b. 14 January 1940, Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Nunn was educated at Downing College, Cambridge, and in 1962 won an ABC Director’s Scholarship to the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry where he produced a musical version of Around The World In 80 Days. In 1964 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, was made an associate director in 1965, and became the company’s youngest-ever artistic director in 1968. He was responsible for the running of the RSC until he retired from the post in 1986. As well as his numerous productions for the RSC, he co-directed Nicholas Nickleby (winner of five Tony Awards), Peter Pan, and Les Misérables, which became one of the most-performed musicals in the world. Outside of the RSC he has directed the Tony Award-winning Cats, along with other musicals including Starlight Express, Chess, and The Baker’s Wife, and operas such as Cosi Fan Tutte and Peter Grimes. His ‘magnificent’ 1986 Glyndebourne Festival Opera production of Porgy And Bess, which later transferred to the London Royal Opera House, became the first television version of George Gershwin’s masterpiece in 1993. He has also worked in television and directed several films including Hedda and Lady Jane. Nunn is credited, along with Andrew Lloyd Webber and the late poet T.S. Eliot, with the writing of ‘Memory’, the hit song from Cats which has been recorded by hundreds of artists. In 1992 he directed the RSC’s highly acclaimed production of Pam Gems’ musical play The Blue Angel, and a year later became the ninth recipient of the ‘Mr. Abbott Award’ given by the US Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. In the early 90s he was back with Lloyd Webber again, staging the London, Los Angeles and Broadway productions of Sunset Boulevard. It was also reported that Nunn had decided to take a break from the theatre, and had signed a two-year deal to produce films for the New Line Cinema studio. However, in 1995, he did co-direct and supervise a one-night only all-star 10th anniversary concert performance of Les Misérables at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A year later the movie Twelfth Night, which he scripted and directed, was released. In September 1997, Nunn took over from Richard Eyre as the artistic director of the Royal National Theatre, and in July of the following year his ‘triumphant’ staging of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Oklahoma! opened at the National’s Olivier Theatre, subsequently transferring to the Lyceum in the West End. On behalf of the show, Nunn collected the Evening Standard /Carlton Television Award for Best Musical. He subsequently turned his attention to another great American musical, My Fair Lady, which opened at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre in March 2001.
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