Richard Digby Day

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Richard Digby Day (born 27 December 1941) is a British stage director and international professor and lecturer. He is particularly well known for his work in the classical theater, and is considered to have a special penchant for the plays of William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. He is Vice President of the Shaw Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and has staged more productions of Shaw's work than any other living director. His productions of Stephen Sondheim musicals have also been notable.

Artistic Directorships[edit]

Digby Day has been Artistic Director of five major regional theaters in the UK: the Bournemouth Theatre Company (from 1966 to 1968); the New Shakespeare Company at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park (from 1968 to 1985); the Welsh National Theatre Company (from 1969 to 1971); the York Theatre Royal (from 1971 to 1976); the Nottingham Playhouse (from 1980 to 1984); and the Northcott Theatre, (from 1977 to 1980).

Additionally, his work has been seen in the West End and on tour extensively throughout the UK, Canada, Denmark, and Ireland. Particularly successful were his touring productions of Sondheim's A Little Night Music and Company, Shaw's The Devil's Disciple, Somerset Maugham's Our Betters, and J M Barrie's Peter Pan. He directed Geraldine McEwan at the National Theatre in Two Inches of Ivory, a production about Jane Austen that has been seen all over the world under the auspices of the British Council, the UK's official international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

Career as a Professor[edit]

Richard Digby Day has taught and lectured in many programs and universities both in the UK and in North America. Since 2003 he has been Principal of the London Dramatic Academy of Fordham University. He previously served on the faculty at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, as well as the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, the National Theatre School of Canada, and the graduate program of Columbia University where he directed the Shakespeare Project for two years. Currently, Digby Day is teaching theatre classes for the students of Fordham University in the London Centre at Heythrop University.

From 1998–2002, he was Principal of the London Academy of Theatre, a classical theater program for American students in the UK. From 1990 to 1998, he was director of the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. During this period, he served on the Regional Committee of the Arts Council of Great Britain, on the National Council for Drama Training, was Chairman of the Drama Panel of the Yorkshire Arts Association, and taught regularly at colleges and universities throughout the United States. He also served on the Board of the Drama League of New York and helped found their Directors Project. In 1997 he was named Adjunct Professor of Theater at Connecticut College where he had worked since 1984.

Trivia[edit]

Richard Digby Day is a contemporary of British actor Ian McKellen, and the two began their professional careers working on many of the same productions with Digby Day serving as assistant director.

As an actor, he appeared in the role of Swiss Cheese in the Midlands premiere of Brecht's Mother Courage in Stratford-upon-Avon, 1961.[1]

He is credited with discovering actors Ralph Fiennes and Hugh Grant.

He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was the school's first ever directing student.

Sources and links[edit]

Interview with Richard Digby Day - a British Library Theatre Archive Project sound recording

For production photos of some Shakespeare plays Digby Day staged at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park during the early 1970s, visit: http://www.ahds.rhul.ac.uk/ahdscollections/docroot/shakespeare/performancedetails.do?performanceId=11870 and http://www.ahds.rhul.ac.uk/ahdscollections/docroot/shakespeare/performancedetails.do?performanceId=11649

A brief profile of Richard Digby Day can be found at the Northcott Theatre website: http://www.northcott-theatre.co.uk/people/digbyday.html

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shout it from the Rooftops," Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, April 1961.