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Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr to leave National Theatre

London SE1 website team

Sir Nicholas Hytner is to step down as director of the National Theatre at the end of March 2015. The theatre's executive director Nick Starr will also leave during 2014.

Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr to leave National Theatre

Sir Nick Hytner said: "It's been a joy and a privilege to lead the National Theatre for ten years and I'm looking forward to the next two. I have the most exciting and most fulfilling job in the English-speaking theatre; and after twelve years it will be time to give someone else a turn to enjoy the company of my stupendous colleagues, who together make the National what it is."

Nick Starr, who has been executive director since 2002, said: "There's a genius to this place and it will be a wrench to leave it. But I want to make room for the next generation, and it's time for me to plough new furrows."

John Makinson, chairman of the National Theatre, said: "Nick Hytner and Nick Starr have led the National Theatre to undreamt levels of creative and commercial success over the past decade. Today's announcement will not come as a surprise, as we have known for some time that they planned to initiate a phased succession process in the course of 2013. It is a sad moment for the National Theatre nonetheless.

"The board will now begin the formal process of identifying a new director. The position will be advertised next week and we expect to announce the appointment in the autumn. The new executive director will be appointed once the director designate is in place."

The succession committee, which will prepare a shortlist of candidates for the full board of the NT to consider, will comprise Peter Bennett-Jones, Neil MacGregor, John Makinson, Kate Mosse and Tessa Ross.

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