Announcement from Gary Rycroft, Chair of The Dukes

September 02, 2016 - 12:00pm

Announcement from Gary Rycroft, Chair of The Dukes

“I would like to announce that Joe Sumsion, Artistic Director, will be leaving The Dukes in order to take a new and exciting career direction pursuing freelance directing and university teaching. Whilst we are sorry to be losing Joe we have no doubt that he will be successful in his new role and would wish him every success. Joe will be leaving the Dukes in February 2017.

Joe’s decision did not come as a surprise because he has articulated previously his personal view that an Artistic Director of a dynamic organisation such as The Dukes should not stay in post “for life”. In the next weeks we will begin the recruitment campaign to find a new Artistic Director to work alongside Executive Director, Ivan Wadeson.

In his resignation letter, Joe said to me that “I think and hope that the company has benefitted from my ambition and commitment and that it’s in a better shape than when I found it, so someone coming in and working with Ivan and the team will take it on to great new heights.”  I fully endorse Joe’s sentiments; since Joe joined The Dukes in 2007, the Company has indeed travelled a great distance. Joe and his team have flung open the doors of the building in order to welcome all aspects of the community in and he has also taken the philosophy and ethos of The Dukes out to places it had never been before.

Over the past 9 years Joe has directed and produced a number of hugely successful plays including locally inspired plays like “Quicksand” and “Sabbat” and spectacular park shows like “Merlin” and “Jason and the Argonauts”.  The dual leadership role introduced in 2014 has proved to be a successful partnership for the Dukes, returning the organisation to a profitable balance sheet and that further success may now be built as The Dukes moves forward.

The commercial and artistic success of The Hobbit this summer is testament to all that Joe and the team have achieved and I look forward to further success of that kind with “The Ockerbys on Ice” the new play which Joe is to direct for The Dukes this autumn.

On behalf of The Dukes, I congratulate Joe on the success he has had here.  I would also like to thank him for his outstanding and unstinting commitment to the organisation.

Joe, Ivan and myself have already met to plan this next period of transition for The Dukes.  We will shortly begin the process of recruiting a new Artistic Director.  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

The Dukes has a proven track recording in nurturing talent over the years and we have benefitted immensely from Joe sharing his talent with us.  Many of those associated with The Dukes over the years continue to have strong relationships with us and I have no doubt that Joe will also fall into that category.