Michael Attenborough has announced he will step down as Artistic Director of the Almeida theatre next spring, after an 11 year tenure at the helm of the acclaimed venue, in order to concentrate fully on directing.
Describing his years at the Angel venue as “consistently thrilling and rewarding,” Attenborough paid tribute to the theatre’s staff, saying: “I would like to place on record my immense gratitude to the superb staff at the Almeida, all of whom have played an integral part in everything we have achieved. Whoever succeeds me will find themselves blessed with a wonderful and unique theatre space, a hugely loyal audience and a Board and Staff that are second to none.”
Attenborough’s acclaimed career at the Almeida has seen an eclectic programme of work from Shakespearean classics, including his current production of King Lear, to new writing, which has included 32 premieres all tackling critical issues of our times, grace the theatre’s stage. His tenure has also seen the venue stage ten new versions of foreign plans, programme four festivals and establish Almeida Projects, a creative programme dedicated to involving young people with the theatre.
The director’s own acclaimed productions at the venue have included Filumena, Reasons To Be Pretty, Through A Glass Darkly, In A Dark Dark House, When The Rain Stops Falling and The Homecoming, while his tenure has also featured numerous other critically revered productions including The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, Becky Shaw and Duet For One.
As well as boasting four West End transfers and one Broadway run, Attenborough has also consistently attracted a starry selection of theatrical greats and exciting newcomers to the venue. Actors to grace the stage during his time at the theatre have included current King Lear star Jonathan Pryce, Juliet Stevenson, Henry Goodman, Ruth Wilson, Billie Piper, David Morrissey, Samantha Spiro and Lisa Dillon.
Attenborough, who was born into a theatrical dynasty with his parents, Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim, both respected actors, has worked at many theatre establishments during his long career, running Hampstead theatre from 1984 to 1989 and coming to the Almeida in 2002 following two years as Principal Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. During his time at the Almeida he has also been awarded two Honorary Doctorates and in April was presented with the Award for Excellence in International Theatre by the International Theatre Institute.
Christopher Rodrigues CBE, Chair of the Almeida Theatre Board, said: “It has been a privilege for all of us to work with Michael Attenborough. He has taken the Almeida from strength to strength locally, nationally and internationally by presenting a truly diverse programme of work of which we are all immeasurably proud. Michael has established the Almeida as a powerhouse of British theatre and secured its financial condition. We count ourselves immensely fortunate to have benefitted from his leadership for over a decade and wish him every success in his future directorial career. Our challenge now is to secure a worthy successor for one of the most exciting roles in British theatre.”