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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Daldry favoured for National Theatre role
Royal National Theatre
Nunn's tenure at the theatre has been criticised by some
Theatre goers would vote for Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry to take over the Royal National Theatre, according to a poll by website Whatsonstage.

Oscar-nominated Daldry was favoured by 45% of theatre goers to succeed Trevor Nunn in the role, which Nunn has announced he would like to leave before his contract runs out in September 2002.

Finding the right person for the job is no easy task

Terri Paddock, Whatsonstage editorial director
Ten percent wanted Nunn's colleague John Caird to take over, while 7% backed director Nicholas Hytner and just 4% American Beauty director Sam Mendes, currently at London's Donmar Warehouse.

The poll of 1,000 theatre goers also showed that 88% would prefer Trevor Nunn to step down as soon as possible.

Some favoured actor Simon Callow's suggestion that an actor-manager take on the job: Actor-managers who attracted support included Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Simon Russell-Beale and Steven Berkoff.

Another candidate to throw his hat into the ring includes Max Stafford-Clark, Out of Joint artistic director.

Mr Stafford-Clark told The Stage newspaper: "At the moment people want to be asked without having been seen to be asked but I would certainly be interested in having an appropriate conversation about the National.

"Where new writing is concerned it is something I could contribute to."

Trevor Nunn
Nunn would like to step down as soon as possible
Nunn's tenure of the Royal National Theatre has brought some criticism for "safe" revivals and unimaginative programming.

His decision to bring in Martine McCutcheon in My Fair Lady was criticised by some theatre purists, although her performances have been acclaimed - when she has not been too ill to appear.

'Toughest job'

But a spokeswoman for the theatre said: "Trevor has said he will stay on until a successor has been found."

Commenting on the poll results, Whatsonstage editorial director Terri Paddock, said: "Theatre goers appreciate that, like management of the national side in football, the directorship of the National Theatre is one of the toughest jobs in the country.

"Finding the right person for the job is no easy task.

"However, with such a wide and diverse range of successors proposed, I think this poll shows that the public, at least, is ready and willing to take some risks."

The decision on Nunn's successor will be made by the 13 members of the Royal National Theatre board.

The board is headed by Reuters chairman Christopher Hogg and includes writers Tom Stoppard and Ben Okri, and broadcasters Sue McGregor and Joan Bakewell.

See also:

18 Apr 01 | Arts
National's Nunn to leave
02 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Eyre calls for cheaper theatre
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