Award-winning director John Caird (pictured), one of the frontrunners for the National Theatre directorship, is to set up a new theatre company. Designed to enable emerging talents to mature, the company will run alongside Caird's Mustardseed Arts Trust.

Speaking to, Caird said: "The aim of Mustardseed, which is clear in its charitable aims, is to give young writers a start. There are plenty of potential writers and directors with talent who have more gifts than opportunities. However, it is a lack of opportunity that freezes them out.

"The theatre company will have similar aims to Mustardseed, but it won't be a producing company. It will also be more of a developmental project, which might make a small profit if it's lucky, although that's not the point. If new actors also become involved, then that will happen naturally. We're in this to encourage a marriage between young writers and directors and to advise creative practitioners."

Caird's career record to date has made him a popular candidate for the NT position. He is currently directing the NT's acclaimed production of Charlotte Jones' new work, Humble Boy. Caird was born in Canada in 1948, and in 1978, started working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he's now an Honorary Associate Director. His slants of the bard's texts have included a 1989 As You Like It, which saw the stage set designed in the style of the RSC's theatre foyer.

Caird's numerous NT works include the recent Hamlet, starring Simon Russell Beale, which toured at home and abroad. Other successes have embraced Les Miserables (with Trevor Nunn), Nicholas Nickleby (for stage and screen) and a musical Jane Eyre in New York.

- by Gareth Thompson