Rufus Norris Appointed to Succeed Nicholas Hytner as Director of U.K.'s National Theatre

By Mark Shenton
October 15, 2013

Rufus Norris has been appointed to succeed Nicholas Hytner as director of the National Theatre beginning in April 2015.



Norris, who has been an associate at the National since 2011, was most recently represented there by his production of James Baldwin's The Amen Corner in the Olivier earlier this summer; he began the year by directing the world premiere of Tanya Ronder's Table in the Shed.

Other productions he has helmed at the National include London Road in 2011 (in the Cottesloe Theatre) and 2012 (transferring to the Olivier), for which plans are now advancing to film it in 2014; as well as Wole Soyinka's Death and the Kingsman in 2009 and David Eldridge's Market Boy in 2006.

He is currently represented on the road by the touring edition of his West End production of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret, first seen at the Lyric in 2006 and then revived and revised at the Savoy in 2012. Other West End credits have included Clifford Odets' The Country Girl and David Eldrige's adaptation of Festen (which transferred from the Almeida and subsequently was also seen on Broadway). On Broadway he has also been represented by a 2008 revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the American Airlines Theatre.

He was also previously an associate at the Young Vic Theatre (2002-2007), and director of Arts Threshold and Wink Productions. On the operatic stage, he has directed Don Giovanni and Dr. Dee, both for English National Opera. He hade his feature film debut with "Broken," which premeired at Cannes in 2012.

In a press statement, Norris commented, "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."

Norris, who was born in 1965 and spent his childhood in Africa and Malaysia, trained at RADA and was an actor for several years before turning to directing.