Theatre News

Rufus Norris: 'We must be aware of nepotism in the theatre industry'

The director of the National Theatre has spoken out about how directors and venues must avoid nepotism

Rufus Norris at the National Theatre
Rufus Norris at the National Theatre

Artistic director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris has spoken out against nepotism in the arts.

At the Stage Debut Awards, the director explained that one of the ways to help aspiring theatre talent is for theatres and directors to be aware when they 'go with what they know.'

He said: "All of us work under a lot of pressure, and the competition is very high… what that means is that you often rely on who you know. There is a reason nepotism exists and that's because you go with people you trust.

"It exists in every industry and every country in the world and in this industry it's really important that people who run theatres, or people who create opportunities are aware of their own habitual tendancies to go with what they know."

Norris, who recently directed Mosquitoes, which is currently running at the National Theatre, also commented on the cuts in arts education.

"We'll only keep having the thriving economy and theatre ecology we've got if we have arts in education. That is the pipeline. The constriction of arts in education is the bottleneck that we will pay the price for," he said, "I'm not just talking about us as an industry, I'm talking about us as a country."

During the evening Norris also paid tribute to Peter Hall, former director of the National Theatre, who passed away last week. He said that "Even when I was very much outside [the establishment] I didn't think of Peter as being the establishment, which was because he always had a dynamic front foot and energy.

"Peter Hall was a working class man, he is a glowing example of someone who had the get up and go. He's iconic for a reason."

During the same evening, Dan Gillespie Sells, writer of Everybody's Talking About Jamie and front man of pop band The Feeling, said his new musical theatre project would be being heard about very soon.

He said: "I've already started on another one. I can't give you any more information ut you might see it soon. You won't be able to stop me."