Attenborough described his time at the theatre as having been, ‘consistently thrilling and rewarding.’ He made the decision to leave in Spring 2013 in order to dedicate more time to other ventures, he said: ‘After running theatres for the past 32 years, I now want to concentrate solely on my directing.’
During his time at the Almeida, Attenborough has directed productions of Measure for Measure, The Mercy Seat and King Lear, which runs at the Almeida until November. He also established Almeida Projects – a creative theatre programme for young people which claims to offer ‘10,000 opportunities for young people to participate in projects led by experienced industry professionals’.
Attenborough’s programming over the past decade has seen 32 premieres of new works, which have, on average, attracted 38% new attendees to each production. He was instrumental in securing the financial security of the Almeida, after inheriting a deficit on his arrival as artistic director. By securing long-term sponsors, Attenborough has brought the Almeida out of debt.
Christopher Rodrigues, chair of the Almeida Theatre board said: ‘It has been a privilege for all of us to work with Michael. He has taken the Almeida from strength to strength locally, nationally and internationally by presenting a truly diverse programme of work of which we are all immeasurably proud.
‘Michael has established the Almeida as a powerhouse of British theatre and secured its financial condition. We count ourselves immensely fortunate to have benefited from his leadership for over a decade and wish him every success in his future directorial career.’
Attenborough said of his departure: ‘I would like to place on record my immense gratitude to the superb staff at the Almeida, all of whom have played an integral part in everything we have achieved. Whoever succeeds me will find themselves blessed with a wonderful and unique theatre space, a hugely loyal audience and a board and staff that are second to none.’