Dukes director Joe Sumsion to stand down

Joe Sumsion.
Joe Sumsion.

The Dukes’ artistic director Joe Sumsion will be leaving the Lancaster theatre.

Joe, who joined The Dukes in 2007, will be taking on new roles as a freelance director and university lecturer when he leaves in February 2017.

The Dukes chairman Gary Rycroft said: “On behalf of The Dukes, I congratulate Joe on the success he has had here and thank him for his outstanding and unstinting commitment to the organisation.

“Whilst we are sorry to be losing Joe we have no doubt that he will be successful in his new role and wish him every success.”

Joe said: “It has been a privilege to lead such a fantastic organisation over nine exciting and fulfilling years.

“I think and hope that the company has benefited from my ambition and commitment and that it’s in a better shape than when I found it.”

Over the past nine years, Joe has directed and produced a number of hugely successful plays including locally inspired productions such as Sabbat and Quicksand as well as spectacular park shows.

His most recent outdoor walkabout production of The Hobbit was one of the most successful Dukes shows in recent years.

The final play Joe will direct for The Dukes as artistic director is The Ockerbys On Ice, which runs from September 30 until October 22.

Since 2014, Joe has shared the leadership role with executive director Ivan Wadeson, which has proved a successful partnership, returning The Dukes to a profitable balance sheet.

“The new artistic director will have a great opportunity to be at the forefront of an organisation in a strong position and to take The Dukes into the next exciting phase of its development,” Gary added.

The process of recruiting a new artistic director will begin in September.