The Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds has appointed a new director.

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Karen Simpson is the new leader of the Theatre Royal, taking over the helm from outgoing executive director Simon Daykin.

A spokeswoman for the Theatre Royal said, with more than 30 years experience in both artistic and executive leadership within the theatre industry, she would bring with her a combination of creative vision and senior management skills.

“In a challenging economic environment, Karen will work to draw the theatre closer to its community and build resourceful collaborations and partnerships, whilst striving to continue developing its artistic excellence and innovation,” she said.

Ms Simpson comes to Bury St Edmunds following previous roles as a creative director with Sheffield Theatres, artistic and executive director with the Oxfordshire Theatre Company and most recently working as the producer and director of her own production company.

Ms Simpson said: “This is an exciting opportunity and I am delighted to be able to lead such an iconic theatre.

“The chance to play a pivotal role in the Theatre Royal, which strives to be at the heart of its community whilst achieving artistic excellence, is a great thrill.

“I look forward to creating new work for the stage, welcoming audiences, and meeting the many artists, companies and supporters of the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds over the coming months”

Welcoming her to the Theatre Royal, Stephen Bourne, chairman of the theatre’s board, said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Karen to the Theatre Royal.

“She impressed the appointments panel with her artistic vision and creative leadership skills. Her knowledge of theatre management and her history of producing and programming are a powerful combination that, building on the important work of Simon Daykin, will enable her to lead the theatre through the current economic climate and into a new creative and financially sustainable period for this remarkable and much loved theatre.”

She will take up her post at the Theatre Royal in early September.