Trevor Nunn and Adrian Noble both officially step down today as artistic directors of, respectively the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, the country's two flagship theatrical institutions.

Their departures bring nearly to a close an extraordinary upheaval in leadership that began two years ago with Nunn's confirmation that he would not be renewing his five-year contract at the National (See News, 18 Apr 2003). Over the next several months, the resignations of several long-serving artistic directors followed, not least in London: Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid at the Almeida, Sam Mendes at the Donmar Warehouse and Jenny Topper at Hampstead Theatre.

The Almeida has since been taken over by Michael Attenborough - who reopens the refurbished Almeida and launches his inaugural season in May, with a production of The Lady from the Sea directed by none other than Trevor Nunn - while Michael Grandage's first season at the Donmar has already got impressively under way with revivals of Noel Coward's The Vortex and Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and Anthony Clark is readying to assume the helm at Hampstead's newly built facility this summer.

Nunn leaves after five-and-a-half years at the National, handing over after a lengthy transition period to Nicholas Hytner whose first season includes an Adrian Lester-led Henry V and a sweeping reduction of ticket prices (See News, 25 Jan 2003).

At the RSC, Adrian Noble announced his resignation in April 2002 after more than a year of controversy over his wide-ranging restructuring plans which involved, amongst other things, ending the company's London residency at the Barbican Theatre and demolishing the Grade II-listed Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford. One of his associate directors, Michael Boyd, was appointed as Noble's successor last July (See News, 25 Jul 2002) and, like Hytner at the National, also officially takes from tomorrow, 1 April 2003.

- by Terri Paddock


For an appraisal of the directorships of Trevor Nunn and Adrian Noble at the National and RSC, see "Nunn So Noble: Farewell Then", our current Feature of the Week. And for our previous analysis of the director exodus and its implications, read our archive feature.