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James Brining will become the first Leeds-born artistic director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse when current chief Ian Brown steps down later this year.

Brining, 43, is currently the artistic director of Dundee Rep, a small theatre which has gained an impressive reputation both nationally and internationally.

In being appointed, the Cambridge graduate who was born in Scott Hall Road in Meanwood, becomes only the third artistic director of the building, which has been sited at Quarry Hill, south of Leeds city centre, since 1990.

He follows Jude Kelly and Ian Brown into the post, one of the most important regional theatre positions in the UK.

Brining, who went to Leeds Grammar School, said: “I am hugely excited by the opportunity to return home and lead this great theatre into a new era.

“I want to develop a culture of creativity and excellence, building partnerships at home and throughout the UK as well as overseas. Theatre is a vital element of our cultural and social fabric and I aim to ensure that West Yorkshire Playhouse is a place where people have life-enriching and transformative experiences.”

After graduating from Cambridge, Brining set up a theatre company in Newcastle, before moving to London and working at the famous Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, before moving to Scotland to work with TAG theatre company and then moving in 2003 to take over Dundee Rep.

Chairman of the Playhouse’s board Sir Rodney Brooke said: “The cultural fabric of the UK is changing; audiences are becoming more discerning, more willing to speak out and have more desire to be heard.

“It was vital to appoint a new artistic director who had the ability and the drive to take this flagship theatre into a very demanding and sometimes ambiguous future.

He added: “In what was an exhaustive recruitment process, the breadth and scope of James’ experience stood out.”

The man cast in leading role: Page 13.