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Royal Court names first female Artistic Director

Published 11 May 2012

National Theatre of Scotland’s Vicky Featherstone will succeed Dominic Cooke as Artistic Director of the Royal Court when he steps down in April 2013.

In doing so she becomes the first woman to lead the influential new writing venue in its 56-year history.

Speaking about the appointment, Anthony Burton, Chairman of the Board for the English Stage Company, which runs the Royal Court, said: “Vicky dazzled the selection panel with her vision and inspiration and the English Stage Company Board was left in no doubt that she should lead the Royal Court and take it forward into its next exciting phase.”

Featherstone has been at the head of the National Theatre of Scotland since the company was founded in 2006, helping the company make an immediate impact with productions including the TMA Award-winning shows The Wolves In The Walls and The Wonderful World Of Dissocia, Fringe First winners Beautiful Burnout and The Wheel, and the universally acclaimed, multi award-winning Black Watch.

Before leading National Theatre of Scotland, Featherstone was Artistic Director of Paines Plough, where she staged the work of playwrights including Enda Walsh, David Greig, Abi Morgan and Sarah Kane.

Featherstone commented: “Under the brilliant leadership of Dominic Cooke the Royal Court theatre has achieved phenomenal success and it is a great honour and privilege to be taking over from him as Artistic Director.

“In its tireless championing of the playwright as the centre of the creative process the Royal Court has created the environment for some of our greatest and bravest thinkers and talents to emerge. My entire understanding of and belief in theatre is predicated on the playwright. It is the playwrights who find story, form and structure in the most unlikely yet inspiring places and who breathe the life into ideas, thus demanding their urgent work be realised for an audience.

“I am thrilled to be able to take the Royal Court on the next stage of its precious and brilliant journey.”

Outgoing Artistic Director Cooke added: “I couldn’t be happier with Vicky’s appointment and am really pleased to be able to hand over the company to such a brilliant and inspiring director. Vicky has an outstanding record of bold programming at Paines Plough and National Theatre of Scotland and I look forward to seeing where she takes the company next.”

Cooke has much to do before he leaves the Sloane Square venue next spring. His currently programmed season – which includes Love Love Love, Birthday, Belong, The Witness and Ten Billion – runs until the end of the summer, but that leaves the autumn and spring to be programmed before Cooke hangs up his Artistic Director’s hat after six years.

“I am thrilled to be able to take the Royal Court on the next stage of its precious and brilliant journey.”

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