Nicholas Hytner was born in Manchester, and educated at Manchester Grammar School and Cambridge University, where he read English.
Following brief spells as an actor and assistant stage manager, his first theatre productions were at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter. He then directed a series of productions at the Leeds Playhouse, and in 1985 became an Associate Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. His productions in Manchester included Shakespeare's AS YOU LIKE IT, Marlowe's EDWARD II, Schiller's DON CARLOS, Wycherley's THE COUNTRY WIFE and Robin Glendinning's MUMBO JUMBO.
Nicholas was Director of the National Theatre from 2003 until March 2015.
He has received two Oliver Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, the London Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk Award and a Tony. His film THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE received the Alexandra Korda BAFTA for Best British Film and was nominated for two further BAFTAs (Best Film, Best Director). It was also nominated for the Cannes Palme D'Or and won the Evening Standard Best Film Award.