Theatre News: Rufus Norris Speaks To i News About Theatre And Its Class Problem


The Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, has expressed his concerns that theatre is becoming more exclusionary. 

In an interview with i News, he voiced his fears about “losing part of a generation, and a really, really important part.”

400 National Theatre staff members are being made redundant, which Norris acknowledges as “really lousy.” He hopes that the government pledge of £1.57 billion to the arts industry will stimulate activity, but also explained that this funding must be “followed up with a longer-term commitment.” He said “there’s an awful danger that the only people who can survive [working in theatre] are the people who can afford to.”

Approximately 70% of the theatre industry is made up of freelancers, many of whom will not directly benefit from this money. Norris notes that more needs to be done “to break down the age-old class differences.”

The National is reopening next month with Death of England: Delroy, which will be followed by a Christmas pantomime production of Dick Whittington, all with socially distanced audiences. The beloved NT at home is also making a return, after a rethink on how it can be used to help artists.

Words by Roni Mevorach.

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