Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 14:27 UK

Curve chief executive steps down

The city council has said Curve put Leicester on the map

The chief executive of Leicester's Curve theatre has stepped down after three years in charge.

Ruth Eastwood's departure comes just a week after the Audit Commission said the £61m project did not represent value for money.

Earlier in the month it was revealed the theatre had cost taxpayers £35m, eight times the original estimate.

But Ms Eastwood said three years was the right amount of time and described the Curve as a "fantastic success".

Originally expected to open in 2006, Curve hosted its first performances at the end of 2008.

In addition to the £35m from taxpayers, money was also provided through grants from a range of agencies including the Arts Council and East Midlands Development Agency.

'Hectic years'

The city council said it meant Leicester now boasted a world class theatre which had also boosted regeneration in the area.

Ms Eastwood said: "It has been a very exciting and very intense period and I now feel that as Leicester Theatre Trust gets into its stride and moves into its second year, I can take the opportunity to step back, to take some time for myself and focus on my future personal development."

The Audit Commission report criticised work being started before the final design had been approved, resulting in changes being made while building work was ongoing.

It also highlighted "weak project management arrangements at the start of the project".

But Alistair Smith, news editor of The Stage magazine, said he was not reading too much into her departure.

"Chief executives of theatres change reasonably regularly and Ruth has been there for three years," he said.

"It has been quite a hectic three years so I am not sure it is hugely surprising she is choosing to move on now the theatre is all up and running."

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