So, Nicholas Hytner is to step down as director of the National Theatre at the end of March 2015. How canny of Lloyd Evans to review his ten-year reign on the South Bank in The Spectator arts pages on 6 April, the week before his official announcement. Lloyd wrote:
‘Artistic freedom has been the hallmark of his ten-year stewardship….No one guessed how bold Hytner would be. He took the presiding spirit of the theatre, as embodied in its ponderous title, and chucked it in the Thames. Instead of running a museum of official art he created a showcase for his personal inclinations. The National Theatre of Hytner. An astonishing risk.
‘And no one noticed how hazardous it was simply because he pulled it off with such aplomb…..It’s tempting to conclude that if Hytner’s reign had been anything less than triumphant, he’d have been condemned as a raving megalomaniac. He may in fact be exactly that. But a good one.’
I don’t think there will be a better review of his time at the National Theatre — I reckon even Hytner might agree.
Liz Anderson is arts editor of The SpectatorTags: Lloyd Evans, National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner