'Witty, waspish, and extraordinarily wise.' Sam Mendes
Nicholas Hytner was director of the National Theatre from 2003 to 2015, where he directed plays by - among many others - Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Alan Bennett and Richard Bean and produced more than two hundred different shows. He brought in a new community of artists, introduced National Theatre Live cinema broadcasts around the world, and established e10 ticket seasons which - by radically reducing ticket prices - filled the National with large new audiences. Before running the National, he worked widely in the West End and on Broadway; and in opera - in London, Paris, Munich and New York. His films include The Madness of King George, The History Boys, The Lady in the Van, and The Crucible with Daniel Day-Lewis. The Bridge Theatre, the London home of the new company he has formed with Nick Starr, opens in 2017.
A tremendous book about life in the theatre - and theatre, and
life. Honest, shrewd and heartfelt. A classic of its kind. --
Witty, waspish, and extraordinarily wise, it comes as no surprise to discover that Nick Hytner is every bit as good a writer as he is a director. Part fascinating memoir, part brilliant guidebook, Balancing Acts is also a record of how one man challenged and changed the way theatre is perceived in the UK, and with a few brilliant strokes - GBP10 tickets, live cinema broadcasts, and a dazzlingly inventive and brilliant repertory - created the first great theatre of the twenty-first century. For his description of what went into that quiet revolution, and for many other reasons, this wonderful book is essential reading. -- Sam Mendes
As the record of a great theatre dealing fully and richly with the past and finding new ways of holding a glass up to the present, it's incomparably interesting... This book is immensely readable, full of vivid anecdotes, and rich with an intimate understanding of drama both classic and modern. I loved it, and I'm sure it will do very well. -- Philip Pullman
Nicholas Hytner gives a riveting account of his time at the National Theatre. "Nothing makes me happier" he writes "than to throw a party and sit on the edge of it." It was a party, often a triumphant one, but he was at the heart of it. As was someone else: Shakespeare, about whom he writes superbly. Speaking for myself I've never had so much fun as working with Nicholas Hytner. This lovely book explains why. -- Alan Bennett
Witty and entertaining, [Hytner] has an ability to be serious without being portentous, and he's able to tell a good story ... Balancing Acts is both history and illumination ... You don't have to be interested in theatre or even in culture to enjoy this book ... But if you do happen to be interested in one of the few organisations in Britain that actually achieves what it's supposed to ... then you'll be delighted. What's more, in the account of Hytner's directing at least six Shakespeare plays ... you'll find yourself given a masterclass. -- Richard Eyre * Evening Standard *