Rufus Norris has been named the new director of the National Theatre after previously serving as an associate director. He will take over from Sir Nicholas Hytner in April 2015.

Trained as an actor, Norris has previously directed Vernon God Little at the Young Vic, Don Giovanni for the English National Opera and Festen at the Almeida. He recently directed the critically acclaimed Amen Corner at the National Theatre.

"This appointment is a great honour and I am thrilled at the prospect and challenge of leading this exceptional organisation, where it has been a privilege to work under the inspirational leadership of Nick Hytner," he said, according to The Independent.

Hytner said he was "delighted" with Norris's appointment, adding, "His work as a director is always searching, deeply considered and adventurous and I have no doubt he will bring these qualities to the running of the National."

The actor and director has landed an enviable job though the expectations and responsibilities are plain to see given the transformation of the theatre in recent years. It has presented a series of hits including One Man, Two Guv'nors, the stoic War Horse and the controversial Jerry Springer The Opera.

John Makinson, chairman of the National Theatre, said: "In setting out to find a new director for the National Theatre, the Board looked for an individual with a creative reputation that would command the respect and support of British theatre, and with the generosity of spirit that has characterised Nick Hytner's period as Director.

"Rufus Norris has both those qualities in abundance. He is an exciting choice, someone who will build on the National Theatre's present reputation as one of the most admired and innovative performing arts organisations in the world. We are fortunate that he has chosen to join us."

Over fifty names were rumoured to be in the running for the role of director, including the Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes, who ruled himself out in June owing to his movie commitments. The filmmaker, who helmed Skyfall and will direct the next James Bond movie, told The Stage that the position demands somebody who "is fully dedicated to it."

Other names reportedly considered including Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry and the filmmaker Danny Boyle.

Rufus NorrisRufus Norris [L] and his wife Tanya Ronder [R] At The BFI London Film Festival in 2012

Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes Ruled Himself Out Of The Role

Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle Was Rumoured To Be In The Running For The Director Job