The National Theatre of Scotland has chosen another non-Scot as its second artistic director. Laurie Sansom, currently artistic director of the Royal and Derngate theatre in Northampton, will take over when Vicky Featherstone, the NTS’ first leader, leaves at the end of December to join the Royal Court in London.
Sansom, 40, who took over the Royal and Derngate from the much feted Rupert Goold, has taken it to become regional theatre of the year in 2010 in the annual awards run by The Stage newspaper.
Before Northampton, he was Alan Ayckbourn’s Associate Director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough for four years where he developed and directed over 20 new plays.
Although relatively unknown in Scotland (he has brought shows to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe but never worked here in any other sense) he is highly regarded south of the Border. He has been invited to direct at the Royal National Theatre in London and also seen his productions from Northampton transfer to the capital.
Richard Findlay, the chairman of the NTS (and also of STV plc) commented: “The Board was unanimous in its selection of Laurie from a strong field of candidates. The net was spread across the UK and overseas so we had a wide and highly-talented field to choose from. The baton that Laurie receives from Vicky Featherstone is one that is richly endowed…. and I have little doubt that in his first full season he will surprise and delight us all.”
Sansom himself added: “It is a thrilling challenge to lead the National Theatre of Scotland through the next stage of its development. I am looking forward to working with the many artists, companies and venues producing ground-breaking work throughout [Scotland], and confirming [it] as the most exciting place to make and experience theatre in the UK.