From the Archive: BushGreen meets Richard Eyre

What plays should we (the users of bushgreen – ie emerging and professional Playwrights/Practitioners) be reading, putting on and going to see?

You should be doing exactly the plays you are doing and have been doing. You should be reading anything and everything that you haven’t seen performed. You have to be constantly curious. You should be going to see good theatre of ALL varieties. I’ve recently seen CLYBOURNE PARK and THE BLUE DRAGON. Both wonderful.


What are your career highlights so far?

Having a play that I’d written put on at Hampstead Theatre when I was 25; running Nottingham Playhouse for 5 years; directing COMEDIANS, GUYS AND DOLLS, RACING DEMON, KING LEAR and HEDDA GABLER; directing the films TUMBLEDOWN and IRIS; running the National Theatre for 10 years; directing CARMEN at the Met.


Who is the greatest influence on your career?

All the writers I’ve worked with: David Hare, Trevor Griffiths, Howard Brenton, Charles Wood, Christopher Hampton, Adrian Mitchell, Tony Harrison, Tom Stoppard, Alan Bennett, Ken Campbell, Nicholas Wright, Arthur Miller, Robert Lepage, Matt Charman, Moira Buffini.


What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen at the theatre?

Peter Brook’s production of KING LEAR with Paul Scofield


 Richard was an actor and then became a director. He worked for ten years in regional theatre in Leicester, Edinburgh and Nottingham (where he commissioned and directed Trevor Griffith’s Comedians, which later transferred to London and Broadway). In London his work includes his adaptations of Jennifer Dawson’s novel The Ha Ha, Hamlet (with Jonathan Pryce), David Mamet’s Edmond and The Shawl, Alan Bennett’s Kafka’s Dick (with Jim Broadbent, Geoffrey Palmer and Alison Steadman), his adaptations of Sartre’s Les Mains Sales (with Ken Cranham) and Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (with Eve Best), High Society, Mary Poppins, Simon Gray,s The Last Cigarette (with Felicity Kendal), Noel Coward’s Private Lives (with Kim Cattrall), Flea In Her Ear (with Tom Hollander). I became Director of the Royal National Theatre in 1988, directing many productions there including: Guys and Dolls (with Bob Hoskins, Julia McKenzie and Ian Charleson), The Beggar’s Opera (with Imelda Staunton), Futurists (with Daniel Day-Lewis), Hamlet (with Daniel Day-Lewis), The Voysey Inheritance, Richard III (with Ian McKellen), Christopher Hampton’s White Chameleon (with Tom Wilkinson), Eduardo de Fillippo’s Napoli Milionaria and La Grande Magia, Tennessee William’s The Night of the Iguana (with Eileen Atkins) and Sweet Bird of Youth (with Clare Higgins), John Gabriel Borkman (with Paul Scofield, Vanessa Redgrave and Eileen Atkins), Tony Harrison’s The Prince’s Play (with Ken Stott), King Lear (with Ian Holm), Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love (with John Wood), Nicholas Wright’s Vincent in Brixton (with Clare Higgins) and The Reporter (with Ben Chaplin), Moira Buffini’s Welcome To Thebes (with David Harewood), David Hare’s Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, The Absence of War (with John Thaw), Skylight (with Michael Gambon), Amy’s View (with Judi Dench) and The Judas Kiss (with Liam Neeson). Also with Liam Neeson, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible on Broadway. I’ve also directed opera: La Traviata at Covent Garden, Le Nozze di Figaro at the Aix-en-Provence festival and Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. I’ve written a memoir, Utopia and Other Places, and (with Nicholas Wright) Changing Stages, which was the basis of my TV series for the BBC and PBS about the history of 20th C theatre. I’ve also published National Service, a diary of my time at the National Theatre and Talking Theatre, a book of interviews with theatre people. I’ve directed many films for TV (including Tumbledown with Colin Firth) and several feature films including The Ploughman’s Lunch (with Jonathan Pryce), Iris (with Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent, which I co-wrote), Stage Beauty and Notes on a Scandal (with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett).