Nicholas Hytner is a film director, film producer and theatre director, who was born in Manchester in 1956. In an interview with Andrew Dickens for The Guardian Hytner has described his childhood as having been brought up in “a typical Jewish, cultured family” (2010).
He studied English at Trinity College in Cambridge and first worked as an assistant to Colin Graham at the English National Opera. He began his work for the theatre by directing an adaptation of Tom Jones and a musical version of Alice in Wonderland. In 1985, he worked as an associate director at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. In 1989, he directed the hugely successful play Miss Saigon (1989). Following this success, he worked as an associate director for the National Theatre. In 2003, Hytner followed Trevor Nunn to become the artistic director of the National Theatre. During his time at the National Theatre, Hytner not only directed a number of highly successful plays such as The History Boys (2004) or One Man, Two Guvnors (2011), he also ensured the development of the theatre through the growth of modern technologies and social change. He innovated Sunday openings as well as a season of reduced price tickets. In 2013, Hytner announced that he would resign as director of the National Theatre by the end of March 2015. Together with Nick Starr, with whom he ran the National Theatre, Hytner established the purpose-build Bridge Theatre in 2017. In May 2019, Hytner and Starr announced that they will open a new theatre in King’s Cross. The adaptable auditorium will be based on the Bridge Theatre, and the programme will similarly include new writing as well as revivals of classic plays. The theatre is due to open in 2021.
Hytner has received numerous accolades and awards. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Royal Opera House and was appointed an honorary fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge University in 2005. Hytner received a knighthood in 2010 for his contributions to drama.