Sir Peter Hall, who over the last five years has led and campaigned for the Rose Theatre during its construction, is to become Director Emeritus.
The news came as the newly built theatre, whose design is inspired by London's Elizabethan Rose, opens its doors to the public with Unwin's English Touring Theatre (ETT) production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
Unwin takes on the post after 15 years with ETT. He co-founded the company in 1993 and has directed nearly 30 productions of new and classic works.
In a statement Sir Peter Hall said, "Stephen Unwin's appointment as artistic director is a wonderful development in the Rose's story and I am delighted he has accepted the post. The enormous success of English Touring Theatre over the last 15 years is a tribute to his artistic integrity and dynamic approach to running a highly-respected arts organization. He brings an exceptional range of experience to the Rose which will benefit the whole project enormously."
In 2004 Hall's production of As You Like It was staged in the partially built Rose's shell as part of the theatre's In the Raw season. The new theatre at Kingston upon Thames has the same horse-shoe shaped auditorium as the original Rose, which was situated close to the current Shakespeare's Globe. Unlike the Globe however, which was built as a replica of the original, the Rose is housed within a modern building.
Unwin's production of Uncle Vanya officially opens Jan. 25 and began previewing Jan. 16.
The cast features Nicholas Le Provost (The Wild Duck) in the title role with Neil Pearson (Old Times, Cloaca) as Astrov, Ronald Pickup as Serebryakov, Michelle Dockery as Yelena, Faith Brook as Maria, Loo Brearley as Sonya, David Ganly as Telegin and Antonia Pemberton as Marina.
After the run at the Rose, which ends Feb. 9, the production embarks on a U.K. tour. For more on the Rose Theatre, call (0)871 230 1552.