John Tasker (theatre director)

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John Tasker
Died 1988
Occupation theatre director

John Tasker was at one time the lover of the English author, journalist, and broadcaster Colin Spencer. They met in Brighton in 1957, when both were 24 years old. Their off-and-on two-year relationship dramatically changed when Spencer married archaeologist Gillian Chapman in October 1959. Tasker went to Australia where he became a theatre director, and died of cancer in 1988. Tasker had arranged for his letters to be returned to Spencer. Upon re-reading them, Spencer published his book Which of Us Two[1] as a form of atonement.

Patrick White chose Tasker to produce the play The Ham Funeral for the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild (premiere in Union Hall in 1961). White's life partner Manoly Lascaris acknowledged Tasker as the 'virus' that re-infected White with the excitement of theatre.,[2] The Sydney Theatre Critics' Circle named their annual award for best freelance director after him.

Theatre productions[edit]

(incomplete list):
1961 - The Break
1961 - The Ham Funeral, by Patrick White (Union Hall)
1962 - The Good Woman of Setzuan, by Bertolt Brecht (Union Hall)
1962 - The Season at Sarsaparilla, by Patrick White (Union Hall)
1963 - Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles (Union Hall)
1964 - Night on Bald Mountain, by Patrick White (Union Hall)
1965 - The Representative, by Rolf Hochhuth (Union Hall)
1965 - Inadmissible Evidence, by
1968 - America Hurrah, by Van Itallie (New Theatre)
1968 - The Boys in the Band, by Mart Crowley (the Playbox)
1969 - Candy Stripe Balloon, revue starring Grahame Bond (Phillip Theatre)
1977 - Don't Piddle against the Wind, Mate, by Kenneth Ross (Jane Street Theater)
1978 - The Cassidy Album. (York Theatre)
1979 - Rusty Bugles, by Sumner Locke Elliott (New Theatre)
1981 - The Workroom, by Tom Kempinski (New Theatre)
1982 - The Samseng and The Chettiars’ Daughter (Singapore)
1982 - Duet for One, by Tom Kempinski (Marian Street)
1983 - Caravan, by Donald Macdonald (Marian Street)
1986 - Absurd Person Singular, by Alan Ayckbourn (Northside)
1987 - As Is, by William Hoffman (Seymour Downstairs)


  1. ^ Spencer, Colin (1990), Which of Us Two? The Story of a Love Affair, London: Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-012823-9 
  2. ^ Marr, David (1991), Patrick White - A Life, Random House Australia, Sydney, ISBN 0-09-182722-1