Nicholas Hytner

Director

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Photograph: Johan Persson

Film, TV & Theatre

Agent: Anthony Jones
Assistant: Danielle Walker

Books

Assistant: Seren Adams

Film, TV & Theatre

Nicholas Hytner was born in Manchester, and educated at Manchester Grammar School and Cambridge University, where he read English.

Following brief spells as an actor and assistant stage manager, his first theatre productions were at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter. He then directed a series of productions at the Leeds Playhouse, and in 1985 became an Associate Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. His productions in Manchester included Shakespeare's AS YOU LIKE IT, Marlowe's EDWARD II, Schiller's DON CARLOS, Wycherley's THE COUNTRY WIFE and Robin Glendinning's MUMBO JUMBO.

Nicholas was Director of the National Theatre from 2003 until March 2015.

He has received two Oliver Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, the London Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk Award and a Tony. His film THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE received the Alexandra Korda BAFTA for Best British Film and was nominated for two further BAFTAs (Best Film, Best Director). It was also nominated for the Cannes Palme D'Or and won the Evening Standard Best Film Award.

Film

ProductionCompanyNotes

THE LADY IN THE VAN

THE HISTORY BOYS

CENTER STAGE

THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION

THE CRUCIBLE

THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE

Theatre

ProductionCompanyNotes

THE HARD PROBLEM

Dorfman Theatre

GREAT BRITAIN

Lyttleton Theatre

OTHELLO

Olivier Theatre

TIMON OF ATHENS

Olivier Theatre

TRAVELLING LIGHT

Lyttleton Theatre

COLLABORATORS

Cottesloe Theatre

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS

Lyttleton Theatre

HAMLET

Olivier Theatre

LONDON ASSURANCE

Olivier Theatre

THE HABIT OF ART

Lyttleton Theatre

PHEDRE

Lyttleton Theatre

ENGLAND PEOPLE VERY NICE

Olivier Theatre

MAJOR BARBARA

Olivier Theatre

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Olivier Theatre

RAFTA RAFTA

Lyttleton Theatre

THE MAN OF MODE

Olivier Theatre

THE ALCHEMIST

Olivier Theatre

SOUTHWARK FAIR

Cottesloe Theatre

HENRY IV PARTS 1 & 2

Olivier Theatre

STUFF HAPPENS

Olivier Theatre

THE HISTORY BOYS

Lyttleton Theatre

HIS DARK MATERIALS

Olivier Theatre

THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION

Twentieth Century Fox

HENRY V

Lyttleton Theatre

THE CRUCIBLE

Twentieth Century Fox

THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE

Channel 4

TWELFTH NIGHT

PBS

HENRY V

Olivier Theatre

SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS

Martin Beck Theatre

MOTHER CLAP'S MOLLY HOUSE

Lyttleton Theatre

THE WINTER'S TALE

Olivier Theatre

CRESSIDA

The Albery

ORPHEUS DESCENDING

Donmar Warehouse

THE LADY IN THE VAN

Queens

TWELFTH NIGHT

Lincoln Center Theatre

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN

Cottesloe Theatre

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

Aldwych

CAROUSEL

Lincoln Center Theatre

CAROUSEL

National Theatre

THE RECRUITING OFFICER

Olivier Theatre

THE MADNESS OF GEORGE III

National Theatre

KING LEAR

Barbican Theatre

MISS SAIGON

Broadway Theatre

MISS SAIGON

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS

Olivier Theatre

VOLPONE

Almeida

GHETTO

National Theatre

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

Barbican Theatre

THE TEMPEST

RSC

MUMBO JUMBO

Royal Exchange Theatre

AS YOU LIKE IT

Royal Exchange Theatre

THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL

Chichester Festival Theatre

JUMPERS

Royal Exchange Theatre

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR

Northcott Theatre

Opera

ProductionCompanyNotes

DON CARLO

Royal Opera

DON CARLO

Metropolitan Opera

COSI FAN TUTTE

Glyndebourne

THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN

Paris Opera

DON GIOVANNI

Bavarian State Opera

THE FORCE OF DESTINY

ENO

LA CLEMENZA DI TITO

Glyndebourne

LE NOZZE DE FIGARO

Geneva Opera

THE MAGIC FLUTE

ENO

THE KNOT GARDEN

Royal Opera

THE KING GOES FORTH TO FRANCE

Royal Opera

GIULIO CESARE

Paris Opera

XERXES

ENO

RIENZI

ENO

KING PRIAM

Kent Opera

SAKUNTALA

Wexford Festival Opera

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

Kent Opera

THE TURN OF THE SCREW

Kent Opera

Books

Nicholas Hytner's first book, BALANCING ACTS: BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE NATIONAL THEATRE, was published by Jonathan Cape in May 2017. 

