In 1964, with support from the Nuffield Foundation, the University of Southampton built a theatre on its campus for the people of Southampton. The theatre was built by Sir Basil Spence, OM RA, who worked closely with Sir Richard Southern as consultant for the interior design and layout of the theatre, which was officially opened by Dame Sybil Thorndike on 2 March.
Nearly twenty years later on 1 November 1982, the Nuffield became an independent producing theatre funded by Arts Council England, Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and Hampshire County Council. Over the next 25 years, the Nuffield came to be recognised as a major force in British theatre.
There have been many theatrical highlights for the Nuffield – touring Oedipus to Cyprus, Romeo & Juliet to Barbados and Rime of the Ancient Mariner to the South Pacific. Winning TMA awards for Three Sisters, collaborating with Russian artists to make Tchaikovsky and the Queen of Spades and Hampstead Theatre to make The President’s Holiday. Producing the European Premiere of the modern classic Holes and establishing quality mid-scale touring for family audiences with Alice in Wonderland and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Pioneering international work with Transe Express and Generik Vapeur combined with award winning youth theatre and education work.
In 2013 Sam Hodges was appointed as the new Creative and Executive Director of Nuffield. He appointed a team of Associates to support his new creative vision for the company: directors Blanche McIntrye, Michael Longhurst and Natalie Abrahami, designer, Tom Scutt and playwright, Adam Brace. In 2014, to mark the 50th anniversary of the company and theatre, a group of Associate Actors were announced who will act as ambassadors for Nuffield. They are: Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Tom Hiddleston and Celia Imrie.