BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Entertainment: Arts
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Hytner sets out National plan
Nicholas Hytner
Hytner: Will take over National Theatre in April 2003
Nicholas Hytner, new artistic director of London's Royal National Theatre, has set out his vision for the venue.

"I would like to look far and wide for new stories, new talent, new generations, new communities," Hytner declared on being unveiled as the latest head of the National.

What he lacks in experience of running a venue is made up for by his enthusiasm and passion about what the National should be and how it should fit into the theatre world and the community at large.

"I do believe that I have a responsibility - not just for the health of this building but to a larger degree for the health of theatre as a whole," he said.

The National Theatre should be providing the reflection of what the nation is

Nicholas Hytner
Hytner sees his role as to reflect the identity of the nation on stage - and also, in some ways, to help define that identity.

"The very word 'national' is loaded with possibilities at the moment," he says.

"I think that what we should be doing is discovering what 'national' means.

"There are a whole panoply of new communities, new generations, fresh life, fresh generations to be found and I would like that to be reflected on our stages.

"The National Theatre should be providing the reflection of what the nation is at a particularly exciting time in its development."


That would encompass a "whole variety" of shows, including productions by European directors, he said.

"I think it's really important to see what's becoming of other societies, and maybe in that way we'll come to a clearer understanding of what we're becoming."

I have a lot to learn, which I will be doing during the next 18 months

Nicholas Hytner
Musicals will feature in his schedules - but there will not be any classic American revivals in the foreseeable future.

He has signalled his desire to explore contemporary dance, but added that playwrights are "the heart" of the theatre.

Any Hollywood stars who appear would only do so if their acting merited it, and he would not seek to sign big names just so they would sell tickets, he said.

Young audiences would continue to be wooed, and Hytner promised work on making ticket prices more affordable for all.

'Tight group'

He will spend the next 18 months making links with established names, looking at new talent and speaking to old friends so he could hit the ground running.

A "close, tight group" of associate directors will be brought in, as will as a wider group of actors, directors and producers who will have artistic input.

He said the part of the job that scares him most is not the media criticism, but the fact that he had to look after the National's 800 employees.

"I've been their friend, their colleague," he said. "It's a huge rite of passage to become, to a certain degree, their dad."

Nicholas Hytner
"The National Theatre should be discovering what 'national' means"
See also:

25 Sep 01 | Arts
Hytner appointment welcomed
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Arts stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Arts stories