MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH HAS BEEN NAMED AS THE NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE ALMEIDA THEATRE


MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH HAS BEEN NAMED AS THE NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE ALMEIDA THEATRE

Michael Attenborough, son of Lord Attenborough, has been named as the new artistic director of the Almedia Theatre. The 51-year-old succeeds Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid who announced their resignation in last September. Attenborough will take over from July 2002 for 3 years in the first instance, commencing with planning the Almeida's opening season at its refurbished space in Islington early Spring 2003.

Rick Haythornthwaite, Chairman of the Almeida Theatre Company Board said : "As Chairman of the Almeida Theatre I am delighted to announce the Board's appointment of Michael Attenborough as the Almeida's new Artistic Director. He brings to the post an outstanding track record as both producer and director, and a widely demonstrated commitment to theatre artists and practitioners. I am most grateful to our Selection Committee - Nicholas Berwin, Garry Hart, Michael Hoffman, Thelma Holt, Dame Diana Rigg and Sir John Tooley - for their help and advice in securing this exciting new appointment."

Previously artistic director of the Hampstead Theatre and Watford's Palace Theatre, Attenborough has also acted as associate director at the Young Vic and at Colchester's Mercury Theatre. Michael Attenborough said: I am really thrilled to be taking over as Director of the Almeida Theatre. It's a completely unique space, arguably the most exciting in London. Jonathan and Ian's track record is an inspiration. This appointment brings together beautifully the key strands of my work to this point - once again, running a theatre, directing Shakespeare, other classical plays and new writing. I truly can't imagine a more exciting challenge."

Michael Attenborough was educated at Westminster School and Sussex University where he read English and was President of the University Drama Society.

After graduating in 1972 he became Assistant Director at the Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton. Between 1972 - 74 he was Associate Director of the Mercury Theatre, Colchester before moving on to Leeds Playhouse as Associate Director.

In 1979 he became Associate Director of the Young Vic with Michael Bogdanov. In 1980 he became Artistic Director of the Palace Theatre, Watford. He was Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre between 1984 and 1989 and then became Artistic Director of the Turnstyle Group.

In 1990 he was appointed Executive Producer and Resident Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In January 1996 he became Principal Associate Director. Most recently his work has included: Mike Cullen's new play Anna Weiss at the Whitehall Theatre in the West End (1999), Henry IV Parts One and Two at the Swan Theatre (2000) which later transferred to the Barbican (2001) and David Edgar’s new play, The Prisoner’s Dilemma which opened at The Other Place in Stratford in 2001 and transfers to the Barbican later this month.

Michael Attenborough is currently rehearsing Antony and Cleopatra to open at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in April 2002.

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