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Rufus Norris appointed to succeed Hytner as National Theatre artistic director

Rufus Norris, who has today been announced as Nicholas Hytner's replacement at the Southbank venue, will "attack it with gusto"

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Rufus Norris
© Dan Wooller
Rufus Norris will "attack with gusto" the role of artistic director of the National Theatre when he takes over from Nicholas Hytner at the helm of the South Bank venue in 2015.

Norris was named as Hytner's successor during a press conference held at the National this morning.

As an associate director at the National Theatre, his directing credits include London Road, Table (written by his wife Tanya Ronder) and The Amen Corner.

His West End credits include Cabaret and The Country Girl and on Broadway he has directed Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Other credits include Festen, Blood Wedding (Almeida), Under the Blue Sky (Young Vic) and Don Giovanni (ENO).

Norris, who will take charge after Hytner leaves in April 2015, was a "unanimous choice" for the role, according to chairman John Makinson.

"The National Theatre will be brave, it will be exciting and it will be adventurous under his leadership," Makinson added.

Norris emerged as a favourite in recent months against more well-known names including Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Daldry, Sam Mendes and Danny Boyle.

Hytner today described his successor as an "absolutely brilliant choice", adding that he got a "bigger roar than when Alfie fell down the stairs" (in One Man, Two Guvnors) when he was introduced to staff in the Lyttelton Theatre this morning.

Rufus Norris, John Makinson and Nicholas Hytner at the press conference this morning

Norris, who found out only yesterday that he had been appointed, described the role as "a great privilege".

The wider leadership structure of the venue will be addressed in time after consultation, it was revealed at the press conference this morning.

Norris also revealed that he will direct a film version of London Road next year, a commitment he said he "felt confident" he could fulfil in tandem with his status as artistic director elect.

"This appointment is a great honour and I am thrilled at the prospect and challenge of leading this exceptional organisation, where it has been a privilege to work under the inspirational leadership of Nick Hytner," Norris said. "I am tremendously grateful to the Board of the National Theatre for their support."

"The National is an extraordinary place, full of extraordinary people, and I look forward with relish to the task ahead - that being to fill our theatres with the most exciting, accessible and ground-breaking work our unique and broad community of artists has to offer."

A scene from Norris' acclaimed production of London Road
© Helen Warner

Regarding the wider leadership structure of the National, John Makinson said today that appointments would be made after a "period of consultation".

There are rumours that Norris, who has never previously run a building, may consider appointing a deputy artistic director, or an executive director to succeed Nick Starr, who has been a major driving force behind the National's recent commercial success.

"In setting out to find a new director for the National Theatre, the board looked for an individual with a creative reputation that would command the respect and support of British theatre, and with the generosity of spirit that has characterised Nick Hytner's period as director," Makinson said.

Catch up with our tweets from this morning in the box below...