My Vision for the National Theatre; the NT's Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner Reveals His Plans for a [Pounds Sterling]70 Million Revamp of the Buildings and Explains Why the Recession Is the Right Time for Boldness and Ambition

The Evening Standard (London, England), June 16, 2010 | Go to article overview

My Vision for the National Theatre; the NT's Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner Reveals His Plans for a [Pounds Sterling]70 Million Revamp of the Buildings and Explains Why the Recession Is the Right Time for Boldness and Ambition


Byline: Nicholas Hytner

THE recession has claimed many victims but the London theatre hasn't been one of them. Audiences have continued to flock into theatres big and small, and there has been a remarkable amount of extraordinary work on London's stages. Companies and theatres as diverse as the Royal Court, the Royal Ballet, the Bush, Sadler's Wells, Punchdrunk and the Donmar have been triumphantly on form during the last couple of years.

Goodness knows what happens next. Sustained investment in the arts over the past 15 years has released a torrent of creativity which has, in its turn, had a transformative effect on London and on the millions who visit it. It has been educationally transformative too: schools all over the country have been the beneficiaries of new links between arts and education which have limitless potential. I suppose it may all be jeopardised for the sake of saving a low multiple of Fred Goodwin's pension, but like all my colleagues I live in hope that the new Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will carry the day as the Treasury addresses the deficit. It must be a good idea to continue to support the London arts community's innovation and entrepreneurialism, which have been of such dramatic economic benefit, and so exciting to be part of.

In 1976, when the National Theatre's South Bank building opened, the economic climate was similarly bleak. It didn't stop Laurence Olivier, the National's first director, and his successor, Peter Hall, realising the vision described by Harley Granville-Barker in 1904, who foresaw a "visibly and unmistakably popular institution making a large appeal to the whole community".

The same vision informs the National Theatre today. There seems to be a greater hunger than ever for live theatre and we have worked hard to respond to it. NT Live broadcasts plays from the National Theatre live or nearly live to cinemas throughout the world. Fifty thousand people each time saw our broadcasts of Racine's Phedre and Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art, and we're confident that, before too long, we can get out to many more cinemas and many more people. We are now open seven days a week; and more than a million people have bought Travelex [pounds sterling]10 tickets since the scheme was launched in 2003.

It's sometimes hard to remember that architect Denys Lasdun's South Bank landmark used to feature on lists of the most hated buildings in London. It now regularly features on top 10 favourite lists and I am not surprised, because I love it. Twenty-five years ago, it was a love that dared not speak its name but I, like all my colleagues, am now proudly out of the closet. Audiences seem to love it too, but the world has moved on, our environment has evolved, and the demands made of us have changed; so we have developed an ambitious [pounds sterling]70 million scheme called NT Future to rise to the challenge of the next 50 years.

Like all good architectural projects (this one is designed by Haworth Tompkins), it's really about what we do rather than bricks and mortar. When the building opened in 1976, we were at the far eastern corner of the South Bank. We were literally the end of the road: you couldn't walk past us and Lasdun expected you to arrive from Waterloo over one of our terraces. Twelve million people now walk past us every year and the world around us is buzzing with activity. We need to unlock what can be a forbidding exterior and let both light and the public flood in. Metaphorically, we need to break down the National's walls.

The spiritual heart of the project is a new education centre, allowing 50,000 more people a year to engage in learning and training activities, including participatory workshops, masterclasses, seminars and study days. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

My Vision for the National Theatre; the NT's Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner Reveals His Plans for a [Pounds Sterling]70 Million Revamp of the Buildings and Explains Why the Recession Is the Right Time for Boldness and Ambition
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.