IN the theatre world it was the equivalent of Sir Alex Ferguson leaving Manchester United.

After more than 25 years in charge of the Library Theatre Company Chris Honer stepped down earlier thiis year.

His replacement is an Altrincham resident - Walter Meierjohann.

The Dutchman will be in charge of the theatre arm of HOME, the new name for the LTC and Cornerhouse, the art and cinema venue.

Walter, who comes to Manchester via London’s Young Vic, hopes to introduce a more ‘European’ feel to HOME’s theatre work.

He said: “What attracted me most to the post was that we’ll have two theatres in a new building and five cinemas and a gallery. I thought the whole idea of a cross art venue was very exciting.”

But Walter has chosen a Shakespeare classic for his directoral debut at HOME. He is planning a production of Romeo and Juliet in the iconic setting of Manchester’s Victoria Baths in September.

He said: “I’m never going to exclude the greatest playwright on the planet. When I first walked into Victoria Baths I just completely fell in love with the building.”

The 42-year-old allready feels at home in Altrincham.

He said: “When we were looking for somewhere to live we’d heard there were good schools here and I also think it’s a very beautiful town. Manchester is very urban and Altrincham is a bit more quiet and much more green.”

HOME will be located in the First Street area of Mancheter and theatre facilities will include a 500-seat auditorium and a studio space seating 150 people.

It is scheduled to open in spring 2015.

Walter is married to Petra and the couple have two daughters.