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Lisa Burger, National Theatre Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive to Step Down in Summer 2022

Stage Directions • Changing RolesIndustry News • June 29, 2021

Lisa Burger. Photo by James Bellorini Photography

The National Theatre has announced today that Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive, will step down in Summer 2022. Burger’s career at the National Theatre has spanned 20 years. She joined the NT as Finance Director in 2001, before becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2010. Burger took on the role of Executive Director in 2015 and became Joint Chief Executive alongside Director Rufus Norris in 2019.

During her tenure at the NT, Burger has worked with three of the theatre’s six Directors: Sir Trevor Nunn, Sir Nicholas Hytner, and Rufus Norris. Burger has been instrumental in expanding the reach of the National Theatre. From establishing NT Live in 2009 through to the creation of the digital streaming platform NT at Home last year, ensuring that the widest possible audience can engage with the NT’s work has been a central focus for her.

Burger has grown the NT’s UK touring operation to reach record levels of performances and audiences nationwide, as well as founding the Theatre Nation Partnerships network, a multi-year collaboration with partner theatres and community organizations in six areas of England.

As producer, Burger has played a key role in the growth of the National Theatre’s international work, including regular Broadway transfers such as the Tony Award-winning Angels in America and Network, and a new production of War Horse made with the National Theatre of China.

Burger led the NT Future renovation project to completion in 2014. Opening up the NT’s South Bank building, it created new visitor, production and learning facilities and made backstage work visible to audiences for the first time, building on an ambition to make the pathway into theatre as audience member, freelancer or employee easier for all.

“I have had the most extraordinary 20 years working at the National Theatre and I feel incredibly lucky to have held, in my opinion, one of the best jobs in the world,” Burger said. “I am immensely proud of what the NT has achieved in that time, and I know I am leaving the organization in fantastic shape, with an exceptional, dedicated team in place to further its mission to share world-class theatre with audiences, young people and communities wherever they are. I will miss everyone terribly but most especially Rufus, with whom I have had the most fulfilling working partnership.”

Rufus Norris, Joint Chief Executive and Director said, “I have been incredibly blessed to have worked alongside Lisa for the past 6 years. During that time my appreciation of her knowledge, commitment and dynamism has grown exponentially and it has felt like a true partnership, through all weathers, founded on our shared belief in truly accessible and high-quality theatre for everyone. Over the last year, her calm and wise navigation and leadership through the challenges we have faced both as an organization and an industry has been the bedrock of our survival. She has been an extraordinary and outstanding player in the NT’s history. I will miss her hugely, and wish her every good fortune.”

“Lisa’s extraordinary contribution to the NT cannot be overstated,” NT Chair, Sir Damon Buffini commented. “The NT’s impact has increased hugely under her guidance, reaching millions of people right across the globe through both live theatre and digital. Alongside Rufus, Lisa has steered the NT remarkably over the last year, through what has undoubtedly been the most challenging period in the organization’s history. We will miss Lisa enormously, and I, along with the rest of the NT Board, are immensely grateful to her for her tireless work in furthering both the NT’s mission over the last 20 years and an attention to the commercial and income opportunities which has increased the NT’s resilience.

Recruitment for the Executive Director position will begin this summer.


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