ESTHER Richardson is the new artistic director and joint chief executive officer of York company Pilot Theatre, taking up the reins full time from July 4.

She will take over from Marcus Romer, who led the progressive touring theatre company for the past 22 years and is now running his new creative company, Artsbeacon, from Cambridge, while also tutoring at the University of York.

Esther is a graduate of Bristol University and Goldsmiths College, London, and joins Pilot after working as associate director at CAST in Doncaster and as associate artist for Soho Theatre in London and Derby LIVE.

Among her past productions are Emteaz Hussain's Blood for Tamasha Theatre, the community play Dancehall for CAST and Mufaro Makubika's How To Breathe for Nottingham Playhouse.

"I’ve long admired the work of Pilot Theatre as a nationally leading touring company for young adults," said Esther. "The company’s commitment to innovation, international-working, new work and diversity makes me immensely excited to take up this role.

"Pilot Theatre hosts a vital cultural space for young artists and audiences and embraces the opportunities of a fast-changing technological world. It’s a privilege to have the chance to build on the company’s ambitious work across multiple platforms and I can’t wait to get started."

Pilot's chairman, Professor Christopher Bailey, said: “Esther joins us at an exciting point in Pilot’s development. We have a secure reputation, both for the quality of the theatre we make with and for young people that we tour to venues nationally and internationally, and for our innovative, large-scale productions based on communities and their stories.

"As artistic director of Theatre Writing Partnership, Esther brought the work of numerous new writers to the stage. As director of the Creative England iwrite showcase, she is drawing on her experience of screen-based drama. Esther brings the ideal mix of skills and experience to help us achieve our aims; the range of her directing activity matches Pilot’s ambition.”

Marcus Romer, Pilot’s outgoing artistic director, enthused: “I am absolutely thrilled that Esther Richardson has been appointed as my successor. Esther brings a wealth of experience and fresh ideas to the company, and together with the experienced team already in place, I am confident that Pilot will go from strength to strength.”