Robert Walsh has been named artistic director of Gloucester Stage, making him only the third person to hold that title in the theater company’s 36-year history. (He joins founding artistic director Israel Horovitz and Eric Engel.) “It’s a pretty premium club I’m stepping into,’’ remarked Walsh, 62, in an interview Friday with the Globe. Describing Gloucester Stage as “this little gem,’’ he pledged to continue his predecessors’ focus on new plays and area premieres. In a statement, Horovitz said: “Bob Walsh’s leadership at Gloucester Stage will not only assure artistic excellence, it will assure work as daring and exciting as Walsh himself.’’ Walsh had been serving as interim artistic director since Engel stepped down last year. A highly respected actor who is currently starring in Horovitz’s “Gloucester Blue’’ at Gloucester Stage, Walsh gave a succinct answer when asked whether his new position means he will be performing less: “Yes.’’Don Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.