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Backstage profile: Paul Arditti

Paul Arditti Paul Arditti
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Recently, sound design seems to have entered a new era, with greater use of binaural techniques in recording and reproduction and the increasing overlap between composers and sound designers in the creation of a soundscape. It is all the more peculiar, therefore, that recently sound designers have had to fight to be recognised at some awards ceremonies where sound design has been dropped as a category.

It is timely, then, that Rufus Norris has appointed Paul Arditti as an associate director of London’s National Theatre. The small team of associates have key influence over the artistic policy of the National Theatre, from the commissioning of work to the operation of the building, and have predominantly been actors and directors. This is the first time a sound designer has been appointed.

Artitti’s appointment is a reflection of the increasing significance of sound and sound design as having an integral artistic contribution to productions. As Norris has noted: “Paul Arditti is a theatremaker first and a sound designer second. Sound design is increasingly a hugely complex and integrated part of our theatre language. To have that voice at the table will be invaluable.”

When announcing the appointment, Norris said: “His massive wealth of experience of theatre generally, and exacting pursuit of excellence in his chosen field, make Paul a terrific addition to our team. As with all our associates, he will contribute to the philosophical and artistic steering of the organisation as a whole, but he will also have sound design as a particular area of focus.”

Arditti is a world-renowned sound designer, whose recent work includes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, King Charles III, One Man, Two Guvnors, London Road and Billy Elliot the Musical (for which he won an Olivier award and a Tony award). He is a founder member of the Association of Sound Designers.

In response to his appointment, Arditti said: “It is excellent that Rufus is choosing a wide pool of associates, representing not just theatre directors, but everyone who deserves a say in the creative output of the NT.”

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