Few of the National Theatre’s leaders have made such an impact as Nicholas Hytner, its artistic director from 2003 to 2015. His insistence on aiming for capacity audiences and sponsorship to make tickets cheaper was one revolution. Others – also to the credit of the National Theatre’s chief executive, Nick Starr – were NT Live, which saw the live broadcast of plays in cinemas, and transfers and tours making serious money. Yet in many ways Hytner is a traditional producer-director: for all his scholarship, he is a showman with a taste for big casts and big stages, eschewing black-box preciousness and admitting at times to ‘an inner voice that says “booooring!”’ In an early, daringly raunchy staging of Jerry Springer: The Opera, he approvingly cited the compere’s stamping introduction: ‘Have yourself a good time!’
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'"Dutch Light" roots its subject in his local environment, explaining, for example, how an abundance of sand for making glass led naturally to a thriving business in optical instruments in Holland.'
Patricia Fara on the life & work of Christiaan Huygens.
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'We may not be able to shield ourselves from irrational passions such as hatred, anger, envy, mockery and pride, or from the buffetings of circumstance, but we can rise above them by obtaining insight into their nature and their causes.'