The National Theatre has announced that director Rufus Norris will become its sixth Artistic Director, winning the most high-profile job in British Theatre.
In an announcements at 10.45am today (15 October 2013) at the National Theatre on the South Bank in London, Rufus Norris was named the new Artistic Director of the National Theatre, taking over from current director Sir Nicholas Hytner in Spring 2015.
The announcement comes in an important year for the venue, with celebrations for the National’s 50th anniversary currently underway. The National Theatre was first run by Laurence Olivier in 1963.
Rufus Norris is a celebrated and widely respected director who trained as an actor at RADA before turning to directing. An Associate Director of the National Theatre, he recently directed James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner at the National Theatre, and new play Table in the National’s Shed venue written by his wife, playwright Tanya Ronder. See a full biography of Rufus Norris here.
The National’s current Artistic Director, Sir Nicholas Hytner, has presided over a golden decade of activity at the National Theatre including a succession of hit shows on the South Bank, and a growing international commercial production division that has seen shows such as War Horse become worldwide theatrical successes.
Hytner also introduced the hugely successful scheme of low-priced, £10 (now £12) tickets, sponsored by Travelex, and National Theatre Live broadcasting theatre to cinemas in the UK and overseas.
The National is currently undergoing a major £80m redevelopment and building programme to be completed next year that will see its smallest stage, the Cottesloe, transformed and renamed after Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman, and a new riverside bar and gardens and major education centre.
The National Theatre’s executive director, Nick Starr, will also leave when Hytner departs in 2014.
It is believed that Hytner would like to continue producing after his tenure at the National ends, but not necessarily become a freelance director such as his predecessors Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn and Richard Eyre. “I’d want to continue to do something that wasn’t just about me. I’m a director and always will be, but I love the relationship I have with directors, with writers I have never worked with directly and actors I have never worked with”, he told the Guardian last year.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE NATIONAL
- 800 productions: The National has staged or hosted over 800 productions since its inception in 1963
- Sir Denys Lasdun: The National’s building on the South Bank was designed by Sir Denys Lasdun
- 1,000 people: Around 1,000 theatre staff work on the 5 acre site of the National, that houses the three theatres plus rehearsal rooms, set-building and scenic-painting workshops, costume and prop-making and digital design
- 3.6 million: the National Theatre’s audience in 2012-2013, in London representing a THIRD of total play-going
- 90%: Average audience attendance on the South Bank
- £87 million: The income generated by the National in 2012-2013, 59% from box office receipts, 20% from the Arts Council
- 600 cinemas: The number of cinemas worldwide that screen National Theatre Live shows, including 260 in the UK
ARTISTIC DIRECTORS OF THE NATIONAL THEATRE
- Lord Olivier OM: 1963 to 1973
- Sir Peter Hall CBE: 1973 to 1988
- Sir Richard Eyre CBE: 1988 to 1997
- Sir Trevor Nunn CBE: 1997 to 2003
- Sir Nicholas Hytner: 2003 to March 2015