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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 22:02 GMT 23:02 UK
Adrian Noble's 'painful' departure
RSC in Stratford
RSC in Stratford: Noble will leave next March
Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Adrian Noble has described his decision to leave as "painful".

Noble, who has been in his post for more than a decade and is also chief executive, announced on Wednesday that he would leave the RSC next March.

Speaking on Radio 4's Front Row programme after his announcement Noble said: "I've been weighing this up for some weeks now.

"It was a painful decision but when I had made it I was very clear about it."

Adrian Noble
Noble believes it is time to move on

Noble had been criticised for his restructuring of the RSC, including job cuts and the planned demolition of its main Stratford-upon-Avon theatre.

Further recent attacks have also come from his decision to take leave of the RSC to direct the West End musical Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang - which opened to acclaim last week.


However, he denied suggestions that his decision to leave was prompted by the early success of the musical, even though he said last month that he had no intention of going.

"I have initiated some of the most revolutionary changes in the company's history," he said.

It seems to me that most of the criticism that I have got has come about because people love this company passionately

Adrian Noble

"I've laid the foundation for those changes but we are beginning to see the fruits of those changes.

"I'll be here for another 12 months to fulfil a pretty solid artistic programme.

"I think that's the time to leave and that's the time to hand it over to someone else."


He added that the criticism he had attracted had nothing to do with his departure.

"You can't go into a job like I have and not expect flak," he said.

"But it seems to me that most of the criticism that I have got has come about because people love this company passionately," he said.

You have to be politician, expert at dealing with the press and willing to use your talents to raise money

Adrian Noble on working at the RSC in recent years

"I love this company deeply, it's been my life. I've done what I have done to make this company thrive in the future."

But, he stressed that the changes brought in during his tenure were not his doing alone.

"The changes I initiated were worked out with the board of the RSC company," he said.

"We worked side-by-side with the board of the RSC and the Arts Council of England."


Noble joined the company as assistant director in 1980 and he said that since then working in the theatre had evolved.

"The job has profoundly changed. Then, the principal job was artistic," Noble said.

"Nowadays you have to be a politician, expert at dealing with the press and willing to use your talents to raise money.

"I find those challenges worthwhile but they are not going to be up everybody's street."

Noble concluded by offering advice to his successor at the RSC - whoever that might be.

"Believe in what you are doing, listen to advice from all sides, surround yourself with the best colleagues," he said.

"Try to employ people who are better than you - but finally follow your own judgement."

Adrian Noble on Radio 4's Front Row
"It was a painful decision"
See also:

28 Mar 01 | Arts
RSC: Shakespeare and beyond
24 Apr 02 | Arts
Drama on and off stage at RSC
26 Mar 02 | Arts
RSC plans get cautious welcome
24 Apr 02 | Arts
RSC chief to quit
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