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Rufus Norris has been picked as the next director for Britain’s National Theatre. He replaces outgoing director Nicholas Hytner.
Hytner said that Norris has the appetite needed to take the helm. “Rufus has it, as well as talent, affection and respect,” Hytner said in a statement. Norris will take over starting in April 2015.
“I'm enormously grateful to the board for the care and clarity with which they have gone about this process,” Norris said. “I'm hugely grateful to Nick not only for guiding me over the last few years, but for the leadership and strength that he has and the fact that he has left this theatre in the state that it is now. This place could not be in ruder health. Obviously there are plans afoot, but as I found out yesterday that I'd be sitting here today, they're not solid yet.”
According to The Associated Press, Norris, the first actor to hold the post since Laurence Olivier, is taking over one of the most successful theater companies in the world. Hytner oversaw the international success of War Horse, One Man, Two Guvnors and others. National’s productions were shown to 3.6 million people around the world last year and grossed 87 million pounds ($139 million).
Norris, 48, was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began his career as an actor before becoming a well known theater director. His 2008 Broadway production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses earned five Tony nominations.
He is currently working on a film adaptation of London Road, but he said that future film directing will not be a priority for him.
“I’d like to think you can do this job and direct a movie a year alongside it — but clearly that’s not the case,” he said, notes the AP. “It’s an enormous job.”