Former RSC artistic director Gregory Doran ‘delighted’ to receive knighthood

Gregory Doran, the artistic director emeritus of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), has spoken of his joy at been given a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

The theatre boss, 65, is honoured for services to the arts, having been officially appointed artistic director at the RSC in September 2012, taking over from the late Sir Michael Boyd.

“I am delighted to have received this honour,” Sir Gregory said in a statement to the PA news agency.

Prince of Wales visit to Warwickshire
Charles watches a performance of Henry IV Part I by secondary school students from Stratford-up-Avon alongside artistic director Gregory Doran (left) at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Shakespeare has been a passport through my life, and I have been privileged to be able to spend so much of career working with the very greatest company dedicated to his work, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and sharing his genius with as many as possible around the world.”

Sir Gregory announced in September 2021 that he was taking a period of compassionate leave from the RSC to care for his husband Sir Antony Sher.

The theatre star died in December that year at the age of 72 from cancer and Doran confirmed he was stepping down from the RSC position in April 2022.

He is the artistic director emeritus of the RSC until December 31 2023.

Sir Gregory began his career as an actor with the RSC in 1987, before becoming associate director in 1996 and chief associate director a decade later.

In 2002, he led a season of five rarely-performed Jacobean and Elizabethan plays and directed The Island Princess by John Fletcher at the Swan Theatre and a run at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End and received an Olivier Award for outstanding achievement of the year.

The Graham Norton Show – London
David Tennant and Catherine Tate hosted Shakespeare Live! From The RSC (Ian West/PA)

In his role as RSC artistic director, he reunited with Scottish star David Tennant, after Twelfth Night in 2008, to direct the production of Richard II which became the first RSC production to play live to cinemas around the world in November 2013.

A year later he directed The Witch Of Edmonton, which saw Dame Eileen Atkins return to the RSC for her 80th birthday year, while in 2015 Sir Gregory directed Death Of A Salesman starring Sir Antony and Dame Harriet Walter, which later transferred to London’s Noel Coward Theatre.

In April 2016, Sir Gregory directed Shakespeare Live! From The RSC in a collaboration with the BBC to mark Shakespeare’s birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death, hosted by Tennant and Catherine Tate and included stars Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Ian McKellen.

The event was later nominated for a Bafta for best live event.

While Sir Gregory opened The Boy In The Dress in 2019, a new musical from David Walliams’ comedy about the story of a star striker and fashion lover with new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers.

The theatre director has also been awarded honorary doctorates from seven different universities, including the University of Bristol and the University of Warwick.