Jonathan Cape has pre-empted the first book from theatre and film director Nicholas Hytner, former director of the National Theatre.
Michal Shavit, publishing director at Jonathan Cape, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Hytner’s Balancing Acts in what the publisher called a "significant" pre-empt from Natasha Fairweather at United Agents. The book will be published in May 2017.
Balancing Acts, a book for anyone interested in "the future of our cultural landscape", is the story of Hytner's 12 years as director of the National Theatre, a post he held from 2003 until stepping down in March 2015.
The book features actors, writers and directors and the directing of new plays like "The History Boys" and "One Man, Two Guvnors", in addition to films like "The Madness of King George", musicals and operas. It also covers how Hytner faced up to challenges such as bringing the theatre to an ever broader audience and in reconciling art and commerce. The book's "cast" is said to include Alan Bennett, Arthur Miller, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Daniel Day Lewis, John Gielgud and Mike Leigh, among others.
"With candour, intelligence, humour and insight borne from experience of extraordinary successes and lunatic failures, Hytner explores the biggest questions facing the creative industries right now. This is a book not just for theatre lovers, but for anybody interested in the future of our cultural landscape, and the role art plays in society today," said the publisher.
Shavit added: “It’s a great honour for us to be publishing Nick Hytner’s extraordinary book. During his 12 years at the National Theatre Nick helped transform our cultural landscape and in autumn next year we will see him opening a new London theatre with Nick Starr that is sure to bring an ever wider audience to the theatre. This is a book for anyone interested in art as entertainment, in how we balance artistic integrity with commercial necessity, and in the often hilarious and incredible stories of the plays, actors and directors that have lit up our lives in the 21st Century.”