THE artistic director of Huddersfield's Lawrence Batley Theatre is to quit.
Rose Cuthbertson shocked staff and trustees of the theatre when she announced her resignation.
She is ending a three-year link with the theatre to pursue a freelance career.
And her move comes only days after the record-breaking success of the Christmas show, Aladdin.
Ms Cuthbertson, 52, will quit in April.
She joined the LBT in November 2000 and has been responsible for its enormous variety of shows, plays and concerts since then.
She said she believed the organisation had attained a level of success and achievement of which to be proud, and felt the time was right to step down.
"Obviously I shall be sad to leave the LBT, but the commitment of the staff team and the Theatre Trust means I am very confident that the theatre will continue to thrive and that the next 10 years will be even better than the first."
Denis Ripley, who chairs the Kirklees Theatre Trust, said he was surprised at Ms Cuthbertson's resignation.
"I am sure that I speak for all the trustees and board members when I say we were taken by surprise by Rose's decision.
"She has recently taken us through the most difficult period which has impacted on theatres everywhere.
"Though the immediate future is not going to be easy, nevertheless thanks to Rose's hard work and application, with the support of the staff, prospects for the theatre are excellent.
"During her time at the LBT Rose has been very successful in building links between the theatre and the community.
"The support she has won for this work is impressive.
"The Theatre Trust would like to thank Rose for all her hard work and wish her every success in the future."