Becky Atkinson has been appointed chief executive of the Lawrence Batley Theatre replacing Henry Filloux-Bennett.

Ms Atkinson, who hails from Huddersfield, was previously executive director at the LBT and steps into the top role with immediate effect.

Her appointment comes at an exciting time with Kirklees named as one of Arts Council England’s Priority Places and with the countdown on to Kirklees Year of Music 2023.

Clr Will Simpson, board member of Kirklees Theatre Trust and Kirklees Council’s Cabinet portfolio holder for culture, said: “I am very pleased with Becky’s appointment. She has worked at the Lawrence Batley Theatre since 2019, playing a crucial leadership role in the team.

“I am especially pleased that we have been able to appoint homegrown talent. Becky knows our area and communities very well.

“We at Kirklees Council are looking forward to working with her in the delivery of our incredible plans for culture in Kirklees including the Year of Music and the Cultural Heart in Huddersfield.”

Before joining the LBT Ms Atkinson spent three years as company co-ordinator at Company Chameleon, Manchester’s leading touring contemporary dance theatre company. Her driving force and knowledge of contemporary dance has kept the artform front and centre in the LBT’s programme.

Last year she worked alongside award-winning choreographer Gary Clarke to produce an original site-specific piece about the history of the Lawrence Batley Theatre for its grand re-opening.

Under her watch the theatre has built a brand new space inside the theatre that will be dedicated to community arts, opening in September 2022.

She said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed chief executive. Since joining the organisation in 2019 we have gone through a global pandemic, major capital redevelopment project and all the challenges of reopening an arts venue in difficult times and there is nothing that this amazing team cannot do.

“As a proud Huddersfield local, the theatre has been a huge part of my own journey in arts and culture and I am passionate about ensuring the theatre is at the heart of the community, providing world class entertainment and activities for the people of Kirklees.”

Mr Filloux-Bennett, who joined the LBT in 2019, became executive director and deputy CEO at arts venue HOME in Manchester.

Mr Filloux-Bennett received a BEM for his services to the theatre and to the community in Huddersfield in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.