The Evening Standard has named Nick Curtis as its new chief theatre critic two days after axing two of its critics in “necessary cost-cutting”.
Curtis has written for the Standard in various roles including features writer, columnist and reviewer over the past 25 years, most recently working as features director for the title’s ES Magazine.
As a freelance, Curtis (pictured) has also written for a number of national newspapers. He will begin in his new role at the Standard later this month.
The newspaper’s digital arts editor Jessie Thompson, who has been with the title for the past three years, will also write theatre reviews.
Fears for the future of the Standard’s theatre coverage were shared online on Tuesday when theatre critics Henry Hitchings and Fiona Mountford announced they were being let go after ten and 17 years respectively.
The pair both said their departures were the result of “necessary cost-cutting” at the free daily title.
The Standard is currently reviewing its editorial teams and has said it plans to merge its digital and print teams to find “the most efficient structure”. It comes after the publisher reported an operating loss of £10m for 2017.
In announcing the Standard’s new theatre critic line-up, editor George Osborne said: “Great arts coverage is at the heart of The Evening Standard, and it’s only going to get better.
“I want our readers to have access to the best, comprehensive and informed information about London’s incredible theatre – not just in our paper, as now, but online too.
“It’s brilliant to welcome Nick to the arts team. He shares our deep love for and commitment to the stage, with years of experience in the sector.
“Jessie’s digital expertise will also be crucial as we ensure we continue to deliver content which is always on the pulse.”
The Standard also said it plans to improve its online coverage, publishing “live” reviews from major show openings on the same night so readers can immediately read online reactions from critics.
The newspaper will also continue to run the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, with the 65th event set to take place later this year.
Picture: Evening Standard