The artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London will mark 10 years with the company by stepping down from the job.
Mark Rylance joined the Globe in January 1996
Mark Rylance, who is also an accomplished Shakespearean actor, was appointed to The Globe in 1996 and oversaw its opening in 1997.
The 44-year-old also starred in title role of the opening play Henry V.
He will leave his post at the end of 2005. His successor will not be announced until next year.
Since joining The Globe, Rylance has continued his screen acting work.
He starred in the 2001 film Intimacy, based on Hanif Kureishi's novel, which provoked controversy because of its explicit sexual content.
In a letter to his colleagues explaining his resignation, he wrote: "Never has an actor had such an opportunity as you entrusted to me when I was asked to help bring your dream of a working Globe Theatre through its birth into its childhood."
He said the time was right to go because work on one of his pet projects, the Inigo Jones Theatre - an incomplete reconstruction of an 17th Century playhouse - was well on course to be completed.
Sir Michael Perry, chairman of the Shakespeare Globe Trust, said: "Mark has made an enormous contribution to the Globe and has thoughtfully given us time to find a suitable successor.
"We hope that Mark will consider returning to the Globe stage as an actor and supporting us as we plan our future development."