Trevor Nunn

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Sir
Trevor Nunn
CBE
Born Trevor Robert Nunn
(1940-01-14) 14 January 1940 (age 78)
Ipswich, Suffolk, England
Occupation Theatre director
Years active 1960s–present
Spouse(s) Janet Suzman
(1969–86; divorced)
Sharon Lee-Hill
(1986–91; divorced)
Imogen Stubbs
(1994–2011; separated)
Children 5

Sir Trevor Robert Nunn, CBE (born 14 January 1940) is an English theatre director. Nunn has been the Artistic Director for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, and, currently, the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. He has directed dramas for the stage, like Macbeth, as well as opera and musicals, such as Cats (1981) and Les Misérables (1985).

Nunn has been nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play, the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical, winning Tonys for Cats, Les Misérables, and Nicholas Nickleby and the Olivier Awards for productions of Summerfolk, The Merchant of Venice, Troilus and Cressida, and Nicholas Nickleby. In 2008 The Telegraph named him among the most influential people in British culture.[1] He has also directed works for film and television.

Early years[edit]

Nunn was born in Ipswich, England, to Robert Alexander Nunn, a cabinetmaker, and Dorothy May Piper.[2] As a small boy he loved reading but his parents had little money for books. However an aunt had more books, including a complete Shakespeare which he devoured whenever the family visited her. In the end she gave it to him.[3]

He was educated at Northgate Grammar School, Ipswich and Downing College, Cambridge.[4] At Northgate, he had an inspiring English teacher, Peter Hewett, who also directed the school plays. Hewett encouraged him to sit the scholarship exam in Cambridge in the hope of studying under F. R. Leavis at Downing. Hewett also persuaded the headmaster to help with the cost of Nunn staying in Cambridge to take the exam. Nunn's father could not afford it and the headmaster had refused at first so Nunn was close to giving up.[3] At Downing, Nunn began his stage career and first met contemporaries Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi.[4] In 1962, he directed Macbeth for The Marlowe Society and he directed that year's Footlights.[5] He also won a Director's Scholarship, becoming a trainee director at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.[4]

Career[edit]

In 1964, Nunn joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 1968 he was appointed Artistic Director of the RSC, a position he held until 1986 (latterly with Terry Hands from 1978).[4]

His first wife, Janet Suzman, appeared in many of his productions, such as the 1974 televised version of his Antony and Cleopatra.[6] Nunn directed the RSC production of Macbeth starring Ian McKellen in the title role and Dame Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth in 1976.[7] Nunn staged the action of the drama with not only the paying audience, but also the audience of all of the actors in the production not in the ongoing scene—they sat on wooden crates just beyond the main playing space.[8]

Nunn became a leading figure in theatrical circles, and was responsible for many significant productions, such as the RSC's version of Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby, co-directed with John Caird,[4] and a 1976 musical adaptation of the Shakespeare play The Comedy of Errors.[9][10]

A very successful director of musicals, in the non-subsidised sector, Nunn directed the musical Cats (1981),[11] formerly the longest running musical in Broadway's history, and the first English production of Les Misérables in 1985, also with John Caird, which has been running continuously in London since opening.[4][12] Nunn also directed the little-known 1986 Webber–Rice musical Cricket, at Windsor Castle.[13] Besides Cats and Les Misérables Nunn's other musical credits include Starlight Express[14] and Sunset Boulevard.[15] He became Artistic Director of the Royal National Theatre in September 1997,[4] a position he retained until 2003.

Later London credits include My Fair Lady,[16] South Pacific (at the Royal National Theatre),[17]The Woman in White,[18]Othello and Acorn Antiques: The Musical! (2005),[19]The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Rock 'n' Roll[20] and Porgy and Bess in 2006 at the Savoy Theatre (an abridged version with dialogue instead of recitatives, unlike Nunn's first production of the opera).[21]

He directed We Happy Few, a play by his second wife Imogen Stubbs, in 2004.[22] Stubbs often appears in his productions, including the 1996 Twelfth Night film. Nunn directed a modern production of Shakespeare's Hamlet in 2004, which starred Ben Whishaw in the title role, and Imogen Stubbs as Gertrude, and was staged at the Old Vic Theatre in London.[23]

In 2007, he directed the RSC productions of King Lear and The Seagull, which played at Stratford before embarking on a world tour (including the Brooklyn Academy of Music) and then playing at the New London Theatre from November 2007. The two plays both starred Ian McKellen, Romola Garai, Frances Barber, Sylvester McCoy, and William Gaunt.[24] Nunn's television production of King Lear was screened on Boxing Day, 2008 with McKellen in the title role.[25]

