The artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company wants to put on a western after announcing he is to stand down after ten years in the role.

Michael Boyd admitted that staging a western was one of his next great ambitions.

The 56-year-old joined the RSC in 1996 as an associate director, and was appointed to his current role in 2002.

In a hectic period, he oversaw the £112 million renovation project of the Stratford-upon-Avon theatres, and the RSC’s 50th birthday.

He will step down, along with Vikki Heywood, the RSC’s executive director, and chairman Sir Christopher Bland, at the end of next year.

But Boyd is already considering future projects. And that includes his western.

“I hope after I leave the RSC that I can plan in a period of not doing very much,” he said. “But there are two fairly big projects that I am committed to that excite me very much.

“One is an opera, and another is a crazy idea to do a stage western. I’m working on the embryonic beginnings of them, and I’m being slow to accept anything more at the moment. Just to protect a period of idleness.”

Expanding on the western concept, he added: “I don’t think it’s going to be a big West Endy Seven Brides And Seven Brothers kind of thing.

“I don’t know where we’ll put it on. We’ll probably decide on that after about a year of work.”

Boyd admitted the last decade with the RSC had been a hectic period, and added that if he had not left, he feared it would have taken its toll on his health.

“I’ve always said it would take ten years to do something significant towards the life and the spirit of the company, though more than ten years would potentially not be so good for the life and the spirit of the artistic director,” he said.

“It just feels about right to leave now. When I founded the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, I stayed for 11 years. But that was a smaller company, and easier to run.”

He added: “It’s been busy. The RSC is a large and very complex performing arts organisation. It certainly keeps you off the streets.

“The thing that drew me to the RSC was its founding principles of an artistic community in the heart of Warwickshire, which is pretty cut off by appalling public transport.

“And to try to work out how we should live together in a large community of different disciplines, from accountants to boot-makers. How to make the best sense of that.”

Boyd said he had faced difficulties that were unforeseen by him when he took on the role.

“The idea that I could devolve responsibility and delegate so effectively that the job would become much easier, was a total fantasy,” he admitted.

“You can give your colleagues great respect, and let them run their life, and the lives of those around them, and hand freedom to people within the organisation. But different people, of course, will disagree with each other.

“So the chairman role of the artistic director will never go away.

“But we’ve come a very long way, and I think it’s a much happier place to work, now.”

Boyd said his choice to leave still hadn’t had an emotional impact on him.

“It’s slightly postponed,” he said. “Neither Vikki nor I, nor anyone else, is leaving until the end of next year. “There’s a lot of big, big decisions to make in that time, which will effect the future life of the company.

“I think it’s good for the RSC to have this long notice, and it’s also good for us, to gently get used to the idea of another sort of life.”

Boyd said he didn’t want to give much advice to his successor, as it was important for the individual to find his or her own way in the organisation.

However, he added: “You need to really dig into it and get to know it, then very swiftly decide what major radical changes you want to make.

“And then to make them, early. Because your mandate for change is at the beginning. That’s because change is expected at the beginning. Also, nobody can sack you, because it’s too early.

“The main thing is that people expect change at the start of a tenure, so they will accept it more.”

When he announced, last week, that he would be leaving, Boyd accepted that he didn’t achieve everything he would have wanted at the RSC.

Expanding on this, he said: “I would have liked to have carried on exploring the benefits of long-term ensemble.

“One thing I really missed, in my time, was the experimental studio theatre in Stratford. It meant we did not have our engine room to generate new work. It became much harder to do so, without it there.

“Saying that, I’m proud that we actually have given new work a bolder profile in my time.”