East 15 announces appointment of new Director

Professor Leon Rubin commences his post as Director of the East 15 Acting School on the 4 January 2007. He comes straight from Middlesex University where he was the Professor of Drama and Theatre Arts and Head of the MA and MFA in International Theatre Directing. Prior to this he has been Artistic Director of three major UK theatre companies, including the Bristol Old Vic.

Also a member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, he was awarded an Honorary Professorship of GITIS Russian Theatre Academy, Moscow, in 1997 for his distinguished work in the Russian Theatre. He is a former Associate at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and began his career as Assistant Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is author of The Nicholas Nickleby Story (the making of the RSC production) and a new book on Balinese theatre that will be published by Routledge in 2007.

Professor Rubin has directed numerous productions throughout the world, including Canada, Thailand, Japan, Greece, the USA, Ireland, Chile and Hong Kong, as well as the UK. His international training and lecturing activities have also been undertaken in those countries and in others as diverse as Russia, Spain, Korea, France, Holland and the Philippines. In the last few years, he has directed a series of Shakespeare productions for the Stratford Festival Theatre, Canada and a major Japanese theatre company, Bungaku-za. In the past year he directed a Chinese version of Peter Pan in Hong Kong and a new Canadian play in London. He is director of a long-running show in Phuket, Thailand, which has been performed in a 3,000 seat theatre for the past eight years. He has also directed in the West End and in New York.

These are exciting times for East 15, as the new Director will be responsible for a three-phased opening of East 15 at Southend-on-Sea, which will be launched in September 2007 with four new degree schemes. Four more new programmes are being offered from September 2008 and the final group of three schemes will be introduced in September 2009. The innovative degrees currently being considered include BA Theatre and Disability, BA Design, BA Physical Theatre and BA Writing for Film, Theatre, Radio and TV.

East 15 will continue to run its prestigious programmes at the Loughton Campus, where the School has produced actors, directors, writers and teachers of high calibre for over 40 years, with alumni including Alison Steadman, April de Angelis and Stephen Daldry.

Professor Rubin said: 'I am delighted to join the University of Essex and East 15 at the beginning of a new era of development for them both. I know we will all continue together the dynamic traditions of the past as we also innovate and prepare for the theatre of the future. There are exciting times ahead as the work at Loughton continues to flourish and the Southend Campus begins to take shape.'