Deborah Warner

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Deborah Warner
Born (1959-05-12) 12 May 1959 (age 58)
Oxfordshire, England
Occupation Theatre director
Years active 1980–present

Deborah Warner CBE (born 12 May 1959) is a British director of theatre and opera known for her interpretations of the works of Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Georg Büchner, and Henrik Ibsen.

Early life[edit]

Warner was born in Oxfordshire, England, to antiquarians Roger Harold Metford Warner and Ruth Ernestine Hurcombe.[1] After attending Sidcot School and St. Clare's school in Oxford, she studied Stage Management at Central School of Speech and Drama.[2] In 1980 she founded the KICK theatre company when she was 21.[3]


Deborah Warner's ENO production of Handel's Messiah (London Coliseum, 2009)


In 1987 Warner joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she directed Titus Andronicus and where she also began her long-time collaboration with Fiona Shaw. Warner and Shaw have collaborated on plays including Electra (RSC); The Good Person of Sezuan (1989, National Theatre); Hedda Gabler (1991, The Abbey Theatre and BBC2); the controversial Richard II, with Shaw in the title role, also at the National Theatre (1995) and televised by BBC2; Footfalls, whose radical staging so enraged the Beckett estate that the production was pulled during its run; The PowerBook, at the National Theatre, a dramatisation of Jeanette Winterson's novel; Medea (2000–2001, Queen's Theatre and Broadway); and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, in which Shaw played the small part of Portia. The production starred Ralph Fiennes and Simon Russell Beale; first staged at the Barbican Centre, it later toured Europe. Shaw and Warner toured the world with T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, which began in Wilton's Music Hall in London's East End. Her work began to focus on the link of drama to places, a theme which was expanded upon in her Angel Project. In 2007, following negotiations with the Beckett estate, Warner directed Shaw in Happy Days at the National Theatre, followed in 2009 by Mother Courage and Her Children (with Shaw in the title role) at the same venue. She returned to the Barbican Centre in 2011 to direct The School for Scandal. She also directed the 1999 film The Last September with Michael Gambon and Maggie Smith

Opera and classical music[edit]

Warner has also worked extensively in field of opera and classical music, including a production of The Diary of One Who Disappeared by Janáček starring Ian Bostridge; a staging of the St. John Passion at English National Opera; a controversial staging of Mozart's Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne;[2][4] Wozzeck for Opera North; Death in Venice and Between Worlds at English National Opera; and Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Les Arts Florissants in Vienna, Paris and Amsterdam. Other notable productions include opening the 2015/15 season at La Scala, Milan with Fidelio conducted by Daniel Barenboim and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at the Metropolitan Opera New York in the 2013/2014 season.

She frequently collaborates with Irish actress Fiona Shaw[5] and with Canadian set designer Michael Levine.[6]


Warner directed the 1999 film The Last September.

Personal life[edit]

Warner was made a commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) on 17 June 2006, "for services to drama".[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]




External links[edit]