On her appointment as artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre in April 2013, Vicky Featherstone became the first woman to lead the organisation in its 60 year history. Prior to taking the job, Featherstone had been in charge of The National Theatre of Scotland since its founding in 2006, where her direction and programming sought to appeal to an increasingly diverse audience and brought theatre into a variety of public spaces.

Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland - ©HelenMurray
Wunmi Mosaku (Bridget), Julia Dearden (Bernie) and Amy Molloy (Julie) in Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland. ©HelenMurray

One of her first NTS commissions, Gregory Burke’s unflinching Black Watch, directed by John Tiffany, won numerous awards for its portrayal of a group of soldiers’ experiences in the Iraq war. Featherstone garnered a reputation for finding great new writers while working as artistic director of the Paines Plough theatre company in the late 1990s and early 2000s and, at the Royal Court, she has determinedly brought thought-provoking productions to the stage, from Untitled Matriarch Play and Maidan: Voices From The Uprising, to Cypress Avenue and X.

A scene from X
Darrell D’Silva (Ray) and Jessica Raine (Gilda) in X by Alistair McDowall, Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre. Photo: Manuel Harlan

In her first summer at the London theatre, Featherstone introduced Open Court, a new six-week festival of events programmed by over 140 writers. The Big Idea strand continues to thrive as a fixture of the theatre programme, providing audiences with post-performance discussions and talks inspired by the work.

A scene from God Bless the Child
Zahra O’Reilly (Tamaya), Tyla Wilson (Lily), Maleah Rutty (Esther), Ony Uhiara (Ms Newsome), Lara Decaro (Grace), Nancy Allsopp (Louie), Joseph West (Freddie), Darwin Brokenbro (Aaron) and David Evans (Jake) in God Bless the Child, written by Molly Davies and directed by Vicky Featherstone. Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. Photo: Manuel Harlan