The artistic director of Liverpool's Everyman and Playhouse theatres is stepping down after 17 years.
Gemma Bodinetz was at the helm of the famous dramatic institution during some of the city's most memorable recent cultural moments, including when the theatre contributed to the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008.
Ms Bodinetz said she had decided to step down after a "long and honest self-reflection" during the pandemic.
She said: "These have been an intense, passionate and extraordinary 17 years and I have been privileged to work with so many wonderful people in the best city in the world.
"However 17 years is a long time and every artistic organisation needs fresh thinking and new energy. Last year the theatres produced a new vision and business plan based on a commitment to create socially engaged, relevant theatre.
"This opportunity to listen and create a new forward looking plan with so many brilliant contributors is something of which I’m very proud."
But, Ms Bodinetz added, "Covid19 hit before we could bring this vision to life".
She added: "I won’t be going straight away – there’s still much to do through this enforced closure – but I feel the time is right to make my decision to move on.
"For my own future I look forward to carry on being part of the new dawn I feel coming for theatre of, by and for all.”
In her 17 years with the Everyman & Playhouse, Ms Bodinetz has directed 24 productions herself and produced over 70 world premieres, many by new Liverpool writers.
She has twice been named Merseyside Woman of the Year, received the inaugural Artistic Leader Award 2018 from Liverpool Hope University and is an honorary fellow at both Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “It is with great sadness that we hear of Gemma’s decision to step down.
"Gemma came to Liverpool in 2003 when the theatres were on their knees, and her dedication, commitment, passion and talent brought them back to life – artistically and physically with the rebuild of the Everyman.
"People like Gemma don’t just talk about things, they change things for the better. Her drive and ambition transformed our theatre sector, and she has been a key player in the cultural landscape of the city, becoming a true spokesperson for Liverpool.
"I wish her well on behalf of the city and we will never forget what you have achieved.”