National Theatre announces new associates and Peter Hall Bursary Recipients 

The National Theatre announced today that Rufus Norris, NT Director and Joint Chief Executive, has invited Ola Animashawun and Clint Dyer to join as Associates of the National Theatre.  

 In addition, The Peter Hall Bursary has been expanded to support three new artists. The directors who have been invited to receive this fund are Ned Bennett, Ola Ince and Nancy Medina and they will be supported by the NT for the next two years.   

 Ola Animashawun, was previously the founder and Head of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme, where he was also an Associate. Ola will work at Associate level in both Learning and the New Work Department at the NT, as well as continuing in his role as Connections Dramaturg which he has held since 2018.  In this new position he will work cross organisationally towards racial equity and increased representation both in the work presented on stage and at all levels in the NT’s workforce.   

 Ola is joined by Clint Dyer who becomes an NT Associate following playing ‘Cutler’ in the NTs Olivier winning production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the success of Death of England and the programming of Death of England: Delroy, which will open in the Olivier theatre later this monthIn this role Clint will work closely with Rufus Norris and the Senior Artistic team and together with the Associates will advise on programming decisions. He will also continue to act and write and direct his own work. Clint Dyer’s Associate role is supported by the NT Foundation as a Peter Hall Bursary.    

 The NT Associates are a group of leading artists, creatives and theatre makers who provide thought leadership and advisory input across all areas of the National Theatre’s artistic mission, galvanising change and providing fresh incisive perspectives on the decisions of the Director and Senior Managers. They take on special projects that they both initiate and at the request of the Director, as well as make their own work. 

 The National Theatre is committed to supporting freelance artists and continuing to expand the pool of directors making work at the NT. Every two years The Peter Hall Bursary is awarded to an exceptionally talented director, providing them with the opportunity to develop their experience through an attachment at the NT. Previous recipients of this bursary include Emily Lim and Alexander Zeldin.  

 This year the bursary has been expanded to support three directors, Ned Bennett, Ola Ince and Nancy Medina. These three new Bursaries are in recognition of these directors’ artistic merit and outstanding achievement in their body of work over the last five years, with the long-term aim of bringing their great talent onto the National Theatre’s stages for the benefit of our audiences.    

 Each director will use the financial and artistic support to gain a greater understanding of the workings of the NT and be empowered and supported to develop work to direct at scale for the National Theatre’s stages.  NT Associate Lyndsey Turner will be working closely with all three directors in a mentor capacity and the two-year Bursary will support a period of artistic development and research, create a space for enquiry and the development of their own creative practice. 

 Speaking about the bursaries Rufus Norris said, “At a pivotal moment in my career I was hugely fortunate in being awarded an Arts Foundation fellowship which gave me some crucial breathing space within a period where my artistic development was being hampered by an inability to simply pay my rent, a situation most freelancers will be very familiar with. That breathing space allowed me, for a year, to focus solely on my artistic work, and I am incredibly grateful to the National Theatre Foundation for their support in delivering something similar to these three exceptional directors. We will be making demands of them but with the sole aim to keep them growing creatively through this most challenging of times.”