‘Visionary’ theatre director takes a bow

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A THEATRE director has won an accolade for helping put York on the international stage.

Damian Cruden, artistic director at York Theatre Royal, was among 13 individuals and businesses to be honoured at the Visit York annual tourism awards.

Speaking at last night’s awards, Jane Lady Gibson, chairman of Visit York, said: “All of the winners go above and beyond to keep York one of Britain’s most successful city break destinations. I’m delighted, too, to see Damian’s work receive a special accolade. He believes in the power of storytelling and by bringing York and its stories to life, he has helped put York on an international stage.”

Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for tourism on York Council, said: “Damian’s achievements over the last 15 years have elevated York’s position as a vibrant cultural destination. His imagination and passion for the city shone through in last year’s Mystery Plays, bringing in thousands of visitors from overseas. Without Damian’s vision these plays and the highly successful Railway Children would not have come to fruition.”

Five pubs battled it out for the people’s choice “Best Pub/Bar” title, which went to The Golden Fleece – voted for by the public during a two-month promotion to 10,000 Visit York Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

The hotly contested “Hotel of the Year” accolade went to Middlethorpe Hall and Spa for a second year in succession for its consistently excellent service. Alexandra Claydon and Samantha de la Tour, of Now and Then Events, whose popular vintage events proved a big hit with visitors, received the Outstanding Customer Service award.