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Maxwell Robert Guthrie Stewart ('Max') Stafford-Clark (born 17 March 1941) is an English theatre director.
Life and career
Stafford-Clark was educated at Felsted and Riverdale Country School in New York City. He has worked as a theatre director since he left Trinity College, Dublin. He was at Trinity at the same time as Terence Brady, Ralph Bates and Roger Ordish, who all went on to successful careers in acting and/or theatre production. He was also a near contemporary of the poet Michael Longley, whose work he read as a student.
His directing career began as associate director of the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in 1966. He became artistic director there from 1968–70. He was director of the Traverse Theatre Workshop Company from 1970 to 1974.
Stafford-Clark co-founded the Joint Stock Theatre Company in 1974. Joint Stock worked with writers using company research to inspire workshops. From these workshops, writers such as David Hare, Howard Brenton and Caryl Churchill would garner material to inspire a writing phase before rehearsals began. This methodology is sometimes referred to as The Joint Stock Method. Productions during this period included Hare's Fanshen (1975), Brenton's Epsom Downs and Churchill's Cloud Nine (1979) which Stafford-Clark directed, as well as The Speakers, which was the first promenade production in England.
From 1979 to 1993 he was Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre. He remains to date the Court's longest serving Artistic Director. In a difficult period for new writing, he helped nurture emerging playwrights such as Andrea Dunbar, Hanif Kureishi, Sarah Daniels and Jim Cartwright. His regular collaborators on his productions included the singer Ian Dury. During this time the theatre's productions included Victory by Howard Barker, The Arbor by Andrea Dunbar, Insignificance by Terry Johnson, Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker and Rat in the Skull by Ron Hutchinson. Perhaps the most important commission and production of this era was Top Girls by Caryl Churchill (1982).
He has also staged productions for Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival.
Out of Joint
- 2000 A State Affair by Robin Soans (Out of Joint/Soho Theatre)
- 2000 Rita, Sue and Bob Too by Andrea Dunbar (Out of Joint/Soho Theatre)
- 2001 Feelgood by Alistair Beaton (Out of Joint, Hampstead Theatre and the Garrick Theatre)
- 2001 Sliding with Suzanne by Judy Upton (Out of Joint/The Royal Court)
- 2002 Hinterland by Sebastian Barry (Out of Joint/The National Theatre)
- 2002 A Laughing Matter by April De Angelis (Out of Joint/The National Theatre)
- 2002 She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (Out of Joint/The National Theatre)
- 2003 The Breath of Life by David Hare (Sydney Theatre Company)
- 2003 Duck by Stella Feehily (Out of Joint/Royal Court)
- 2003 The Permanent Way by David Hare (Out of Joint/The National Theatre)
- 2004 Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Out of Joint)
- 2005 Talking to Terrorists by Robin Soans (Out of Joint/Royal Court)
- 2006 The Overwhelming by JT Rogers (Out of Joint/The National Theatre)
- 2007 King of Hearts by Alistair Beaton (Out of Joint, Hampstead Theatre)
- 2008 The Convicts Opera - Stephen Jeffreys - Based On The Beggars Opera
- 2009 Dreams of Violence by Stella Feehily - (Out of Joint/Soho Theatre)
- 2009 Mixed Up North by Robin Soans - (Out of Joint/Octagon Theatre Bolton)
- 2010 Andersen's English by Sebastian Barry (Out of Joint/Hampstead Theatre
- 2010 The Big Fellah by Richard Bean (Out of Joint/Lyric Hammersmith)
- 2011 A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson adapted by Russell Barr, Ian Redford & Max Stafford-Clark from James Boswell.
- 2011 Bang Bang Bang by Stella Feehily - (Out of Joint/Royal Court Theatre/ Octagon Theatre Bolton/ Salisbury Playhouse/ Leicester Curve)
- 2011 Top Girls by Caryl Churchill - (Out of Joint, Chichester Festival Theatre)
- 2012 Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker - (Out of Joint)
- 2014 This May Hurt A Bit by Stella Feehily
- 2014 Pitcairn by Richard Bean
- 2015 Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage by Robin Soans
Stafford-Clark married, first, Carole Hayman in 1971 and, after that marriage was dissolved, Ann Pennington in 1981. In 2006, Stafford-Clark suffered a stroke. He returned to work and directed the production of The Overwhelming on Broadway in October 2007, as well as continuing to direct for Out of Joint. In August 2010 he married his third wife, the playwright Stella Feehily. He has one daughter, Kitty Stafford-Clark, by his second marriage.
- Ritchie, R. (1987), The Joint Stock Book, London: Methuen ISBN 0-413-41030-7
- Stafford-Clark, M. (1997), Letters to George: The Account of a Rehearsal, London: Nick Hern Books ISBN 1-85459-317-X
- Stafford-Clark, M. and Roberts, P. (2007), Taking Stock: The Theatre of Max Stafford-Clark, London: Nick Hern Books ISBN 1-85459-840-6
- Stafford-Clark, M. with McKeown, M. (2010), Our Country's Good: Page to Stage, London: Nick Hern Books ISBN 978-1-84842-043-4
- Philip Roberts and Max Stafford-Clark, Taking Stock: the Theatre of Max Stafford-Clark, 2007
- Masters, Time. "Beckett festival to feature play in the dark". BBC.
- Slater, Sasha. "Going to the Opera". Harper's Bazaar.
- Thorpe, Vanessa. "Sophie Hunter: The opera director who has to dodge paparazzie". Sophie Hunter Central.
- Kennedy, Maev. "Happy Days festival's Beckett treats to include a German Godot". The Guardian.