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Rufus Norris to Lead London’s National Theater

Prominent UK company promotes from within, tapping associate director Norris to succeed Nicholas Hytner

London’s National Theater, the prominent government-subsidized legit company responsible for numerous Broadway transfers and an increasingly prominent series of HD cinemacasts, has tapped helmer Rufus Norris as the org’s new topper.

Norris, who’s been an associate director at the National since 2011, will step into the post in April 2015. He replaces Nicholas Hytner, who announced in April that he’d be exiting in March 2015 after more than a decade on the job.

Transition has been closely watched by Stateside legiters, given the international success of the National in recent years. Under Hytner’s auspices, the theater has produced a string of titles that have gone on to transatlantic success, including Tony faves “The History Boys” and “War Horse.” Over that time, the company also has launched its NT Live series of cinema programming, distributing performances of its shows (sometimes live) to theaters around the world.

Norris, whose Broadway credits include “Festen” and the Roundabout Theater Company’s 2008 revival of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” was widely considered one of the most logical candidates for the post in the run-up to the announcement. His recent National credits include James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner” and Tanya Ronder’s “Table.” He was associate director at London’s Young Vic from 2002-07, and his first feature, “Broken,” bowed at Cannes in 2012.

The National produces an average of 26 productions every year. Last year the org posted a total audience figure of 3.6 million and made a record-breaking £87 million ($140 million) despite a 4.4% reduction in its annual grant from Arts Council England. Attendances at the National accounted for more than a third of all playgoing in London.

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