|Birth Day:||May 7, 1956|
|Birth Place:||Manchester, England, United Kingdom|
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Hytner was born in the prosperous suburbs of south Manchester in 1956, to barrister Benet Hytner and his wife, Joyce. He is the eldest child of four, and has described his upbringing as being in "a typical Jewish, cultured family".
After leaving Cambridge, Hytner's first "proper paid job" was as assistant to Colin Graham at English National Opera. Some of his earliest professional directing work was in opera, including at Kent Opera, Wexford Festival Opera and a production of Rienzi at English National Opera. His first theatre productions were at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter. He then directed a series of productions at the Leeds Playhouse, including The Ruling Class by Peter Barnes, an adaptation of Tom Jones and a musical version of Alice in Wonderland. In 1985 he became an Associate Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, a position he retained until 1989.
Hytner's London production of Miss Saigon opened on 20 September 1989, and closed on 30 October 1999 after just over ten years, on its 4,274th performance, having grossed more than £150 million in ticket sales during its London run. Hytner also directed the New York production, where the show recouped its $10.9m investment in 39 weeks. The show, at New York's Broadway Theatre, opened on 11 April 1991 and closed on 28 January 2001 after 4,092 performances.
What Hytner did was to continue directing theatre and opera, including several productions at London's National Theatre (where he had first directed in 1989 with Ghetto). In 1990, he was appointed an Associate Director of the National by its then-Director Richard Eyre. One of the plays he directed was Alan Bennett's The Madness of George III. When a film adaptation was commissioned, Bennett insisted Hytner should direct it, and the retitled The Madness of King George (1994) became Hytner's film debut.
In 1994, Eyre announced he would be leaving the National Theatre in three years' time. "[It] made me begin to think about the vision that is needed in such a position and the fact that this needs refreshing under every directorate. I very much felt that you had to have a big idea in order to put yourself forward for such a role and as I didn't have this kind of idea at that time, I decided not to apply," Hytner said later. He continued as an Associate Director at the National until 1997, when the new Director, Trevor Nunn, took up his post.
When Trevor Nunn announced that he would be leaving the National Theatre, Hytner "really felt that this time I had a strong sense of what the NT should be doing under a new Director. I had a long conversation with Christopher Hogg, then Chairman of the NT Board, and Tom Stoppard about my ideas for the NT's future. These included a redefinition of how it might be possible to use the theatre spaces and opening up the NT to new audiences by lowering prices for some performances." Hytner was successful in his application for the post, and his appointment as Director was announced in September 2001. He took over from Nunn in April 2003.
Under Hytner's directorship, the National has innovated with Sunday openings, live cinema broadcasts of NT plays around the world, National Theatre Live, and with its reduced price ticket seasons. These seasons, sponsored by Travelex, have offered large numbers of reduced price seats (for £10 when the scheme was introduced in 2003, with prices rising to £12 from 2011). The reduced price seasons were credited with achieving high usage for the Olivier auditorium – between 90% and 100% full during the summer months compared to a historic average of 65%, with no loss in overall income, and with encouraging a younger and more diverse audience. In 2003 it was reported that one third of the audience for the multiracial production of Henry V in modern dress (directed by Hytner) had never been to the theatre before, and that a large section of the audience for the drama Elmina's Kitchen were black east Londoners new to the National.
He was elected an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 2005, and was Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University in 2000–01.
Hytner was on a percentage for both London and New York productions, allowing him (then aged 34) to never need worry about money again. "It was a huge– a massive stroke of fortune," he said in 2010. "It meant that thereafter I only needed to do what I wanted to do."
Hytner was knighted in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to drama.
Hytner is gay. Although brought up in a Jewish household, Hytner said in 2010, "I'm not a believer, but I do think it is a significant part of my adventure and it fascinates me. I couldn't say I'm a member of the Jewish community or gay community in that I don't seek out either of those communities to hang out with, but it is an important part of who I believe myself to [be]."
Hytner stated as early as 2010 that he did not wish to stay as head of the National indefinitely, saying, "I've been here seven years. My predecessors have averaged 12. It's important that someone else comes in and shakes it up again so I won't be here in 10 years, that's for sure." In April 2013, he announced that he would step down as Director of the National Theatre at the end of March 2015. In his role as Director of National Theatre, he appeared on the Cultural Exchange as part of the Radio Four programme Front Row, where he chose The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart as his work of art.
In Spring 2014, the Royal Northern College of Music announced it was to confer Honorary Membership of the College upon Hytner.
In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Arts.
Currently, Nicholas Hytner is 65 years, 8 months and 19 days old. Nicholas Hytner will celebrate 66th birthday on a Saturday 7th of May 2022.
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