Howard Davies directed 36 productions for the National Theatre beginning with Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1988, and his most recent production, O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, co-directed with Jeremy Herrin, completed its run only last weekend. He was appointed an Associate Director in 1988.
Highlights from his multiple award-winning career and his many productions at the National Theatre include The Secret Rapture by David Hare, Bulgakov’s Flight, Arthur Millers’ All My Sons, Mourning Becomes Electra, by Eugene O’Neill, Gorky’s Philistines, as well as Her Naked Skin by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, and 3 Winters, by Tena Štivičić.
Statement from Howard Davies family:
Howard died on the 25th of October after a short battle with cancer. It is a devastating loss to his family, friends and the people who loved and worked with him. He was a wonderful, loving husband, father and grandfather, and a phenomenally talented director. He will be hugely missed.
The worlds of cinema and stage have always overlapped and writers, actors, directors and producers (etc.) have moved between the two. As, of course, have audiences. In the musical theatre most of the great musicals – from Showboat to Phantom – have been filmed, usually successfully. Despite this, the worlds of stage and screen are distinct art forms requiring different creative styles and focus. Theatre is claustrophobic and intimate – even when extravagantly staged as is usually the case with the works of Lloyd-Webber or Boublil and Schönberg. I remember the first production of Miss Saigon in the autumn of 1989 and whilst there were some fine performances from the likes of Jonathan Pryce and Lea Solonga it was the staging and the special effects which caught the breath and brought in the punters. The helicopter and the rest! Film is different. And today’s cinema especially so. Film opens up the story and the staging with on-location filming and the huge range of visual perspectives from ultra close-ups to tracking and long shots. But the one-dimensionality of the movie has never been changed (3D hasn’t really ever taken off) nor has the overriding sense of safety. There is never in the movies the danger that there is in live performance! Never a fluffed line or a “dry” or a “corpse”! We take extraordinary special effects for granted in the movies these days – it seems that there is literally nothing that cannot be done on film. But it is often just a tad synthetic – which live theatre rarely is.
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Following a multi Tony Award-nominated run on Broadway, Oliver and Tony Award-winning director John Tiffany (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two, Let the Right One In, Black Watch) revives his visionary staging of Tennessee Williams’ heart-rending masterpiece about a family struggling to survive on hopes and dreams.
A domineering mother. A daughter lost in a world of her own. A son desperate to leave. Former Southern Belle Amanda Wingfield, played by Tony Award-winning Broadway icon Cherry Jones, enlists the help of son Tom (Michael Esper) to find a husband for her fragile daughter Laura (Kate O’Flynn). But will the long-awaited ‘gentleman caller’ (Brian J. Smith) fulfil or shatter the family’s delicate dreams?
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