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New Artistic Director for the National Theatre

The National Theatre announced this week that it has finally appointed a new artistic director to succeed Nick Hytner when his 12-year tenure comes to an end. Director Rufus Norris is to take over the position at the end of March 2015. Norris is the first non-Cambridge graduate to be appointed as artistic director of the National Theatre in over four decades. Having trained as an actor at RADA, Norris is following in the footsteps of other actor/directors to have position, such as Sir Laurence Olivier. When asked about his background as an actor, Norris said he believed ‘hand on heart’ that it was the ‘only way’ to develop as a director because it gives ‘an insight into the way people do their job’.

Norris has been an associate director of the National Theatre for the past two years, having directed acclaimed productions of The Amen Corner, Table and London Road, the multi-award-winning musical. Earlier in his career, he made his name with Festen and with a version of Cabaret, which is currently touring the UK.

When asked to comment on his appointment, Norris stated: ‘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. 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.

Current artistic director Nick Hytner announced Norris’s appointment to staff moments before it was released publicly. The news was received with a standing ovation and a ‘roar louder than anything ever heard at the theatre before’.

When asked to comment on the new artistic head, Hytner said: ‘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 theatrical world at large.

John Makinson, chairman of the National Theatre, said the appointment was ‘an unanimous and enthusiastic decision from the board’. He added that Norris had ‘rare integrity and rare breadth, and would be brave, exciting and adventurous in his outlook’.

Rufus Norris will take over at the National Theatre from the end of March 2015.