Rufus Norris, who began his career as an actor before turning to directing, has been tapped to succeed Nicholas Hytner as the new director of Britain’s presitigious National Theatre.
Norris is expected to assume his new role when Hytner steps down at the end of March 2015.
The National Theatre has grown in international prominence in recent years with its digital broadcasts to cinemas around the world. The London company’s NT Live series has broadcast such high-profile productions as “Frankenstein,” with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller; “Macbeth” with Kenneth Branagh; and “The Audience,” with Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II.
Norris will be the National Theatre’ sixth artistic director. Laurence Olivier was the company’s first leader, starting in 1963. Subsequent directors were Peter Hall, Richard Eyre and Trevor Nunn.
Like his predecessors, Norris has dabbled in the movies, directing the independent feature “Broken” in 2012.
Norris, 48, has directed numerous stage productions, including a recent revival of James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner,” starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste, at the National Theatre. In the U.S., he has directed “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and the British import “Festen,” both on Broadway.
The National Theatre is marking its 50th anniversary this year with a celebratory production that will be broadcast to cinemas around the world starting Nov. 2. The production will feature many of the company’s alumni and frequent performers, including Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi and Maggie Smith.