Nunn Donates £2.5m to National on His DepartureDate: 3 February 2003
Trevor Nunn (pictured) has revealed that he plans to leave £2.5 million to the National Theatre when he steps down as artistic director in April 2003. According to the Guardian newspaper - which uncovered details of the final arrangement at the weekend after Nunn's BBC Radio 4 interview on Desert Island Discs - Nunn has already handed over £208,000, with £2.3 million to be released over the next two years.
The money has been generated from royalties earned on transfers to the West End and Broadway of Nunn's hit musical revivals at the National - My Fair Lady and Oklahoma!. The director says that all of the money he has earned from these will be ploughed back into the theatre itself.
During Nunn's five-plus years in office, he has frequently been criticised in the press for "dumbing down" the South Bank with musicals, with some suggesting that this was for his own financial gain. While the National job paid him a salary of £120,000 per annum, the director derived his personal fortune - estimated at some £40 million - from the direction, earlier in his career, of musical blockbusters like Cats and Les Miserables.
Nunn's successor Nicholas Hytner, who has also profited from musicals such as Carousel, has previously stated that he does not intend to keep any money raised from transfers of his own productions as artistic director of the National. He has further differentiated himself from Nunn by declaring his aim to concentrate on developing new musicals rather than reviving American classics, though at a recent press conference, he made the point of thanking Nunn for "balancing the books" with the cash injection from his productions (See News, 23 Jan 2003).
According to the Guardian, Nunn's donation will be used for supporting new work. When asked why he hadn't silenced his critics by declaring his financial arrangements earlier, Nunn said, "I don't think it is anybody's business. I didn't want to make a fuss or palaver about it." He went on to say that, when taking the top job at the National, "I thought it was important that I should give something back." Nunn has always admitted that he accepted the NT position with reluctance and, in the interview, described his tenure as "a holding operation until the next generation was ready to take over."
- by Terri Paddock