|Born||February 1966 (age 47), England|
|Occupation||Theatre director, Playwright|
Dominic Cooke (born 1966) is an English theatre director and playwright. He won the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for best director for his revival of The Crucible while working at the RSC. He took over as the Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2006 and his tenure was widely hailed a success staging much new work and refocusing the aims of the theatre. Apart from being a successful director he has also adapted Malorie Blackman's novel Noughts and Crosses for stage and wrote a version of Arabian Nights.
Born in Wimbledon, London Cooke's mother was an NHS receptionist who had once wanted to be an actress and his father a film editor. He was brought up seeing a lot of theatre as a teenager from free theatre tickets provided by London Education Authority. He studied at Warwick University. He moved into television after university with his first job being a runner.
He started up his own theatre company Pan Optic which he ran for two years before becoming an assistant director at the RSC in the 1990s and worked as a freelance director. He started writing at the Royal Court under Stephen Daldry in 1995 before becoming an associate director at the Royal Court for Ian Rickson in 1999. In 2003 he left the Court returning to the RSC for Michael Boyd where he directed his acclaimed version of The Crucible starring Iain Glen which won him the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director. In 2013, he won the International Theatre Institute Award for Excellence in International Theatre. On 15 July 2013 he was awarded Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Warwick.
In 2006 Cooke became the Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre in London. He came to Royal Court at a time where the theatre had been criticised for softening its political agenda and having 'lost its way'. Cooke promised to refocus the theatre and famously promised to stage plays that would
"explore what it means to be middle class, what it means to have power, and what it means to have wealth...plays seem to be about the dispossessed, which is important, but you can't really understand a world if you're only looking at one corner of it, and that kind of theatre is really just as reactionary in its way as the theatre pre-George Devine all french windows and all that."
As well as staging some successful revivals Cooke has also pioneered new writing promoting the Royal Court's Young Writers' Programme and writers such as Polly Stenham and Bola Agbaje have had their debut plays staged during his time. It was during his tenure that the massive successes of Jerusalem, Clybourne Park (directed by himself) and Enron were staged which both transferred to the West End.
Royal National Theatre
In November 2011 Cooke made his directing debut at the Royal National Theatre in London, with The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare. The play, with stage design by Bunny Christie, was set in modern-day London. The cast included Lenny Henry as Antipholus of Ephesus and Claudie Blakley as Adriana. The production was selected to be broadcast live to selected cinemas worldwide in March 2012 as part of the National Theatre Live programme.
In 2007 he wrote the stage adaptation of Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses which he directed and produced at the RSC. He also wrote an adaptation of Arabian Nights for Young Vic in 1998. He directed a revised version for the RSC in 2009.
- "Dominic Cooke Biography". Contemporary Writers. British Council. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- "Behind the scenes at the Royal Court: Dominic Cooke's year of living dangerously". The Guardian (London). 2010-01-03.
- Costa, Maddy (2006-04-20). "Shakespeare was daring - why aren't new writers?". The Guardian (London).
- Dominic Cooke http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/theatre/article-23384457-courting-controversy.do