The theatre world is abuzz with rumours that Michael Boyd, director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has quit this afternoon. He was appointed in July 2002 and was expected to complete at least a
decade in charge. His colleague Vikki Heywood is also expected to resign.
Boyd will probably be best remembered for overseeing the enormous refit of the main theatre in Stratford. The renovated
space, with its thrust stage, opened its doors in November 2010 and has been judged a huge success.
Boyd has also shown himself adept at the do-gooding jargon of top public officials. He talks of the Bard’s new home in Stratford as if it were a drop-in centre for junkies. He describes it as
‘a chance to build a contingent, optimistic community.’
As a director of Shakespeare’s work Boyd’s record is solid if not quite dazzling. And during his tenure, the RSC has sponsored a vast programme of new writing which has proved
consistently lamentable. A typical RSC ‘new play’ will involve a grand theme, a socking great budget and an audience slithering into a coma.
Even now the Company has ‘between 30 and 40’ writers creating original plays. A mass cull of these fruitless quills would be an excellent place for his successor to start.
UPDATE: The RSC has now confirmed Michael Boyd’s departure.
Lloyd Evans is theatre critic for The Spectator.