Great directors at the National Theatre

Yesterday Nicholas Hytner announced a number of shows that will be coming to the National Theatre in 2009… unsurprisingly, most of the newspapers have focused on the news that Helen Mirren will be performing in a new production of Phaedra, with headlines including:

Don’t get me wrong – I’m also excited about this news. I’m just also pretty excited about some of the other news, particuarly around directors

In addition to Hytner’s own director of Phaedra, a number of other famous directors have been announced – thanks to What’s On Stage and The Stage for covering this part of the story!

  • Deborah Warner – Mother Courage and Her Children
  • Marianne ElliottAll’s Well That Ends Well
  • Michael GrandageDanton’s Death
  • Richard EyreThe Observer
  • Rufus NorrisDeath and the King’s Horeseman
  • Rupert GooldTime and the Conways

It’s a pretty impressive list really… Rupert Goold and Michael Grandage have never directed at the National before so that’s a bit of a coup.

But seriously – how does Michael Grandage find the time?! He’s Artistic Director of the Donmar for a few years now, which this year got even bigger with the launch of the Donmar West End season. He’s also directing 3 of the 4 shows himself – Ivanov, Twelfth Night and Madame de Sade – so he certainly seems to know how to keep busy!

Rupert Goold and Rufus Norris are 2 of London’s theatre’s brightest stars, so it’s great to have them working at the National. Goold’s new production of Six Characters in Search of an Author just transferred to the West End from the Chichester Festival Theatre where it started, and he’ll then be going on to direct Oliver

In fact, a number of these directors have musical theatre experience in the past – Rufus Norris directed Bill Kenwright’s recent production of Cabaret (which is currently touring the regions starring Samantha Barks), and Michael Grandage has directed shows like Guys and Dolls and Evita in recent years. Deborah Warner doesn’t appear to have directed any musicals, but she is experienced in the field of opera, having directed at both the ENO and Glyndebourne.

If you want to know more about the directors in question, and the programme itself, I’d recommend chceking out an article on Official London Theatre Guide

I’m sure there will be plenty more response in the coming weeks, but without even knowing much about the shows themselves, I’m excited about next year at the National.


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