Former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck has joined weekly newspaper the Surrey Comet as its new theatre critic.
Thurlbeck, who was arrested on suspicion of phone-hacking last year, will write reviews of shows from the Rose Theatre, Kingston, from next month.
‘Theatre is a passion of mine going back many years,’said Thurlbeck, who lives in Hinchley Wood. “I did English and theatre studies at university in 1980 so it has been a 33-year passion.
‘I have been going to the Rose Theatre since day one, not to every piece, but regularly. Last year I saw The Importance of Being Earnest and a few other things. It is an extremely high standard and it deserves to succeed because of all the hard work that went into it.”
His first assignment will be a review of the Lady from the Sea on Monday, 5 March. Assistant editor Julia Kennard said she was ‘thrilled’Thurlbeck had joined the paper.
‘As a newspaper at the heart of the community we welcome the opportunity to have even greater coverage and comment of the arts in Kingston,’she said.
Thurlbeck’s reviews will be posted on a revamped Rose Theatre section of the Surrey Comet website and also in the paper, which is hoping the high-profile arrival will help ‘spark artistic debate in the borough”.
Thurlbeck added: ‘In these days of flagging interest in the arts the Surrey Comet is a crucial medium to advertise and get the message across about the artistic lifeblood that’s rich and flowing through the borough.”
The reviews will be posted on www.surrey comet.co.uk/rosetheatre.