Michael Boyd (theatre director)

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Michael Boyd

Born(1955-07-06)6 July 1955
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Died3 August 2023(2023-08-03) (aged 68)
Occupation(s)Theatre director, former artistic director
PartnerCaroline Hall

Sir Michael Boyd HonFRSE (6 July 1955 – 3 August 2023) was a British theatre director and an artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.[1]

Early years[edit]

Michael Boyd was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 6 July 1955.[2] He was educated at Latymer Upper School in London, Daniel Stewart's College in Edinburgh, and at the University of Edinburgh, where he gained an M.A. in English Literature and performed with the Edinburgh University Drama Society.[3]


Boyd trained as a director at the Malaya Bronnaya Theatre in Moscow, and in 1979 took up his first post as a trainee director at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, graduating to Assistant Director a year later.

In 1982, he joined the Sheffield Crucible as an Associate Director, and three years later became founding Artistic Director of the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, where he staged a production of Macbeth starring Iain Glen, an adaptation of Janice Galloway's The Trick is to Keep Breathing and Michel Tremblay's Quebec plays, The Real World? and The Guid Sisters.

Boyd joined the RSC in 1996 as an Associate Director, staging the three parts of Henry VI together with Richard III at the Young Vic in London in April 2002, as part of the This England: Histories Cycle.

During this time he was also Drama Director of the New Beginnings Festival of Soviet Arts in Glasgow in 1999, and directed Miss Julie in the Frank McGuinness version at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in February 2000.

Taking over from Adrian Noble in 2003, Boyd assumed control of the RSC, burdened with a deficit of £2.8m, with a remit to turn its fortunes around. He ran a year-long Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival (begun in April 2006 and involving other companies as well as the RSC) and a London season at the Novello Theatre.

In 2007, he launched the long-awaited redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. This included construction of the temporary Courtyard Theatre to provide a Stratford venue while work was in progress. It was designed to house The Histories cycle, before its transfer to the Roundhouse in London in 2008.

Boyd regularly collaborated with stage designer Tom Piper since they first worked together on a pantomime for the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.[4]


On 3 August 2023, the Royal Shakespeare Company released a statement from his family announcing his death from cancer. He was 68.[1][5]


Boyd was knighted in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to drama[6][7] and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in March 2016.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Announcing the death of Michael Boyd | Royal Shakespeare Company". www.rsc.org.uk. Retrieved 4 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Weekend birthdays". The Guardian. 5 July 2014. p. 47.
  3. ^ Salter, Jessica (26 March 2010). "Michael Boyd, Royal Shakespeare Company". Daily Telegraph.
  4. ^ Tom Piper (23 June 2004). "Tom Piper - Designing for Plays and Actors, Not Himself". The British Theatre Guide (Interview: transcript). Interviewed by Steve Orme. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  5. ^ Coveney, Michael (6 August 2023). "Sir Michael Boyd obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2023.
  6. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Queen's birthday honours list 2012: Knights". TheGuardian.com. 15 June 2012.
  8. ^ "The Royal Society of Edinburgh | 2016 Elected Fellows". Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2016.

Further reading[edit]

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