Established by John Studzinski in 2001, the Genesis Foundation works in partnership with the leaders of prestigious UK arts organisations such as the Royal Court, The Sixteen, LAMDA and the Young Vic. Its largest funding commitment is to programmes that support directors, playwrights and musicians in the early stages of their professional lives. The Foundation’s support of National Theatre Director, Rufus Norris dates back to 2003 when he was the first emerging theatre director to be a part of the Genesis Directors Program at the Young Vic.
The National Theatre is very proud to partner with the Genesis Foundation now on a new initiative which will support Rufus’s ambition to put the National Theatre front and centre of the development of new music theatre in the UK, by bringing together a diverse group of writers and composers.
Music has always played a part in Rufus’s work: from the Gospel choir and jazz band in The Amen Corner, the Yoruban Drummers in Death and The King’s Horseman to the operatic singing in The Threepenny Opera in 2016. His direction of Alecky Blyth’s Olivier award-winning verbatim musical, London Road won plaudits both during its run at the National Theatre, and for its feature film adaptation.
Rufus strongly believes that the future of music theatre rests on fostering successful collaborative partnerships that can sustain over the long term, alongside providing time and space for private development of ideas. As such, one of Rufus’s key initiatives since taking over as National Theatre Director in 2015 has been the creation of a Music Theatre Group – the first of its kind at the National Theatre. This group is a key part of the National’s New Work Department. As such, a group of playwrights and composers meet at the NT Studio monthly to study a particular aspect of music theatre, learning from the classics in order to gain the tools to take the form onwards. The aim is to prioritise the development of new forms of music theatre and to enhance the opportunity, structure and rigour around music theatre work in the UK.
The Genesis Foundation has generously committed to supporting this initiative going forward, which has been named the Genesis Music Theatre Group. We expect the group to play a vital role as part of the National’s strategy to prioritise the creation of the next generation of musical theatre production in this country. The National Theatre is enormously grateful to the Genesis Foundation for its support of this exciting new initiative.