Libby Purves to become Times chief theatre critic

Times columnist Libby Purves is to become the newspaper’s chief theatre critic when Benedict Nightingale retires later this year.

In addition to her other duties Purves will take over from Nightingale from May when he’s is due to leave the paper.

Nightingale, who has written for The Times for more than 20 years, will continue as a contributor.

The Times has also appointed Kate Muir as its new chief film critic.

James Harding, editor of The Times said: “Benedict has been the leading theatre critic of his generation and has written for The Times for 20 years, setting the standard by which the great performances and productions are judged.

“People onstage, backstage and in the audience have come to trust his every observation and judgement delivered with style, humour and passion.

“Benedict has ensured that Times readers have the best writing on what has been a golden age for British theatre and he will remain a contributor to the paper.”

The move follows a string of appointments, announced at the end of last week, which include chief leader writer Daniel Finkelstein’s promotion to executive editor in charge of digital content.

Last week’s announcement also highlighted the appointment of Alex O’Connell as executive editor in charge of the “development of print products” and Camilla Cavendish’s promotion to chief leader writer.

Gurtej Sandhu has also been appointed as director of Times Digital.

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