Claire van Kampen

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Claire Louise van Kampen
Born November 1953 (age 64)
London, England
Occupation Director, composer, playwright
Spouse(s) Chris van Kampen (divorced)
Mark Rylance (m. 1989)
Children 2

Claire Louise van Kampen (born November 9 1953) is an English director, composer and playwright. She composed the music for Mark Rylance's 1989 performance as Hamlet and shared the 2007 Sam Wanamaker Award with him. Her composing credits include music for productions of the plays Days and Nights and Boeing-Boeing.

In 2015, she was historical music advisor and arranger of Tudor music on the BBC TV series Wolf Hall.

Early life[edit]

Van Kampen was born in Marylebone, London, England. She originally trained as a pianist at the Royal College of Music for five years, becoming the recipient of a John Land scholarship. As a girl she met David Munrow, a recorder player and pioneer of the early-music scene in England, and became interested in Renaissance music.[1]

Studying music theory with Dr Ruth Gipps, she also specialised in the performance of 20th century music, premiering many works by today's leading composers.


In 1986, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Royal National Theatre, the first female musical director with both companies. In 1990, she co-founded the theatre company Phoebus Cart with her husband Mark Rylance.

Since the opening of the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 1997, van Kampen has been the Director of Theatre Music, creating both period and contemporary music for 30 of the Globe's productions – including the 'jazz' Macbeth in 2001, and The Golden Ass in 2002, which contained a 30-minute opera Cupid and Psyche.

In spring 2007, she received the Vero Nihil Verius award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts, conferred upon her by Concordia University in Oregon, United States. Together with Mark Rylance and Jenny Tiramani, she received the 2007 Sam Wanamaker Award for the founding work during the opening ten years at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

Farinelli and the King is van Kampen's historical play about the relationship between Farinelli, the castrato, and the Spanish King Philippe V, first performed at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February and March 2015, and at the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End, London from September to December 2015, with Mark Rylance as Philippe V. it received six Olivier Award nominations including Best Play. In 2016 she directed Mark Rylance in Nice Fish at the St. Ann's Warehouse, New York. The production subsequently transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre[2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Van Kampen was previously married to an architect, Chris van Kampen, with whom she had two daughters, the actress Juliet Rylance and the late filmmaker Nataasha van Kampen.[4] She met Mark Rylance in 1987, and they married in Oxfordshire on 21 December 1989.[5]

Her daughter Nataasha died of a suspected brain haemorrhage on a flight from New York in July 2012 at the age of 28.[6]

Theatre (selected credits)[edit]

Year Play Theatre of Performance
1991 The Tempest Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
1994 As You Like It TFANA, New York City
2000 True West Circle in the Square Theatre, New York City
2007 Bash at the Trafalgar Studios Theatre of Memory, London
2007 Love's Labour's Lost Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
2007 Boeing Boeing Comedy Theatre
2007 I am Shakespeare Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester
2008 Peer Gynt Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis
2007 Boeing Boeing Longacre Theatre, New York City
2008 Peer Gynt Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis
2008 Romeo and Juliet Theatre of Memory at Middle Temple Hall, London
2008 The Clean House Royal & Derngate Theatre, London
2009 Helen Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London and US Tour
2009 Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching towards the Somme Hampstead Theatre, London
2009 King Lear Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
2010 Henry IV Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
2010 La Bete Music Box Theatre, London and Broadway
2012 Twelfth Night Apollo Theatre, London and Broadway


  1. ^ Cooper, Michael (29 November 2013). "Is This a Sackbut I Hear Before Me". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  2. ^ Rickwald, Bethany (20 January 2016). "St. Ann's Warehouse Extends Nice Fish and A Streetcar Named Desire". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  3. ^ Longman, Will (16 September 2016). "Mark Rylance's Nice Fish extends by three weeks". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  4. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew. "A Bridge of Two: In the Wings with Christian Camargo and Juliet Rylance".
  5. ^ Schulman, Michael (18 November 2013). "Play On". The New Yorker. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  6. ^ Baker, Richard Anthony (1 August 2012). "Nataasha van Kampen". The Stage. Retrieved 23 January 2015.

External links[edit]