Michael Boyd Death: Former RSC Artistic Director at Royal Shakespeare Company has died

Famous England Theatre director Michael Boyd has passed away from cancer - London community mourns his death - Learn about the obituary

Michael Boyd Death – Famous England Theatre director Michael Boyd has passed away. The longtime member and Theatre Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company died from cancer complications. The Royal Shakespeare Company announced the tragic news on their official webpage. “‘Theatre director Michael Boyd has died from cancer.”

He spent 1985–96 at the Tron Theatre Glasgow as artistic director and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as an Associate Director in 1996 following training in Moscow.
He became a great director as an RSC Associate. In 1994, John Ford premiered The Broken Heart, followed by A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the first Histories in 2000–2001 with his longtime collaborator Tom Piper.

In July 2002, he became Artistic Director of the RSC after the Company departed the Barbican and demolished and rebuilt the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST), designed by Elisabeth Scott and premiered in 1932. He recognized the Company needed significant reform and financial stability. A turning event in Company history. Michael looked back to Peter Hall’s 1961 founding principles and his Moscow training to lead the Company.

He realized a long-held artistic dream to create an ensemble of actors working together over two to three years, with long rehearsal periods to deepen their text understanding and a rigorous daily voice and movement class program to improve their individual and collective artistry. The piece was prominently displayed as art.

Inspired by Russia, this method was central to Michael’s art. In addition to renovating the rehearsal area, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre added a thrust stage and made it more intimate. It moved every seat, even “the cheap ones” [Michael Boyd], closer to the stage and changed the actor-audience interaction.

The first group opened The Courtyard, a post-industrial temporary theatre on The Other Place site, as construction began. The Courtyard Theatre thrived as a dynamic facility and a template for the new RST. The eight-play Histories Cycle and Matilda The Musical launched to rave reviews and sold-out houses.

While running the Company, leading the building project, and forming their extraordinary creative partnership, Michael and Tom returned to the Histories to direct all eight plays with one ensemble over two and a half years, culminating in “The Glorious Moment,” a weekend of all eight plays. Tom and Michael were menacing. They used height, depth, and stage imagery to create aesthetically striking and sculptural stage vocabulary that lingers after the play.

Michael joined at the RSC with international experience and a strong belief that the company should be both national and international. The Complete Works Festival and 2012 World Shakespeare Festival, which drew 1.5 million people, demonstrated this strong worldwide vision. He also believed theatre, especially Shakespeare, might improve young people’s lives. The RSC Stand Up for Shakespeare program under Jacqui O’Hanlon was important to him.

Michael believed in individual and collective power and could not have succeeded without his team. Along with Tom Piper, he collaborated with Liz Ranken, John Woolf, Jimmy Jones, Alison Bomber, Denise Wood, Jeremy Adams, and Zoe Donegan on his programs. Outside the practice room, his “partners in crime” were Vikki Heywood, Susie Sainsbury, Kate Horton, and Christopher Bland.

Backstage and front-of-house culture changed under Michael. He created a company that theatre performers, production personnel, and front-of-house staff wanted to be part of and felt they were all important to its success. His honesty, generosity, and perseverance earned him affection, devotion, and admiration from colleagues during six years as Associate Director and ten years as Artistic Director. His empathy and compassion showed in his decision to invite all front-of-house employees to a curtain call and promise every understudy a performance. On his return to the RSC in 2018 to direct a visceral and vibrant Tamburlaine, the stage crew worked over their shift for him, a lasting influence on the Company.

Michael was a tireless Artistic Director of the RSC, but he was much more dedicated to his family. We are so proud of his acting career and happy to have such a loving father and spouse. We are grieved by his early death.

Michael Boyd Obituary and Funeral Arrangements will be Released by the Family

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