Opera Scotland

John Durnin Suggest updates

John Charles Durnin.

Born Kew, 7 January 1960.

Died 16 February 2020.

English director.

John Durnin was a notably successful Artistic Director of the Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 2003 to 2017.  He extended the theatre's operations throughout the year, including winter and Christmas events.  During this period he also introduced, from 2009, the practice of including a musical in the summer season repertoire of six plays.  Initially, many of the team of actors were recruited due to their ability to play one or more instruments, as well as sing and dance.

He was educated at St Paul's School, London  1973-77, then at New College, Oxford, where he gained a BA (Hons) in English.  He began his theatre career as a stage manager with the Manchester Library Theatre Company in 1982.  He then won an Arts Council bursary to train there as a director.

He moved to the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham in 1987, where he spent two years as Associate Director, before working at Coventry Belgrade Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, London's Albany Empire and numerous drama schools as a dreelance director.

He was appointed Artistic Director of the Northcott Theatre in Exeter in 1991 and over the next seven years he directed over 40 productions for the company.  In 1995 he created the Northcott's acclaimed Shakespeare in the Gardens event in the grounds of the city's Rougemont Castle, which in three years grew into the largest open-air Shakespeare event in the UK outwith London.

In 1999,his interest in community arts, performance and site-specific production led him to become Artistic Director first of Theatre Venture in London and then of Gatton Community Theatre in Surrey, whilst continuing to work as a freelance director, tutor and writer.

John joined PFT as Artistic Director in 2003 and his subsequent PFT productions included The Shop at Sly Corner; To Kill a Mockingbird; Hamlet: The Actor's Cut (The First Folio text); Snake in the Grass; Wild Honey; What Every Woman KnowsThe Life of Stuff Kiss Me, Kate; Nana; My Fair LadyLittle Shop of HorrorsCommunicating Doors; Dear BrutusHello Dolly!Present Laughter; It's a Wonderful Life; The Yellow on the Broom; Miracle on 34th StreetA Little Night Music; Pyrenees; White Christmas; Carousel and This Happy Breed

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