Praise for BALANCING ACTS (2017):

'Balancing Acts is at least partly a memoir, melded with lessons learned from three decades at the hard end of the directing/producing business. The central dictum, repeated more than once, is that “high-minded can also be showbiz gold”, and the book aims to unveil the formula of this mysterious alchemy. It should be read not simply by anyone who has an interest in British theatre, but anyone interested in that oldest of questions: how you make art that sells... Hytner is at his best when delving into texts he knows intimately and discussing playwrights he loves, and his insights on Shakespeare and Bennett are worth the price of the book alone.' Guardian

'This is not a conventional theatre memoir. There’s little gossip and no sentimentality. The qualities of Hytner’s writing are the qualities of his work as a director — he doesn’t generalise, he’s specific, he’s detailed, he’s witty and entertaining, has an ability to be serious without being portentous, and he’s able to tell a good story. He’s generous without being self-serving and politic without being unctuous... Hytner’s artful balancing act between indiscretion and reticence illustrates the canniness that enabled him to run the theatre so brilliantly... You don’t have to be interested in theatre or even in culture to enjoy this book; you just have to be curious about the anatomy and psychology of a large organisation. But if you do happen to be interested in one of the few organisations in Britain that actually achieves what it’s supposed to — along with the Tate, the British Museum, the National Gallery and the BBC — then you’ll be delighted. What’s more, in the account of Hytner’s directing at least six Shakespeare plays (including a definitive Timon of Athens) you’ll find yourself given a masterclass.' Richard Eyre, Evening Standard 

'[A] hugely entertaining memoir... Throughout, [Hytner] balances wit with intellectual gravitas, gossip with self-deprecation and mischief with serious insight... At the spine of the book is a palpable sense of the work and camaraderie that drives the creation of drama. Hytner has a writer’s instinct for detail, drawing you into the room with luminaries such as Arthur Miller and John Gielgud, letting you eavesdrop on rehearsals. He’s at his precise best on Shakespeare (brilliantly incisive and revealing on Hamlet) and on Alan Bennett.' Financial Times

'[A] wonderful book: stimulating, intelligent, gossipy, heartfelt, affectionate, honest and, perhaps above all, fun.' Daily Mail

'Balancing Acts [is] a piece of prose as simultaneously controlled and revealing as Hytner himself. It never dishes the dirt – it mentions flops, but only names one, the excruciating portmanteau play Greenland – and keeps personal insight and agonised soul-searching to an absolute minimum. But it is revelatory nonetheless, full of anecdotes about the terrifying art of bringing a play alive, and full of insight about the sheer daredevil tightrope act that running the National Theatre involves... Hytner's book is a vital reminder both of what theatre can do – and what is at stake if we take it for granted.' What's On Stage

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2017

Jonathan Cape

You start with a vision, and you deliver a compromise. You want a play to be challenging, ambitious, nuanced and complicated. You also want it to sell tickets. You want to make art, and you know you’re in show business. These are some of the balancing acts that the National Theatre, and this book, is about.

This is the inside story of twelve years at the helm of Britain’s greatest theatre. It is a story of lunatic failures and spectacular successes such as The History Boys, War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors; of opening the doors of the National Theatre to a broader audience than ever before, and changing the public’s perception of what theatre is for. It is about probing Shakespeare from every angle and reinventing the classics. About fostering new talent and directing some of the most celebrated actors of our times. Its cast includes the likes of Alan Bennett, Maggie Smith, Mike Leigh, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Gambon and Helen Mirren.

Intimate, candid and insightful, Balancing Acts is a passionate exploration of the art and alchemy of making theatre.