ groups, we’ve brought a new generation of playwrights to the stage. We’ve given mainstage debuts to writers who had exclusively been produced in smaller spaces. We’ve produced many more experienced writers, allowing them to develop and flourish. We have a committed and talented staff who are at the top of their game. Much of this is due to Kate Horton, whose tenacity, managerial skill and wisdom have been an inspiration.”

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