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Hytner To Stay On After 2013


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#1 Jan Brock

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 08:33 AM

"Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre, has told the New York Times he hopes to stay on for "couple of years or so" at the end of his current contract. He had previously been scheduled to leave the post in 2013."

I find this depressing news - not because he hasn't been good at the NT (although he personally was a better director before he took up the post) but because 10 years in the job for anyone is enough - by staying on (I wonder if he's asked the NT Board whether he can continue ?) he's blocking the way for a younger director to take over in exactly the same way that he complained about the incumbent long-serving theatre critics. After 10 year it is time for the NT to be renewed and taken in a different artistic direction. I wonder if he is becoming subject to the delusion of all long-serving rulers that somehow he is indispensable ? (The graveyeards are full of people who thought themselves so, as the saying goes).

Also, as we pay his salary shouldn't he have announced his intention to cling to power in the London Times first ?

#2 The Suburbanite

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:48 AM

Couldn't say whether he's suffering from delusions of indispensability, but I agree he should move on - it's time for a fresh approach from a different person.

I also agree he hasn't been a disaster - I know some people on this board have little positive to say about his directorship - but for me, during the last 3 years or so something that was enticing me back to the NT regularly has gone, and caused me to cease my membership.

But if the quote is accurate, that he "hopes to" stay on, it doen't necessarily mean he will.
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#3 simon from oxford

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 10:10 AM

It is time for him to move aside and for the programming to be reinvigorated.  It has got very stale of late.

There should be a fixed term limit for all of our national companies - just to keep them fresh

#4 Jan Brock

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 10:29 AM

View PostThe Suburbanite, on 16 September 2011 - 09:48 AM, said:

Couldn't say whether he's suffering from delusions of indispensability,

Oh I think there is a hint of it ...

"[Hytner] goes on to tell the paper of record he would "provide the National with continuity in an era when government support is less certain.""

So, why is "continuity" important when government support is less ? Only if the person providing the "continuity" thinks he can personally increase NT's income when others couldn't.

Imagine they announced that Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris would be taking over in 2013, or Rupert Goold, wouldn't that be a far more exciting prospect to look forward to than another few years of Hytner ?

I seem to remember Michael Boyd also said "10 years only" and that his time is up in 2013 too. I wonder who will take over that particular poisoned chalice ? Rupert Goold, Sam Mendes, Michael Grandage - maybe Hytner should apply.

#5 Honoured Guest

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 10:56 AM

I agree with Nick Hytner that executive continuity is desirable in this era of step cuts in public subsidy, but I also agree with you all that artistically a refreshment would have some merit. The problem here is that the role of Director of the NT is both executive and artistic, so on balance the decision for Sir Nick to stay to weather the storm is probably the right one. Artistically, the direction could be subtly changed by devolving more powers to the associate directors.

#6 Abby

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 11:06 AM

I get what you're all saying about the positives of getting in new blood, but I'm rather pleased by this and I hope he does stay on. I think he's done a fantastic job at the NT and he is also a very good figurehead and spokesperson for the arts - which I fear we're going to need for a few more years yet.

#7 Jan Brock

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:25 PM

View PostAbby, on 16 September 2011 - 11:06 AM, said:

I think he's done a fantastic job at the NT and he is also a very good figurehead and spokesperson for the arts

Is he ? Calling the next era one in which "government support is less certain" is hardly Brendan Barber-style rabble-rousing is it.

#8 Honoured Guest

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:52 PM

You could split the role of figurehead and spokesperson into two main activities. The first activity is within the arts world, to help it to cope with the step cuts, which is what NH was addressing in the NY Times quotes. He's been good and innovative, for example with the NT's initiative in providing shared functions for other companies. The second activity is advocacy for the arts to influence the government, and I doubt that "Brendan Barber-style rabble-rousing" would be the most effective approach to achieve that.

#9 Jan Brock

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:25 PM

Justifiably or not Hytner is now part of the comfortable establishment. Having someone like Tom Morris at the head of the NT would be likely to be a far more effective way of arguing against cuts  - I mean if that's what you want to do (my view is the cuts are not necessarily a bad thing for theatre).

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:46 PM

Please don't entice Tom Morris away to your neck of the woods from Bristol Old Vic for at least three years. The BOV redevelopment still has a long way to go, with the Theatre Royal not reopening until June 2012 at the earliest. Tom Morris has a much more collaborative and inclusive approach than any previous BOV artistic director and it would be quite destabilising if he were to leave before he's had the chance to bed this into the reopened building.

I absolutely agree that funding cuts aren't per se a bad thing, but uncertainty is.




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