Laurie Sansom, currently artistic director of Royal and Derngate in Northampton, has been appointed to lead the National Theatre of Scotland.
Sansom will succeed NTS founding artistic director Vicky Featherstone in March 2013. Featherstone is moving to London’s Royal Court Theatre in December.
Under Sansom’s tenure, the Royal and Derngate won The Stage’s inaugural regional theatre of the year award at the 2010 Stage 100 Awards.
Sansom told The Stage: “It is a bit of a dream, really, for a director and a programmer. The ‘theatre without walls’ policy means it is operating at so many different levels, from small development pieces to large scale community work, productions in major theatres, to international tours.
“Vicky [Featherstone] has done a fantastic job raising the reputation of the company, which is so good, and also putting new work right at the heart of what the company is. In some ways it is a daunting baton to be passed, but it is also a brilliant starting point to let the company grow even further.”
He moved to Northampton in 2006 and carved out a strong track record as a director and programmer. His pairing of rare Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill plays won the TMA’s best director award and transferred to the National Theatre. He had previously spent four years as Alan Ayckbourn’s associate director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, where he developed and directed more than 20 new plays.
Sansom said his time in Northampton will influence the new post. He added: “It is about facilitating the artists to follow what their artistic ambition is – giving them the resources and the support to be able to do it. I really believe in harnessing what artists are passionate about saying and how they want to say it.”
Featherstone recently announced a programme of work for the NTS which will take the company up until October 2013. Sansom pointed out that this will give him time to work out his ongoing plans.
He said: “It will be a good six months before we announce our 2014 programme. I am starting in March so it gives me plenty of time to talk to Scottish artists and the people who are running the various companies.”