After several years of speculation, Nicholas Hytner has confirmed that he will be stepping down as artistic director of the UK’s arts flagship, the National Theatre. He has given two years’ public notice and will leave at the end of March 2015.
Nicholas HytnerIn a press statement issued this morning, Hytner said: “It’s been a joy and a privilege to lead the National Theatre for ten years and I’m looking forward to the next two. I have the most exciting and most fulfilling job in the English-speaking theatre; and after 12 years it will be time to give someone else a turn to enjoy the company of my stupendous colleagues, who together make the National what it is.”
Nick Starr, who has been the NT’s executive director alongside Hytner since 2002, also announced today that he is stepping down. He will leave ahead of Hytner, before the end of 2014. Starr said: “There’s a genius to this place and it will be a wrench to leave it. But I want to make room for the next generation, and it’s time for me to plough new furrows.”
John Makinson, chairman of the National Theatre, said: “Nick Hytner and Nick Starr have led the National Theatre to undreamt levels of creative and commercial success over the past decade. Today’s announcement will not come as a surprise, as we have known for some time that they planned to initiate a phased succession process in the course of 2013. It is a sad moment for the National Theatre nonetheless.
“The Board will now begin the formal process of identifying a new director. The position will be advertised next week and we expect to announce the appointment in the autumn. The new executive director will be appointed once the director designate is in place.”
The Succession Committee, which will prepare a shortlist of candidates for the full Board of the NT to consider, will comprise Peter Bennett-Jones, Neil MacGregor, John Makinson, Kate Mosse and Tessa Ross.
Nicholas Hytner succeeded Trevor Nunn as director of the National in April 2003, launching his tenure with the world premiere of the controversial but multi award-winning Jerry Springer The Opera and a colour-blind Henry V with Adrian Lester in the title role. During the past ten years under Hytner, the National has mounted over 200 productions (click here for a full list of NT productions 2003-2013), 23 of them directed by Hytner, and won over 200 awards. It has also enjoyed numerous West End and Broadway transfers, including The History Boys, War Horse, One Man, Two Guvnors and, in the past month The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories.
Productions aside, Hytner’s many other achievements in office have included: the launches of the Travelex Season of low-priced tickets in the NT Olivier (first £10 and now £12) and NT Live, which broadcasts live theatre performances to thousands of cinema screens across the world; the introduction of Sunday performances; and securing funds for the NT Future redevelopment of the South Bank complex, which is now under construction.
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