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American Writers on the English Stage

Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge played to packed houses in the West End earlier this year. Other American playwrights from Tennessee Williams to David Mamet have similarly strong appeal for British audiences. Professor Jonathan Bate talks to the director Lindsay Posner, who directed A View From The Bridge, and actor Allan Corduner, who played Alfieri, about the challenges and special appeal of interpreting American writers for the English stage.

Lindsay Posner was associate director at the Royal Court Theatre from 1987 to 1992 where his production of Death and the Maiden won two Laurence Olivier Awards. His theatre credits include: A View From The Bridge (Duke of York’s), Carousel (UK tour and Savoy), Fool for Love (Apollo), Tom and Viv (Almeida), Romance (Almeida), The Birthday Party (Duchess), Oleanna (Garrick), Power and Tartuffe (NT), The Caretaker (Bristol Old Vic), Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Comedy), Twelfth Night, The Rivals, Volpone and The Taming of the Shrew (RSC), American Buffalo (Young Vic) and The Provok’d Wife (Old Vic).

Allan Corduner is a familiar face both in films and on television. He has appeared in Yentl, Vera Drake, Topsy-Turvy and most recently Defiance, with Daniel Craig, as well as in Foyle’s War, Rome, Inspector Morse and Daniel Deronda. Earlier this year he played Alfieri in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge with Ken Stott, Hayley Atwell and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, directed by Lindsay Posner, at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London. He has most recently appeared as Horace Vandergelder in the acclaimed Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Hello Dolly!

Professor Jonathan Bate CBE FBA is Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick and a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also held visiting lecturer posts at various US universities. He is the author of several literary volumes, including Shakespeare and Ovid (1993) and The Genius of Shakespeare (1997), and editor of the Arden edition of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (1995). John Clare: A Biography (2003) won the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for biography). His latest book is Soul of the Age: The Life, Mind and World of William Shakespeare (2009) – an intellectual and contextual biography of Shakespeare.