I think he's a better director than a producer or administrator. Some people can run buildings and maintain an artistic high standard ( Hytner, Grandage, Kent, Mendes, Daniel Evans) but some can't. It's a difficult balancing act. I think he's in over his head and as an artist he doesn't know how to say no to his colleagues when he should ( Salome, Common, Wonderland) . It's a hard job and I just think he's in over his head.
His own work of late really not successful. Three penny Opera really flat and slow. My Country a disaster. Wonderland the musical a flop if ever there was one.
No sign of return visits or long term relationships for Robert Icke or Carrie Cracknell or Katie Mitchell who really should be his associates in the way Eyre brought in Complicite and LePage to keep the RNT on the cutting edge of things.
Allowing Marianne Elliot to leave, and not employing Longhurst or Icke or anyone likely to create a commercial hit to match War Horse or Curious (both of which have now shuttered).
Firing Howard Davies whose name was synonymous with the sort of quality they now can't produce. And instead letting Simon Godwin and Jeremy Herrin do flat show after flat show, while ticket prices rise to crazily expensive levels. £75 in the Lyttelton?
I'm old enough to remember bits of Hall, and all of Eyre, Nunn and Hytner and I've never seen the NT in worse nick.
He doesn't have to collect the rubbish and change the light bulbs. I thought the executive director did all the building management. So surely all..and I'm being devilishly provocative here...ALL he has to do is get a few people together to work out a nice programme of work to put on. And he can choose something for himself to direct.
He's not a showman. (No eye for the simple crowd pleaser. He's revived Amadeus but I bet he wouldn't have staged it originally). Previous NT directors were (except Eyre maybe). He was wrong for the job, he should have taken over the Almeida and Goold should have got the NT. Norris only programs stuff that people like himself like, the others (and Hytner admitted it) programmed stuff that they personally disliked but others liked. As a result the NT is less diverse in its programming - I've virtually stopped going and I am in a sizeable (and affluent) section of the potential audience - just chucking me one Shakespeare a year from the most frequently performed list isn't good enough.
One good point above - we know for a fact that on occasion Hall, Nunn, Eyre and Hytner either killed a dud production prior to opening or went in and virtually took it over themselves. I wonder if Norris is maybe just too nice to do that and has let the recent series of flops go on unchanged.
I also have a theory that he doesn't like other talented people. Hall had the best set of associates imaginable for that time: Pinter, Jonathan Miller, Blakemore etc.
Eyre brought in Deborah Warner and McBurney and LePage, as well as making Hytner his associate (among others).
Norris lost the much respected Tessa Ross in weeks, rumoured to be because he wouldn't let her be involved in matters artistic, where she is undeniably gifted if you look at her film work. No associate appointments with any ability to get work onto the main stages. And all the talent is elsewhere.
His director associates should be feeding that building and they aren't, but then they aren't the right picks.
Dominic Cooke (brilliant Ma Rainey, nothing since) Nadia Fall (dreary) Simon Godwin (dull) Tom Morris (no shows at all since Norris arrived) Lyndsey Turner (makes her best work at the Donmar and the Almeida)
The Court this season had Mitchell, Tiffany, McBurney, Debbie tucker green and Sam Mendes.
The Almeida has Icke and Goold on repeat visits, plus Lyndsey turner, Cracknell, Sacha Wares, and Ian Rickson and Richard Jones still to come.
Hardly any of the above names have worked at the Norris NT in recent months, and I think, other than Turner doing the new Rory Mullarkey play, they aren't presently lined up to.
It isn't that there isn't talent out there at the moment. It's that either Norris doesn't want it in the building or it doesn't want to work with Norris. The smell of panic is a real turn off.
Imagine if he made Cracknell and Icke and Sacha Wares associates and they each did a show a year in each of the big theatre's. That's the real problem with the Norris NT. He's threatened by the talent.
If nobody else joins this thread I might change the title to Old Grumps' symposium.
Norris does seem to have alienated quite a wide range of theatregoers though. Our chum HG has tastes almost diametrically opposed to me and yet he too disapproves of Norris (for his fixation with all things American in his case).
On the point above about him disliking other talented people, I hadn't thought of that - I'd been too busy making exactly that case against Greg Doran.
I've ranted about the NT on many occasions. Not heard about Norris being afraid of the talent before. I guess it is difficult to work there for many reasons.
Yes. Nunn was a one-man show not entirely through choice, he offered associate director status to lots of directors and they all turned him down, many didn't like the two big stages. That's why if you have someone good like Howard Davies who actually likes working there you should keep them.