In 2008, he returned to The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry (the theatre where he started his career) to direct Joanna Murray-Smith's adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's film Scenes from a Marriage starring Imogen Stubbs and Iain Glen.[26] His musical adaptation of Gone with the Wind opened at the New London Theatre in April 2008 and, after poor reviews, closed on 14 June 2008 after 79 performances.[27] In December 2008, he directed a revival of A Little Night Music at the Menier Chocolate Factory, which transferred to the West End at the Garrick Theatre in 2009.[28] The production transferred to Broadway, opening in November 2009, with Catherine Zeta-Jones as Desiree Armfeldt and Angela Lansbury as Madame Armfeldt. Other members of the original London cast also transferred with the production. The production closed in January 2011 after 425 performances.[29]

In 2010, Nunn directed a revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Aspects of Love from July to September 2010 at the Menier Chocolate Factory[30] and the play Birdsong, which opened in September 2010 at the Comedy Theatre, based on the Sebastian Faulks novel of the same title.[31]

Nunn marked his debut as Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, with a revival of Flare Path (as part of the playwright, Terence Rattigan's, centenary year celebrations). The production, starring Sienna Miller, James Purefoy and Sheridan Smith, opened in March 2011 and closed in June 2011,[32] and was followed by productions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, (June – August 2011)[33] and The Tempest, starring Ralph Fiennes (September – October 2011).[34] His final production at the Haymarket, The Lion in Winter (November 2011 – January 2012), stars Joanna Lumley and Robert Lindsay.[35]

Nunn retuend to the Haymarket in 2014 to direct the play Fatal Attraction.[36]

Film and opera[edit]

Nunn has directed opera at Glyndebourne. He re-staged his highly successful Glyndebourne production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess for television in 1993,[4] and was highly praised.[37][38]

He has directed for film, including Lady Jane (1986), Hedda, an adaptation of Hedda Gabler, and a 1996 film version of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Nunn has been married three times. He was married to actress Janet Suzman from 17 October 1969 until their divorce in 1986. They have one child, Joshua. The Times reported in April 1986: "Janet Suzman, aged 47, the actress, was granted a divorce in London yesterday from Trevor Nunn, aged 46, the theatre director ... They have a son, Joshua, aged five."[40][41] He has another two children, Laurie and Amy, with his second wife, Sharon Lee-Hill; they divorced in 1991. According to The Times, "Trevor Nunn, the theatre director, was divorced yesterday by his wife Sharon Lee Hill."[42][43][44]

In 1994, he married actress Imogen Stubbs with whom he has two children, Ellie and Jesse. The Press Association reported on 18 September 1994: "Director Trevor Nunn and actress Imogen Stubbs, who wed in secret at a London register office on Saturday, had their marriage blessed today in a low-key service at a village church."[45] In April 2011 Stubbs announced that she and Sir Trevor were to separate.[44]

In 1998 Nunn was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the Labour Party.[46] In 2002, he was knighted.[43]

As of May 2011, Nunn was in a relationship with Nancy Dell'Olio,[47] but by the end of the year it was reported the relationship had ended.[48]

In 2014, Nunn told the Telegraph that Shakespeare was his religion. “Shakespeare has more wisdom and insight about our lives, about how to live and how not to live, how to forgive and how to understand our fellow creatures, than any religious tract. One hundred times more than the Bible. I’m sorry to say that. But over and over again in the plays there is an understanding of the human condition that doesn’t exist in religious books.”[49]

Credits[edit]

Broadway[edit]

Source: Internet Broadway Database Listing[50]

