Ever since Rufus Norris declared he was stepping down as artistic director of the National Theatre earlier this year, speculation has been rampant as to who might succeed him.
However, despite various wildcard bets and suggestions from the NT that it might be open to new models of leadership, there has been a pretty clear favourite for the role the entire time.
Outgoing Kiln Theatre artistic director Indhu Rubasingham will follow in the footsteps of Norris, Nicholas Hytner, Trevor Nunn, Richard Eyre, Peter Hall and Laurence Olivier to lead the NT: she will take over in spring 2025 after a lengthy handover period that will see her join as director designate from spring 2024.
Rubasingham is the obvious fit for a number of reasons, not least that it had been widely felt that it was time for the NT to take a break from its hitherto continuous 60-year run of being run by white men.
However, that’s clearly not why she’s got the job. She’s an experienced artistic director, having led Kiln since 2012 in a well-regarded tenure that has, nonetheless, seen her rise to several significant challenges, including leading the theatre through a major rebuild project.
Her tastes as artistic director have been broad and eclectic – an important quality to run the National. And she’s also directed a whole bunch of plays at the NT, in various genres, across its three theatres. Plus, being in her fifties she’s something of a steadying elder stateswoman in a theatrical landscape in which a lot of directors tend to run buildings while relatively young – typically in their thirties.
All in all, she was the obvious candidate for the job, and she’s got the job, and we heartily congratulate her for getting the job!