Nicholas Hytner was today named as the new director of the South Bank's National Theatre, replacing the outgoing Trevor Nunn.
Hytner – currently directing Mother Clapp's Molly House at the National Theatre- will take over from Nunn in April 2003 for a five-year term.
Hytner – well-known as the director of The Madness of King George – said: "I'm thrilled by the challenge of leading the National and of working with a company of outstandingly creative people whom I've loved and admired for many years. I'm honoured to be inheriting it from a great director and hugely encouraged by his support and the enthusiasm of the National Theatre Board.
"I'm looking forward to working with all my colleagues to give voice to the artists who will galvanise the widest possible audience and to filling our stages with the best our theatre has to offer."
The news of Hytner's appointment comes soon after it emerged that fears of a terrorist attack have prompted the daughter of US Secretary of State Colin Powell to cancel her appearances at the National.
Linda Powell was expected on the Lyttelton stage on 11 October for a 34-performance run of Jitney, August Wilson's first play. In the light of recent events, White House officials, including Powell, have banned their closest relations from flying.