Director Chris Dercon: To Leave Tate Modern To Run Prestigious Theatre

Artlyst had previously noticed an alarming trend with the seeming exodus of London’s leading museum directors. This includes the resignation of Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum, Dr. Nicolas Penny retiring from the National Gallery, and Director Penelope Curtis resigning from Tate Britain – everyone seems to be jumping ship just before a general election? We also speculated on murmurings that the director of Tate Modern, Chris Dercon, was rumoured to be negotiating a new appointment as artistic director of the experimental Berlin theatre Volksbühne, the German publication Sueddeutsche Zeitung had reported.

As it turns out Artlyst was correct. Berlin does indeed beckon for the director of Tate Modern, who is due to be officially named as the next artistic director of the Volksbühne (People’s Theatre) later today. The announcement comes after much speculation in Germany, and, it has been reported by the Theatre Newspaper, some opposition to the Belgian-born curator succeeding Frank Castrof, the prestigious theatre’s long-standing artistic director.

The speculation first began when Dercon was spotted with Berlin’s cultural affairs secretary, Tim Renner, at the experimental theatre house’s 100th anniversary. When the rumours first began to circulate, a spokesperson for the senate’s department of cultural affairs did not deny them, adding that they were currently “negotiating”.

Nicholas Serota, the director of Tate, praised Dercon for helping to open Tate Modern to a wider world through his support for a more international programme, including photography, live performance and film, as well as championing performance art. Dercon’s departure, albeit in two year’s time, follows the news that the director of Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis, is also leaving her post. She is due to take the helm of Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Museum later in the year.

Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2015

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