Rupert Goold to Step Down from Headlong to Take Over as Artistic Director at London's Almeida Theatre

By Mark Shenton
08 Feb 2013

Rupert Goold is to take over as artistic director of London's Almeida Theatre in August 2013, succeeding Michael Attenborough, who had previously announced his decision to step down after running the theatre for 11 years in order to concentrate on his writing.



Goold, whose first production under his artistic directorship is due to premiere in January 2014, is in turn stepping down from Headlong, the touring company he has run since 2005.

In a press statement, Goold commented, "After eight wonderful years at Headlong I'm thrilled to be joining the Almeida, with our collaborations on Chimerica and American Psycho this year it feels the perfect timing. I look forward to welcoming the best artists from here and abroad to make work in this magical theatre and building on its international reputation for theatre of risk and vision."

Attenborough added, "I can pay Rupert no higher compliment than point to the fact that we are co-producing two shows with his company Headlong (one of which he is directing himself) during my final season up to the end of 2013.  I am truly thrilled to be passing the theatre on to, not only a bold and brilliant director, but someone who takes equal delight in the promotion of other artists and the same ambitious, progressive programming for which the Almeida has always been known."

Goold's own association with the Almeida Theatre Company began in 2008 when he directed Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.  In December this year at the Almeida he will direct the world premiere of American Psycho, based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis with book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik. Headlong Theatre Company is also co-producing the world premiere of Lucy Kirkwood's Chimera in May, directed by Lyndsey Turner.

Goold has formerly been associate director at the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2009-2012, and artistic director of Northampton Theatres (2002–2005).  He has also directed widely for other companies and commercial managements, including Macbeth (at Chichester's Minerva Theatre, subsequently transferred to the West End and Broadway and then filmed for the BBC) and Six Characters in Search of an Author (also at Chichester, co-produced with Headlong, then in the West End), No Man's Land (Gate Theatre, Dublin and the West End's Duke of York's), The Glass Menagerie (the West End's Apollo Theatre), Time and The Conways (National Theatre), Oliver! (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), and Turandot (English National Opera). This year he writes and directs his first feature film "True Story," starring James Franco and Jonah Hill for Plan B and Fox Searchlight in New York.

Other previous artistic directors of the Almeida are Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid (1990-2002) and Pierre Audi (1980-1990).  

Goold will continue to lead Headlong until autumn 2013 with further work to be announced. In a separate press statement about work at Headlong, he commented, "Headlong has been my passion and my home for eight incredible years. The relationships I have forged there and the work we have made together will stay with me forever. That we have taken provocative new work up and down the country, to the West End, and abroad, and above all that we have brought through a wonderful array of new theatre artists and practitioners makes me very proud. I would like to thank the board and my exceptional staff for all their support and hope that I can continue to help and share this great company's future life."

Robin Paxton, chairman of Headlong's Board of Directors added, "Under Rupert’s leadership, Headlong's reputation as the country’s most exciting touring company has been secured. He has played an incredible role in the company’s history and built a fantastically strong team. We are immensely proud of his achievements in helping establish the boldness and bravura which is distinctly Headlong, not just in theatres up and down the UK but also on the international stage.  We wish Rupert the very best in this exciting new role." 

During Goold's tenure at Headlong, some 34 plays will have been staged, touring to over 58 venues and playing in the US, Australia and Ireland. The Board of Headlong will begin the recruitment of a new artistic director immediately.