Rufus Norris will take over from Nicholas Hytner as Artistic Director of the National Theatre from April 2015.
John Makinson, Chairman of the NT, said: “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. Rufus Norris has both those qualities in abundance. He is an exciting choice, someone who will build on the NT’s present reputation as one of the most admired and innovative performing arts organisations in the world. We are fortunate that he has chosen to join us.
Nicholas Hytner added: “I could not be more delighted that the Board of the National Theatre has appointed Rufus Norris as the National's next Director. He has been a superb Associate Director for the last two years, actively involved in repertoire planning, and delivering a series of outstanding productions. His work as a director is always searching, deeply considered and adventurous and I have no doubt he will bring these qualities to the running of the National. His appointment will be welcomed with great excitement both within the National and in the theatre at large.”
Rufus Norris said: “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. 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.”
The award-winning theatre and film director trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) as an actor before turning to the director’s chair. Norris won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer in 2001 for his production of Afore Night Come at the Young Vic.
For his 2004 production of Festen starring Johnny Lee Miller and Tom Hardy, Norris received another Evening Standard Award, a Critic's Circle Award, as well as an Olivier nomination for Best Director. His directorial credits also include the award-winning Cabaret (Lyric and Savoy theatres), Vernon God Little (Young Vic) with Colin Morgan, Doctor Dee (Manchester Palace Theatre) in collaboration with Damon Albarn, and Feast (Young Vic).
His first production at the National Theatre was 2006’s Market Boy, followed by Death and the King’s Horseman, and London Road, starring Rosalie Craig. In 2013 Norris directed Table, the inaugural play at the National’s Shed, in addition to The Amen Corner, starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
Norris has regularly collaborated with his wife Tanya Ronder, who wrote Table, Vernon God Little, Blood Wedding, and his first film, King Bastard. His 2012 film Broken, starring Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and received the Golden Eye Award for best international film on the Zurich Film Festival. It also won The British Independent Film Awards 2012 for Best British Independent Film.
Photo © Sébastien Micke