  • A Little Night Music – 13 December 2009 – 20 June 2010, re-opened 13 July 2010
  • Rock 'n' Roll – 4 November 2007 – 9 March 2008
  • Les Misérables (revival) – 9 November 2006 – 6 January 2008
  • The Woman in White – 17 November 2005 – 19 February 2006
  • Chess – 22 September 2003 (Benefit Concert)
  • Vincent in Brixton (as original producer) – 6 March 2003 – 4 May 2003
  • Oklahoma! – 21 March 2002 – 23 February 2003
  • Noises Off (as original producer) – 1 November 2001 – 1 September 2002
  • Rose Written by Martin Sherman (as original producer) – 12 April 2000 – 20 May 2000
  • Copenhagen (as original producer) – 11 April 2000 – 21 January 2001
  • Amy's View (as original producer) – 15 April 1999 – 18 July 1999
  • Closer (as original producer) – 25 March 1999 – 22 August 1999
  • Not About Nightingales – 25 February 1999 – 13 June 1999
  • Arcadia – 30 March 1995 – 27 August 1995
  • Sunset Boulevard – 17 November 1994 – 22 March 1997
  • Aspects of Love – 8 April 1990 – 2 March 1991
  • Chess – 28 April 1988 – 25 June 1988
  • Starlight Express – 15 March 1987 – 8 January 1989
  • Les Misérables – 12 March 1987 – 18 May 2003
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby – 24 August 1986 – 12 October 1986
  • André DeShield's Harlem Nocturne (Featuring songs with lyrics by Trevor Nunn) – 18 November 1984 – 30 December 1984
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (as original producer) – 16 October 1984 – 19 January 1985
  • Much Ado About Nothing (as original producer) – 14 October 1984 – 16 January 1985
  • All's Well that Ends Well – 13 April 1983 – 15 May 1983
  • Good (as original producer) – 13 October 1982 – 30 January 1983
  • Cats – 7 October 1982 – 10 September 2000
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby – 4 October 1981 – 3 January 1982
  • Piaf – 5 February 1981 – 28 June 1981
  • London Assurance (as original producer) – 5 December 1974 – 12 January 1975
  • Sherlock Holmes (as original producer) – 12 November 1974 – 4 January 1976
  • Old Times (as original producer) – 16 November 1971 – 26 February 1972
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (as original producer) – 20 January 1971 – 13 March 1971

West End[edit]

Source: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

  • A Chorus of Disapproval – 2012
  • The Lion in Winter – 2011
  • Flare Path – 2011
  • Birdsong – 2010
  • Aspects of Love – 2010
  • A Little Night Music – 2009
  • Inherit The Wind – 2009
  • Gone with the Wind – 2008
  • King Lear – 2007
  • The Seagull – 2007
  • Porgy and Bess – 2006
  • Acorn Antiques: The Musical! – 2005
  • The Woman in White – 2004
  • Anything Goes – 2002
  • South Pacific – 2001
  • My Fair Lady – 2001
  • Oklahoma! – 1998
  • Sunset Boulevard – 1993
  • The Baker's Wife – 1989
  • Aspects of Love – 1989
  • Chess – 1986
  • Les Misérables – 1985
  • Starlight Express – 1984
  • Cats – 1981

Film[edit]

Source: Contemporary British and Irish film Directors[39]

Television[edit]

  • Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1979)
  • BBC2 Playhouse (TV series) – (1 episode, 1979)
  • The Three Sisters (1981 TV movie)
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982 TV mini-series)
  • Othello (1990 TV movie)
  • Porgy and Bess (1993 TV movie)
  • Oklahoma! (1999 TV movie)
  • The Merchant of Venice (2001 TV movie)
  • King Lear (2008 TV Movie)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Sources: Internet Broadway Database Listing[50] Tony Awards Database (broadwayworld.com)[51] Drama Desk History[52] Olivier Awards, Past Nominees and Winners[53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The 100 most powerful people in British culture: 61-80". The Telegraph. 18 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Trevor Nunn Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  3. ^ a b Sir Trevor Nunn, interviewed on Desert Island Discs, repeat broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra, 5 Apr 2015
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Stars Over Broadway:Trevor Nunn" pbs.org, accessed 16 November 2011
  5. ^ Norman Armstrong, Headmaster's Report, Northgate Grammar School for Boys Magazine, Winter 1962, page 12
  6. ^ Antony and Cleopatra on IMDb
  7. ^ "'Macbeth', 1976, Production Listing" calm.shakespeare.org.uk, accessed 16 November 2011
  8. ^ Rowe, Katherine."'Macbeth', Trevor Nunn" Macbeth: Evans Shakespeare Editions (2011), Cengage Learning, ISBN 0-495-91120-8, pp. 59–60
  9. ^ Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Archive Catalogue
  10. ^ "'The Comedy of Errors' Productions" Royal Shakespeare Company, accessed 16 November 2011
  11. ^ "'Cats' History" Archived 14 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. catsthemusical.com (reallyuseful.com), accessed 16 November 2011
  12. ^ Masters, Tim (1 October 2010). "Bon Anniversaire! 25 Facts About Les Mis". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  13. ^ "'Cricket' Production History" timrice.co.uk, accessed 16 November 2011
  14. ^ "'Starlight Express', The Original Creative Team" Archived 13 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. reallyuseful.com, accessed 9 December 2011
  15. ^ Rich, Frank. "Upstaging a New Lloyd Webber Musical" New York Times (abstract), 14 July 1993
  16. ^ "My Fair Lady Facts" myfairladythemusical.com, accessed 5 December 2011
  17. ^ "National Theatre archive of 'South Pacific'" nationaltheatre.org.uk
  18. ^ "'The Woman in White' Craetive Team" reallyuseful.com, accessed 9 December 2011
  19. ^ Bartlett, Chris.Review: 'Acorn Antiques – The Musical!'"The Stage (UK), 17 February 2005
  20. ^ Gans, Andrew and Nathan, John.Stoppard's Rock 'N' Roll Is Heading to Broadway" Archived 17 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 15 February 2007
  21. ^ "Press views: Porgy And Bess". BBC News. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  22. ^ Billington, Michael."'We Happy Few' review" The Guardian, 4 July 2004
  23. ^ Spencer, Charles."An unforgettable and most lovable 'Hamlet'" The Telegraph, 28 April 2004
  24. ^ Riding, Alan."Every Inch a King (and Buff, Too)" The New York Times, 2 September 2007
  25. ^ "'King Lear' Production History" mckellen.com, accessed 16 November 2011
  26. ^ Spencer, Charles."'Scenes from a Marriage': Love laid daringly bare" The Telegraph", 17 January 2008
  27. ^ Gans, Andrew and Mark Shenton."London Musical 'Gone with the Wind' to Close" Archived 10 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.Playbill.com, 30 May 2008
  28. ^ Shenton, Mark."Isn't It Rich?: Menier 'A Little Night Music' Arrives in the West End March 28" Archived 1 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 28 March 2009
  29. ^ Gans, Andrew."Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch Extend Run in Broadway's A Little Night Music" Archived 8 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill.com, 5 October 2010
  30. ^ Bosanquet, Theo.Nunn Revives Aspects of Love at Menier, 15 Jul whatsonstage.com, 18 February 2010
  31. ^ "Casting: Birdsong Starring Ben Barnes". West End Theatre. 9 August 2010.
  32. ^ "Flare Path Closes at the Theatre Royal Haymarket" Broadway World, 11 June 2011
  33. ^ Hitchings, Henry."Review:'Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead'" Archived 2 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. thisislondon.co.uk, 22 June 2011
  34. ^ Billington, Michael."'The Tempest'- Review" The Guardian, 7 September 2011
  35. ^ Billington, Michael."'The Lion in Winter' – review" The Guardian, 15 November 2011
  36. ^ "'Fatal Attraction' to become a stage play, will debut in London". latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  37. ^ O'Connor, John J. (6 October 1993). "Review/Television; Two Law Series Return, With Some Revisions". The New York Times abstract. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  38. ^ "Porgy & Bess Movie DVD Review – About.com". Homevideo.about.com. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  39. ^ a b Allon, Yoram, Cullen, Del and Patterson, Hannah. "Trevor Nunn"Contemporary British and Irish film Directors (2001), Wallflower Press, ISBN 1-903364-21-3, p. 252
  40. ^ (no author). "Divorce for Janet Suzman", The Times (London), 19 April 1986
  41. ^ "Janet Suzman Biography-see Companions and Family" tcm.com, accessed April 20, 2012
  42. ^ (no author). "Nunn divorce", The Times, 21 May 1991, Home news
  43. ^ a b Dickson, Andrew. "Trevor Nunn Life in Theatre" The Guardian, 18 November 2011
  44. ^ a b "Imogen Stubbs and Sir Trevor Nunn separate after 21 years". Daily Telegraph. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
  45. ^ (no author). "Actress Imogen Goes Back To Her Roots For Marriage Blessing", Press Association, 18 September 1994, Home News
  46. ^ "'Luvvies' for Labour". BBC News. 30 August 1998.
  47. ^ Walker, Tim; Eden, Richard (1 May 2011). "Sven-Goran Eriksson's former lover Nancy Dell'Olio insists: 'I'm drawn to men of passion'". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  48. ^ "Nancy Dell'Olio loses court action over "man eater" newspaper comments". The Telegraph. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  49. ^ "Trevor Nunn: 'The Bard is more relevant than the Bible'". Telegraph.co.uk. 16 March 2014.
  50. ^ a b "Trevor Nunn Listing" Internet Broadway Database (broadwayworld.com), accessed 17 November 2011
  51. ^ "Trevor Nunn Listing, Tony Awards" broadwayworld.com, accessed 17 November 2011
  52. ^ "Drama Desk History" Archived 18 May 2008 at Archive.is dramadesk.com, accessed 17 November 2011
  53. ^ "Olivier Awards, Past Nominees and Winners" olivierawards.com, accessed 17 November 2011
  54. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Betty Buckley, Sam Waterston, Trevor Nunn, Christopher Durang, Andre Bishop Among Theater Hall of Fame Inductees". www.playbill.com. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]