Artistic Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris met with invited guests this week at the Theatre Royal Bath to talk about the touring production of Macbeth and his vision and passion. I was present and captured both his talk and an interview with Norris.
Rufus Norris was born in 1965 and spent his childhood in Africa and Malaysia. Educated at North Bromsgrove High School and Kidderminster College of Further Education, he trained at RADA and was an actor for several years before turning to directing. He became director of the National Theatre in April 2015, having been an associate Director at the National Theatre since 2011.
For the National, he has directed Macbeth, Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood, My Country; a work in progress in a collaboration with Carole Ann Duffy, Brecht and Weil’s The Threepenny Opera, wonder.land, Everyman in a new adaptation by Carol Ann Duffy (Olivier Theatre, 2015), Behind the Beautiful Forevers by David Hare based on the book by Katherine Boo (Olivier Theatre, November 2015), The Amen Corner by James Baldwin (Olivier Theatre, 2013), Table by Tanya Ronder (The Shed, 2013), London Road by Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork (Cottesloe Theatre 2011, Olivier Theatre 2012), Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka (Olivier Theatre, 2009) and Market Boy by David Eldridge (Olivier Theatre, 2006).
His production of wonder.land, a new musical inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, which he co-created with Damon Albarn and Moira Buffini, with music by Damon Albarn and book and lyrics by Moira Buffini, opened at the National Theatre in December 2015 (having premiered at the Manchester International Festival earlier in the year).
He was an associate director at the Young Vic from 2002 to 2007, where he has directed Feast by Yunior García Aguilera, Rotimi Babatunde, Marcos Barbosa, Tanya Barfield and Gbolahan Obisesan (2013), Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre, adapted by Tanya Ronder (2009 & 2011), Herge’s Adventures of Tintin which he adapted with David Greig (Barbican 2005, UK tour and West End 2007), his own adaptation of Sleeping Beauty (Young Vic 2002, Barbican 2004, UK and international tour); Peribanez by Lope da Vega, in a version by Tanya Ronder (2003) and Afore Night Come by David Rudkin (2001: Evening Standard Best Newcomer Award).
Other work has included: Cabaret (Lyric Theatre 2006, Savoy Theatre 2012, also on tour 2013); Clifford Odets’ The Country Girl (Apollo Theatre and tour 2010); Les Liasons Dangereuses (Broadway, 2008: five Tony nominations); Festen, adapted by David Eldridge (Almeida 2004 and subsequently in the West End, on tour and on Broadway: Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director) and Blood Wedding (Almeida 2004).
Rufus Norris in Rehearsal
His earlier work included Dirty Butterfly and Two Women by debbie tucker green (Soho Theatre, 2003 & 2000 respectively), Small Change by Peter Gill (Sheffield Crucible, 2002), Tall Stories (Battersea Arts Centre and Vienna Festival, 2002), Shakespeare’s The Tempest and The Lizzie Play by Deidre Strath (Arts Threshold, 2002), Sea Tongue (Huddersfield Contemporary Festival 2001), Under the Blue Sky by David Eldridge (Royal Court, 2000), My Dad’s Cornershop by Ray Grewal (Birmingham Rep, 2000), Mish Alla Ruman (Al Kasaba Theatre, Palestine) About the Boy by Ed Hime and Clubbed Out by Ezra Elia (Royal Court 1998). He was director of Arts Threshold from 1993 – 95, and of Wink Productions from 1995 – 2000.
Opera includes Doctor Dee, which he co-created with Damon Albarn (Manchester International Festival, 2011 and ENO, 2012), and Don Giovanni (ENO, 2010).
Rufus Norris’ debut feature film Broken premiered at Cannes in 2012 and won Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards in 2013. His feature film adaptation of London Road was released in the UK in June 2015 and played at the Toronto and San Sebastian Film Festivals.
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Rufus Norris talks about Macbeth
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