From London, National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner talks about his tenure leading that influential institution, including whether, as some have said, it was always his career goal; why he thrives on the need to embrace a general audience for the organization's survival; the impact of the £10 (now £12) Travelex season on the company and why he prefers to work under the budgetary rigor it imposes on the theatre's staff; his commitment to seeing new, "muscular" work by young playwrights on the National's large stages; and his assessment of the success of the NT Live screenings of the National's stage productions in international cinemas. He also talks about growing up in Manchester and later returning there as artistic associate of the Royal Exchange Theatre; his apprenticeship under great directors at a time when there was little director training in England -- and his bad early work in regional rep companies; why he thinks the British "megamusicals" are actually popular opera in the European tradition -- and how the "completely crazy" idea of "Miss Saigon" appealed to him; the pleasure he took in directing "The Wind in the Willows" at the National and how it began his ongoing collaboration with playwright Alan Bennett, including "The History Boys" and "The Habit of Art", which he considers the most important feature of his directing career; what drew him to "Carousel" and how it ushered in the British era of reexamining the musicals from Broadway's Golden Age; why he thinks the musical of "Sweet Smell of Success" is deserving of rediscovery; and why the National's production of "His Dark Materials" will never transfer to a commercial run and how he would do that enormous hit differently if he had the chance to do it over again. Original air date - April 6, 2011.
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