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Nicholas Hytner quits as head of National Theatre…in the wake of a Spectator profile

11 April 2013

So, Nicholas Hytner is to step down as director of the National Theatre at the end of March 2015. How canny of Lloyd Evans to review his ten-year reign on the South Bank in The Spectator arts pages on 6 April, the week before his official announcement. Lloyd wrote:

‘Artistic freedom has been the hallmark of his ten-year stewardship….No one guessed how bold Hytner would be. He took the presiding spirit of the theatre, as embodied in its ponderous title, and chucked it in the Thames. Instead of running a museum of official art he created a showcase for his personal inclinations. The National Theatre of Hytner. An astonishing risk.

‘And no one noticed how hazardous it was simply because he pulled it off with such aplomb…..It’s tempting to conclude that if Hytner’s reign had been anything less than triumphant, he’d have been condemned as a raving megalomaniac. He may in fact be exactly that. But a good one.’

I don’t think there will be a better review of his time at the National Theatre — I reckon even Hytner might agree.

Liz Anderson is arts editor of The Spectator

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Show comments
  • telemachus

    As stated in the Guardian his biggest legacy is:

    “Hytner also leaves a theatre in good financial health, insulated against the coalition’s funding cuts by commercial successes on Broadway and in the West End”
    He has immunised them against the ravages of Maria Miller

    • Russell

      You mean he is slowly taking them off the taxpayers teat due to Maria Millers reduction in subsidising them with our money!

      • telemachus

        The arts can contribute to spiritual renewal and make a real difference to health, crime, employment and education in our broken society. They also play a vital role in developing an individual’s potential and self-confidence and help to build positive links between disparate groups.


        It should be government policy that access to the arts is for the many and not the few.

        • Maurice_Gosfield

          And Hytner has, via the repeated Travelex seasons and NTLive, demonstrated that access to the arts is not reliant on government subsidy and that challenging work can also be commercially successful without the need for taxpayer support. Whether or not he intended to do this is moot but the fact that he has completely refutes your absurd and dogmatic postings. If you actually thought for a moment you’d see the obvious contradictions in your daily drivellings.

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