After a decade of being Artistic Director, Vicky Featherstone has confirmed she will step down from the position later this year when a new Artistic Director has been found and taken up the post.
Talking about the news, Vicky Featherstone said: “Being Artistic Director of the Royal Court is one of best jobs in the world – creating something over ten years with the most dedicated, passionate and thoughtful people throughout every single area of the organisation – from stage door to the board and the donors – with the actors, other artists and freelancers who bring all of themselves to make incredible plays happen, and of course having the ultimate privilege of being in daily conversations with visionary, transformational writers. I would do it forever if I could. And although I am usually the last one to leave the party, it’s time for me to hand over the guardianship of this extraordinary, enduring mission to someone else. When I started this job in 2013 I set myself a time limit of ten years, and I am holding myself to that. There are no words for how life-changing, challenging, invigorating and complex this job is, and like everyone who has ever done this role here, it is forever part of my DNA. The search for the next person to take the helm starts now – recruitment for the post will begin in late February and in true Royal Court tradition, I will not leave until the new Artistic Director has begun. I hope this announcement sets fires alight in the bellies of those who can create the future for theatre and I am so excited to see where we will go next. I’ve been an Artistic Director and CEO since 1997, first at Paines Plough and then the National Theatre of Scotland, and now here at the Royal Court for a full decade. I have no concrete plans as to what I will do next. Top of the list is to make an appointment at the dentist. Basically I’m releasing myself back into the wild…”
She started her tenure in 2013 and began with a six week festival which included 133 performances and over 40 new plays and found new collaborative ways of working across the building. Since then under her careful watch, the theatre has supported over 600 writers through the writer development programmes and groups and commissioned and premiered work from writers aged 8-80 across five continents, many of whom were first time writers. These writers include: Abi Morgan, Zinnie Harris ZoÃ, Simon Stephens and Lucy Kirkwood.
Under her tenure, the theatre has welcomed schools, poets, scientists, journalists, beat-boxers, drag artists and students amongst many others to their stages since 2013. The work has travelled from the Royal Court’s two home stages to the West End, Broadway and off-Broadway, Edinburgh International, Manchester International and WOW Festivals, on national and international tours as well as in partnership online and on screen with the BBC, the Financial Times and the Guardian and the theatre’s own digital platform.
The next season of work at the Royal Court, including Vicky’s final production, will be announced in March.