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News Report

Thursday 25th July 02

Michael Boyd to be new artistic director of the RSC.

It was announced today that Michael Boyd is to be the new artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). He replaces Adrian Noble who steps down in March 2003.

Michael has been an Associate Director with the RSC since 1996 and his most recent productions for the RSC include "The Tempest" (2002), "Henry VI" trilogy and "Richard III". He was the founding director of the Tron Theatre in Glasgow between 1985 and 1989. Born in Belfast in 1955, Michael Boyd trained at the Malaya Bronnaya Theatre in Moscow.

The choice of new Artistic Director was made by a sub-group of the RSC's Board, which included the Company's Chairman, Lord Alexander of Weedon; the Deputy Chair, Lady Sainsbury of Turville; the academic and writer, Professor Stanley Wells; the actress, Sinead Cusack; and Michael Hoffman. They were joined by the former Artistic Director of the Royal National Theatre, Sir Richard Eyre and Kim Evans from the Arts Council for England.

Commenting on the announcement, Lord Alexander said: "The choice of Michael as a new leader for the Company is of immense importance to our audiences, to all our staff, and all those who care about the RSC and classical theatre. "The selection process has been rigorous and exhaustive. The decision was finally reached after wide consultation with members of the artistic community. Michael's talent as a director, along with his knowledge of the RSC and capacity for leadership are invaluable qualities for this post. We are delighted that he has decided to take up the mantle and lead the RSC."

Commenting on his appointment, Michael Boyd said: "I am delighted to be leading the RSC into its next chapter. My aspiration is to ensure that we are an agenda-setting theatre company. That's a challenge that really excites me."

Commenting on the appointment, Adrian Noble said: "Michael Boyd is one of the most distinctive and original Shakespearean directors in the country. He has flair, intellectual rigour, and real powers of leadership. I wholeheartedly congratulate him and wish him great good fortune in his new post."

Over the coming seven months Michael will work as Artistic Director designate, looking at the future shape of the Company and drawing up the artistic plans for work after Spring 2003.


Born: 6 July 1955 in Belfast

Latymer Upper School, London
Daniel Stewarts College, Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh (MA, English Literature)

Malaya Bronnaya Theatre, Moscow (Trainee Director)
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (Trainee Assistant Director)

Previous Posts
1980-1982 Assistant Director, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
1982-1984 Associate Director, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
1985-1989 Founding Artistic Director of Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Productions for The Tron
The Trick is to Keep Breathing, Macbeth, Good, The Real World, Crow, Century's End, Salvation, The Baby, Clyde Nouveau, The Guid Sisters.

Productions for the RSC
1994/5 The Broken Heart
1996/7 Measure for Measure
1997/8 The Spanish Tragedy, Much Ado About Nothing
1998/9 Troilus and Cressida
1999/00 A Midsummer Night's Dream
2000/1 Romeo and Juliet
2000/1 Henry VI, parts I,II and III
and Richard III (for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Director)

1996 Became an Associate Director of the RSC, along with Michael Attenborough (Principal Associate Director), Gregory Doran and Steven Pimlott.

1999 Drama Director of the New Beginnings Festival of Soviet Arts, Glasgow.

Other theatre productions include: Miss Julie (Haymarket Theatre, West End 1999), Commedia (Lyric Hammersmith, Nominated Best Play, Evening Standard 1983), Othello (1984 Nominated Best Director, Plays and Players), Hard to Get (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Hedda Gabler (Leicester Haymarket), The Alchemist (Cambridge Theatre Company)

Michael Boyd lives in London with his partner Caroline Hall who works in television. He has three children: Daniel (13), Gabriella (13) and Rachael (20 months).


In the last ten years, the Company has mounted 171 new productions, given 19,000 performances, sold 11 million tickets, and played in 100 towns and cities in the UK and 50 towns and cities around the globe.

  • The RSC's turnover is £32 million.
  • RSC brings an estimated £31.75 million worth of investment to the Stratford/West Midlands area each year.
  • RSC brings an estimated £18 million worth of direct income into the Stratford area, including £11.8 million of self-generated income.
  • 61% of the RSC's income is self-generated, selling over £15 million of tickets in 1999/2000.
  • The RSC received £12.8 million in subsidy from the Arts Council of England in 2002/3.

Audience & Reach

  • The RSC's total annual audience is around one million people
  • The RSC performed over 40 weeks of UK touring in year 2000/1
  • In 1998, the RSC launched a policy of programming for family audiences with a new stage version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This production alone attracted 40,000 first-time attenders to the RSC.
  • Over 250,000 people in the UK under the age of 25 see the RSC's work each year - approximately 25 per cent of the RSC's total audience

RSC Milestones

  • 1564-1616 William Shakespeare born and died in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • 1769 David Garrick staged the first theatre festival in Stratford
  • 1879 Local philanthropist Charles Flower builds the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford
  • 1925 Royal Charter given
  • 1926 Fire destroys auditorium and stage
  • 1932 New Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opens
  • 1960 Peter Hall becomes Artistic Director
  • 1960 Aldwych Theatre leased - Stratford/London operations start with Sir Peter Hall as Artistic Director
  • 1961 Company renamed Royal Shakespeare Company
  • 1963 First Arts Council subsidy
  • 1968 Trevor Nunn becomes Artistic Director
  • 1974 The Other Place created from a tin hut
  • 1977 The Warehouse created in London
  • 1977 Annual Newcastle Residency begins
  • 1978 Annual UK Mobile Theatre tour begins
  • 1978 Terry Hands joins Trevor Nunn as Artistic Director
  • 1982 RSC London operations move to the Barbican
  • 1986 Terry Hands becomes sole Artistic Director
  • 1986 Swan Theatre opens
  • 1987 Annual UK national tours start
  • 1991 Adrian Noble becomes Artistic Director
  • 1991 New purpose-built The Other Place opens
  • 1997 Seasons remodelled - London Barbican season reduced to 8 months; first Plymouth residency; first mid-scale tour
  • 1998 First overseas residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York and Kennedy Center Washington
  • 2000 Chris Foy appointed as RSC's first Managing Director
  • 2000 Sir Geoffrey Cass retires as Chairman - succeeded by Lord Alexander of Weedon
  • 2001 First US university residency/partnership with the University of Michigan; RSC America - American Board launched
  • 2002 Michael Boyd appointed as Artistic Director


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