Vicky Featherstone is to step down as Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Featherstone will leave her post later this year when the new artistic director has been appointed has been in post for a decade. The search for the new artistic director will begin later this month.
At the start of Vicky Featherstone’s tenure in Summer 2013 the keys of the building were handed over to the writers, for Open Court, a 6 week festival which included 133 performances and over 40 new plays and found new collaborative ways of working across the building.
Since then, under Featherstone’s stewardship, the theatre has supported over 600 writers through the writer development programmes and groups and commissioned and premiered work from writers aged 8-80 across five continents, many of whom were first time writers.
Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director, the Royal Court Theatre said:
Being Artistic Director of the Royal Court is one of best jobs in the world – creating something over ten years with the most dedicated, passionate and thoughtful people throughout every single area of the organisation – from stage door to the board and the donors – with the actors, other artists and freelancers who bring all of themselves to make incredible plays happen, and of course having the ultimate privilege of being in daily conversations with visionary, transformational writers. I would do it forever if I could. And although I am usually the last one to leave the party, it’s time for me to hand over the guardianship of this extraordinary, enduring mission to someone else. When I started this job in 2013 I set myself a time limit of ten years, and I am holding myself to that. There are no words for how life-changing, challenging, invigorating and complex this job is, and like everyone who has ever done this role here, it is forever part of my DNA.
The search for the next person to take the helm starts now – recruitment for the post will begin in late February and in true Royal Court tradition, I will not leave until the new Artistic Director has begun. I hope this announcement sets fires alight in the bellies of those who can create the future for theatre and I am so excited to see where we will go next.
I’ve been an Artistic Director and CEO since 1997, first at Paines Plough and then the National Theatre of Scotland, and now here at the Royal Court for a full decade. I have no concrete plans as to what I will do next. Top of the list is to make an appointment at the dentist. Basically I’m releasing myself back into the wild….
Anthony Burton CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees, the Royal Court Theatre said:
Vicky has been a tireless leader of the Royal Court for 10 years, brilliantly navigating turbulent times not least keeping the Court afloat for two years during Covid. She has been an innovator and champion of many initiatives such as the “Me Too” movement in the theatre. We are hugely grateful to Vicky for her invaluable and profound contribution to the work, welfare, and financial stability of the Court.
The next season of work at the Royal Court, including Featherstone’s final production, will be announced in March.
Featherstone’s departure follows a number of other high profile Artistic Directors that have stepped down in recently including Michael Longhurstat at Donmar Warehouse; Roxana Silbert at Hampstead Theatre; James Dacre at the Royal and Derngate; Tom Morris at the Bristol Old Vic; David Binder at BAM; Michael Haefliger at the Lucerne Opera Festival; and Gregory Doran at the RSC. Artistic Directors on the move include Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey taking up post at the RSC; and Justin Audibert going to Chichester Festival Theatre.
Currently playing at the Royal Court is Sound of the Underground (until 25 February 2023) – which recently opened to strong reviews; and coming up in March is high-profile new play Black Superhero (14 March to 29 April 2023), directed by Daniel Evans and written and starring Danny Lee Wynter. The cast also includes US actor Dyllón Burnside (Pose, Dahmer – Monster), plus Eloka Ivo and Rochenda Sandall.
Book tickets to Sound of the Underground at the Royal Court
Book tickets to Black Superhero at the Royal Court