Damian Cruden is currently artistic director of York Theatre Royal and artistic director designate of Shakespeare's Rose Theatres.
Cruden trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, 1982–1986. He then worked for the Tron Theatre and the TAG Theatre Company, and was tutor for the Scottish Youth Theatre. Moving to England, he became co-artistic director for the Liverpool Everyman Youth Theatre, then associate director for Hull Truck in the early 1990s. He has been artistic director at York Theatre Royal since 1997. His departure from York Theatre Royal was announced on 22 February 2019 simultaneous to the announcement that he would take the role of artistic director of Shakespeare's Rose pop-up theatres in York and Blenheim Palace.
Amongst the dozens of his productions in York are the following:
- Pygmalion, with Sarah Quintrell, June 2006
- The Railway Children, stage adaptation written by Mike Kenny featuring a real steam locomotive and staged in 2008 and 2009 at the National Railway Museum in York. Subsequently restaged at the Waterloo International railway station. and at John Street Roundhouse in Toronto. The production at Waterloo won the 2011 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.
- The White Crow, by Donald Freed, May 2009
- To Kill a Mockingbird, adapted by Christopher Sergel, February 2011, starring Duncan Preston
- My Family and Other Animals, adapted by Janys Chambers, June 2011
- Forty Years On, September 2011
- Hemley, Matthew (22 February 2019). "York Theatre Royal's Damian Cruden steps down after 22 years". The Stage. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- Guardian review - Pygmalion
- Gritten, David (29 June 2010). "The Railway Children: weepie that will never run out of steam". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Railway Children musical coming to Toronto park". CBC News. 26 January 2011.
- "The Railway Children wins Best Entertainment - Laurence Olivier Awards". Olivier Awards page. 26 April 2011.
- Guardian review, The White Crow
- Guardian review, To Kill a Mockingbird
- Guardian review, My Family and Other Animals
- Guardian review, Forty Years On