David Thacker     c1961-          Original Material John Cook

Masses of web sites with material on David Thacker.  For example:

Shakespeare's Globe goes North:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/arts/2007/03/26/btglobe126.xml

Director Royal Shakespeare Company, b. 1950
: Wellingborough Grammar School; York University
RSC: Joined 1989; Resident Director, 1993-95
Productions: Pericles (Swan, 1989/Pit, 1990); The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Swan, 1991/Barbican, 1992/Barbican, 1993); As You Like It (RST, 1992/Barbican, 1993); The Merry Wives of Windsor (RST, 1992); The Merchant of Venice (RST, 1993/Barbican, 1994); Julius Caesar (TOP, 1993/Small-scale Tour, 1993-94); Coriolanus (Swan, 1994/Barbican, 1995); Bingo (Young Vic and Swan, 1995/Small-scale Tour, 1995-96); The Tempest (Young Vic and Swan, 1995/Small-scale Tour, 1995-96)

David Thacker worked for ten years in regional theatres before succeeding Frank Dunlop as artistic director of the Young Vic (1984). It was the beginning of a new era for the venue. Thacker sidelined the traditional youth policy, programmed the plays of a select group of classical and modern masters (Shakespeare, Ibsen, Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee), and pursued prestige in casting. At a time when fringe venues either served a minority interest or staged left-wing new writing and little else, Thacker's Young Vic was commendably ambitious, the precursor of Jonathan Kent's Almeida and Sam Mendes's Donmar.

In listing Thacker's Young Vic work it is the names of the leading players that indicate the appeal of those years: Vanessa Redgrave and Tom Wilkinson in Ibsen's Ghosts (1986, also Wyndham's); Billie Whitelaw and Patrick Stewart in Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1987); Saskia Reeves in Measure for Measure (1987); Tom Wilkinson in Ibsen's An Enemy of the People (1988); Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Dalton in O'Neill's A Touch of the Poet (1988, also Comedy); Helen Mirren and Bob Peck in Miller's Two-Way Mirror (1989); Susannah York in The Glass Menagerie (1989, also UK Tour); Natasha Richardson in O'Neill's Anna Christie (1990); Trevor Eve and Rudi Davies in The Winter's Tale (1991); and Zoë Wanamaker in Miller's The Last Yankee (1993).

In 1993 Thacker left the Young Vic and accepted the position of resident director at the RSC (he had previously staged two enjoyably accessible productions in the Swan—Pericles in 1989 and The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 1991). The Stratford main stage exposed a fatal lack of inspired stagecraft in his direction: As You Like It (1992); The Merry Wives of Windsor (1992); The Merchant of Venice (1993).

His strength lies in interpreting the work of 20th century American playwrights, those great heavy plodders of world drama. His relationship with Arthur Miller, established at the Young Vic, was particularly rewarding—A View from the Bridge (Bristol Old Vic, 1994, Strand, 1995); Broken Glass (NT Lyttelton, 1994, Duke of York's, 1995); Death of a Salesman (NT Lyttelton, 1996). Television:

A Doll's House (BBC, 1992); Measure for Measure (1994); Death of a Salesman (1996); Broken Glass (BBC, 1996); The Scold's Bridle (BBC, 1998); The Vice (ITV, 2000); Grafters (ITV, 1998); The Mayor of Casterbridge (ITV, 2003); Faith (BBC, 2005).


Shakespeare North Project

In a major coup for the project, award-winning theatre and TV director David Thacker has been appointed as Executive Director of Shakespeare North Trust to spearhead the final phase of the bid, which will be submitted in May.  David has directed 16 of Shakespeare’s plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic and the Duke’s Playhouse, Lancaster.

Speaking at a meeting of leading business and theatre consultants in which Helm Architects and David Thacker introduced the project, David Thacker said:  “Shakespeare North at the Cockpit is one of the most exciting and important projects with which I’ve ever been associated. I’m deeply honoured to have been appointed as Executive Director to lead the process of trying to secure £27m from Big Lottery and other partners. Creating Shakespeare North at The Cockpit in Prescot, close to the site of the original Playhouse, would celebrate Knowsley’s role in the development of British theatre and of Shakespeare’s work in particular, and would provide a massive boost to the continuing regeneration of Knowsley.

 This is an opportunity that must not be missed. We owe it to Shakespeare, to our children and to our children’s children.”


Shakespeare North Whitehall Reception  11 May 2007. 

Right: David Thacker and Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell. 

Below David Thacker and Patrick Stewart

Photo Miranda Watson