Michael Boyd at a director talk for RSC production of Tamburlaine. 2018. Courtesy RSC

Michael Boyd – West End theatre’s to dim lights to honour former RSC Artistic Director

West End theatres will dim their lights this evening to honour Michael Boyd’s passing.

Lights will be dimmed for 2 minutes in his memory at 7pm, Tuesday 8 August. 

The former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company died on 3 August from cancer. Boyd, whose visionary tenure of the RSC from 2002-2012, is credited with reforming the RSC and returning it to good financial health. During his tenure, he helped to develop Matilda the Musical, as well as attracted a global audience with The Complete Works Festival and the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival.

Claire Walker, Co-Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said:

“The theatre world is a smaller place without Michael Boyd. With heavy hearts, we pay tribute to his immense talent and commitment to theatre. Our deepest condolences are with his loved ones, and we are proud to celebrate his legacy.”

Tributes to Michael Boyd

Tamara Harvey and Daniel Evans, RSC Co-Artistic Directors

‘Michael’s tenure and work were hugely inspiring and influential. His vision and leadership are still deeply felt in the Company and in the wider world of British and international theatre. We are humbled to walk in his footsteps.’

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director Emeritus

‘Michael Boyd was a deeply generous collaborator, who unfailingly and without hesitation celebrated and nurtured the “genius” (as he would say) of those creative talents he gathered to the Company, ensuring that the RSC was a genuine ensemble. He promoted the work of the Education department, about which he was passionate, applied his rigour to restoring the financial health of the Company with an almost puritanical zeal and brilliantly transformed our stages. Among the many exceptional productions he directed the crowning glory was without doubt his History Cycle, fostered over many years, and climaxing at the Roundhouse in 2008. I will always be grateful for the support he showed me personally. He was himself, a quiet unassuming genius.’

Susie Sainsbury, RSC Artists’ Associate and former Deputy Chair

‘The loss of Michael Boyd, whose tragically early death has just been announced, is one that will be felt throughout the world of theatre. Michael had a knack of going to the heart of a play (and in recent years, opera) and his productions had a clarity and edge that gave audiences a full and rounded experience. His time at the RSC was marked by the boldness of his programming – when asked why he wanted to do the Complete Works Festival he said simply “Because we can …” – and by a clear demonstration of the importance of “Company” in the way the RSC operates. With Vikki Heywood at his side to curb his wilder plans, he programmed exciting seasons, brought in talented directors and actors and helped them develop. He was far-sighted in his support for projects as diverse as “Matilda The Musical”, and his acclaimed Histories season, and at the same time was involved in all the details of the vast project that built The Courtyard Theatre and brought the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre into life. Michael was a fascinating, perceptive director who coaxed stunning performances from his actors; rigorous, irreverent, clear sighted, stubborn, funny and determined he was a remarkable, understated genius. He will be missed terribly and our thoughts go to Caroline and the family.’

Michael Billington, former Guardian Theatre Critic, and writing in The Guardian said:

“Sir Michael Boyd brought visionary gleam to Shakespeare and Stratford

“He had what Wordsworth called the “visionary gleam” as well as the political and managerial skills to put his ideas into practice, and it is that combination of the dreamlike and the down-to-earth that makes for great theatrical leaders.”

👤 📅8 August 2023

📷 Main photo: Michael Boyd at a director talk for RSC production of Tamburlaine. 2018. Courtesy RSC

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