U.K.'s National Theatre Appoints Tessa Ross as New Chief Executive

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26 Mar 2014

Tessa Ross, currently controller of Film and Drama for Channel 4 television, is to join the National Theatre as chief executive. She will join the theatre in November, working alongside Nicholas Hytner and formally becoming chief executive, sharing the leadership of the theatre with Rufus Norris, who takes over as director in April 2015.



In a press statement, John Makinson, chairman of the National Theatre, commented, "The National has grown enormously in scale and complexity under the leadership of Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr. We are both a national and an international organisation, with a global audience of four million. Tessa's international experience and reputation as a producer and executive need no introduction, and her partnership with Rufus Norris will give us the strongest possible platform on which to extend the National Theatre's creative and commercial leadership."

Norris also commented, "I am both thrilled and honored that Tessa Ross is coming to join us at the NT, and to be my partner at the helm of this unique organisation. She is an extraordinary woman: a world-class producer, a tireless supporter and promoter of both emerging and established artists, a great manager and businesswoman. She empowers and encourages people to their best work. Furthermore, she is and has always been a passionate believer in the National Theatre. I can’t wait to start working with her."

In a statement, Ross said, "I’m incredibly excited to be joining the National Theatre: one of our most iconic and significant cultural institutions and a place that I’ve loved since I was very young. Under Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr’s leadership, it’s been an exceptional and inspiring home for the theatrical and creative communities, and I’m privileged to be working with Rufus to build its next chapter. I leave behind an absolutely brilliant and passionate team at Film4, and an important organisation in its mother, Channel 4. It’s been a pleasure and honour to work with the writers, directors, producers and the many other talented people I’ve collaborated with during my time there, relationships I look forward to continuing."

Ross joined Channel 4 in 2000 and became head of Film4 in 2003, followed by controller of Film and Drama in 2008. Under her, Film4 has built a worldwide reputation for developing and financing films that have included Steve McQueen's recent Oscar and BAFTA-winning "12 Years a Slave"; Danny Boyle’s "Slumdog Millionaire," which won multiple awards including eight Oscars and seven BAFTAs; Kevin Macdonald's Oscar-winning "The Last King of Scotland"; and BAFTA-winning "This is England" by Shane Meadows. She was on the board of the National Theatre from 2011-2014.