It has been announcd today that Adrian Noble, is to stand down as Artistic Director of The RSC from the end of March 2003, after 12 years in the job.

Noble has been under a lot of pressure with criticism of his new plans of deserting the RSC's London base, at the Barbican and the proposed demolition of The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon and a creation of a "theatrical village".

Full press Release below:....

Adrian Noble, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, announced today (24 April 2002) that he will not be renewing his contract when it expires at the end of March 2003.

Adrian Noble said:

"It has been an enormous privilege for me to lead this wonderful organisation since 1991. After 22 years with the Company it is now time for me to seek new artistic challenges. It is helpful for everyone involved with the RSC that there is clarity about my plans, and I informed our Chairman Lord Alexander of my decision on Monday morning.

"The toughest elements of the renewal programme we announced last year have now been delivered. The foundations of our new operating model and organisation are now in place. We have maintained the repertoire ensemble as the heart of the Company while offering a much wider range of opportunity to actors at all points in their career. We have a new relationship with the Barbican. The first Academy Company has been assembled. We have just announced our second North American residency. We are actively formulating our plans for the redevelopment of our Stratford theatres.

"Our changes have already released huge creativity. The residency at the Roundhouse is now under way and there are the excellent new productions opening in Stratford and London this week".

Adrian concluded:

"I have been blessed with superb colleagues throughout the RSC, as well as highly supportive governing bodies. I look forward to continuing to deliver our ambitious programme - both on the stage and off it - during my remaining year with the Company".

Commenting on the announcement, Lord Alexander, Chairman of the RSC's Board of Governors said:

"It obviously is Adrian's decision that next Spring is the right time to move on from the RSC and that this is the right time to make it known.

"Adrian Noble has made an outstanding contribution to the RSC over the last 22 years and in particular since 1991 when he became Artistic Director. He is a most accomplished director of classical drama and his artistic leadership has brought new artists and audiences to our work - maintaining the Company's radical edge in interpretation of classics and also in developing new work.

"With the Board, Adrian played a crucial part in building the RSC's plans for renewal announced in May last year. He is also heavily involved in our project to redevelop our theatres in Stratford. We will continue work on both fronts to ensure that the RSC remains attractive to artists and audiences and enjoys outstanding performance spaces in its Stratford home. We look forward to building on these ideas.

"The artistic programme in Britain and abroad is now set for the year up to Adrian's departure. He will of course remain fully engaged through this period: directing PERICLES for the Roundhouse and Stratford; reviving his own production of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE in Stratford at Christmas; and directing Ralph Fiennes in a new production of Ibsen's BRAND next Spring.

"As Chairman, I will be leading a group made up of Board members and the Managing Director, Chris Foy, to begin the process of appointing a new Artistic Director in good time for planning the programme from the summer of 2003 onwards." [ends]

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