Featherstone to leave NTS at end of 2012

May 11, 2012 | By More

NTS artistic director takes up post with Royal Court

Vicky Featherstone

By Thom Dibdin

Vicky Featherstone, inaugural artistic director of the  National Theatre of Scotland is leaving to take up the post of artistic director at the Royal Court in London.

Featherstone will take up her new position in Spring 2013 and will continue to lead the National Theatre of Scotland until the end of 2012. She initially took up the position in November 2004 and pioneered the company’s innovative “theatre without walls” to great critical acclaim.

Commenting on her involvement with the NTS, Featherstone said: “It is a life-changing experience to be the person to set up a new national theatre. As I have said many times, the National Theatre of Scotland is part of a continuum of theatre. All we have done and are doing within the Company is made possible by the richness of Scotland – its people, its geography, its brilliant complexity.

“And there are so many stories yet to tell, so many artists yet to tell them and so many people yet to be thrilled by what theatre is. It is an honour beyond words to have played a part in setting up something which is so great. It is a privilege to have seen the astonishing team at the National Theatre of Scotland grow into something fearless and dynamic. All I hope is that what we have created is something with enough importance, with enough care and with enough passion to last the future.”

The Board of the National Theatre of Scotland will begin the recruitment of a new Artistic Director immediately. The board stress that Featherstone passes on to her successor a company in excellent creative and financial shape.

Richard Findlay, Chairman of the National Theatre of Scotland said: “Vicky has done a fantastic job during her time here with many a great success built around a strong team. She will be sorely missed, not just by us, but by the entire Scottish theatre community. We wish her well in her new job.”

Featherstone has talked about her move as being “a complex mixture of real sadness and joy”.

She said: “It was the Royal Court which first opened my eyes to the possibilities of theatre and playwrights when I worked there early in my career and it was this passion which led me to Scotland, chasing the brilliance of, amongst so many others, David Greig, David Harrower, Zinnie Harris, Greg Burke and Douglas Maxwell. I thank you all.”

Her first professional theatre engagement was at the Royal Court, as assistant director on Martin Crimp’s No one Sees The Video.

“My entire understanding of and belief in theatre is predicated on the playwright.”

Speaking of her new role, she said: “In its tireless championing of the playwright as the centre of the creative process the Royal Court has created the environment for some of our greatest and bravest thinkers and talents to emerge. My entire understanding of and belief in theatre is predicated on the playwright. It is the playwrights who find story, form and structure in the most unlikely yet inspiring places and who breathe the life into ideas, thus demanding their urgent work be realised for an audience.

“These are challenging times. Now more than ever we need places where reflection, question and visceral experience can elevate the daily and the private and remind us of our humanity and universality. The Royal Court is that place.”

Under Vicky Featherstone’s guidance, the NTS has played to over 710,000 people, across three continents, with 160 productions in 125 different locations. In the last five years, the company’s total box office earnings have reached almost £6.4 million while is artists have 37 national and international awards, including 4 Oliviers.

Besides guiding the NTS, Featherstone has worked as a hands-on director. Her credits include Enquirer (co-directed with John Tiffany), Appointment with The Wicker Man by Greg Hemphill and Donald McLeary, 27 by Abi Morgan, The Wheel by Zinnie Harris, Somersaults by Iain Finlay MacLeod, Wall of Death: A Way of Life (co-directed with Stephen Skrynka),  The Miracle Man by Douglas Maxwell,  Empty by Cathy Forde, Long Gone Lonesome by Duncan McLean, Cockroach by Sam Holcroft (a co-production with the Traverse Theatre), 365 (a co-production with the Edinburgh International Festival), Mary Stuart (Citizens, Glasgow and Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh) and co-directed The Wolves In The Walls (Tramway, Lyric Hammersmith, UK tour and New Victory Theater, New York).

Vicky was Artistic Director of new writing company Paines Plough Theatre Company, before taking up her National Theatre of Scotland post. Under her directorship, Paines Plough toured extensively across Britain and internationally, garnering many awards for her work as a director (six Fringe Firsts, TMA Best Director, Manchester Evening News Best Director and two Herald Angels) and a reputation for discovering and developing the best writing talent. Prior to this Vicky worked in television as drama executive for the BBC, Granada TV and Central TV. She created several original drama series, including Where the Heart is and Silent Witness. She has worked extensively as a freelance theatre director throughout England. She started out her career at the Royal Court as an Assistant Director.

ENDS

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