My Theatre: John Wright

Feature in Issue 12-2 | Summer 2000

What did you see the first time you went to the theatre?

Punch & Judy when I was four at Southport.

What recent performance has particularly inspired you?

A production of Calderon de la Barca’s Life Is A Dream in Barcelona.

What productions will you never forget?

The Gate Theatre, Dublin’s production of The Great Hunger, which I saw in Edinburgh about 12 years ago, and Peter Brook’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the National Theatre in 1970.

Which performer, alive or dead, makes you laugh the most?

Paul Hunter – my colleague and close associate.

Who is your favourite playwright?

Shakespeare.

When was the last time you walked out of a theatre before the end of a show?

I very rarely walk out of theatre. I’m quite selective of what I go and see and I also think I owe it to the actors to stay.

When was the last time you cried during a performance?

I must be about the most lachrymose member of a theatre audience you can get. The last time I do remember crying was in my own production of Happy Birthday, Mr Deka D at the Lyric.

Who is your favourite performer?

I like performers who are daring and who are incredibly, ruthlessly honest. Like Hayley Carmichael, for instance,

If you could meet any theatre practitioner, alive or dead, who would it be?

The Spanish playwright, theoretician and novelist Valle Inclan (1866 - 1936).

Which contemporary theatre director’s work do you most admire?

Peter Brook for his bravery in breaking away from cloying conventions, particularly in opera, and Mike Alfreds.

What does the term ‘physical theatre’ mean to you?

Any form of theatre that puts movement and action before voice and text. The implication being that you put the performance text before the written text.

If you could send one message to Chris Smith, what would it be?

Right back to the National Curriculum, we need to look at the role of creative work in education and this government is not doing it.

John Wright is co-founder of Told By An Idiot. This summer he runs a two-week School for Devisers in London, from August 28 to September 8.

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