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Deborah Warner

Deborah Warner
Born (1959-05-12) 12 May 1959 (age 56)
Oxfordshire, England
Occupation Theatre director
Years active 1980–present

Deborah Warner CBE (born 12 May 1959) is a British director of theatre and opera known for her interpretations of the works of Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Georg Büchner, and Henrik Ibsen. She is a frequent collaborator of Irish actress Fiona Shaw.[1]

Early life

Warner was born in Oxfordshire, England, to antiquarians Roger Harold Metford Warner and Ruth Ernestine Hurcombe.[2] After attending Sidcot School and then St. Clare's school in Oxford, she studied stage management at Central School of Speech and Drama.[3] In 1980 she founded the KICK theatre company when she was 21.[4] Warner was raised as a Quaker but no longer practises the faith.[5]



In 1987 Warner joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she would later direct Titus Andronicus. At the RSC she began her long-time collaboration with Fiona Shaw. The two women have collaborated on plays including Electra (RSC); The Good Person of Sezuan (1989, National Theatre); Hedda Gabler (1991, The Abbey Theatre and BBC2); the controversial Richard II, with Shaw in the title role, also at the National Theatre (1995) and televised by BBC2; Footfalls, whose radical staging so enraged the Beckett estate that the production was pulled during its run; The PowerBook, at the National Theatre, a dramatisation of Jeanette Winterson's novel; Medea (2000–2001, Queen's Theatre and Broadway); and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, in which Shaw played the small part of Portia. The production starred Ralph Fiennes and Simon Russell Beale; first staged at the Barbican Centre, it later toured Europe. Shaw and Warner toured the world with T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, which began in Wilton's Music Hall in London's East End. Her work began to focus on the link of drama to places, a theme which was expanded upon in her Angel Project. In 2007, following negotiations with the Beckett estate, Warner directed Shaw in Happy Days at the National Theatre, followed in 2009 by Mother Courage and Her Children (with Shaw in the title role) at the same venue. She returned to the Barbican Centre in 2011 to direct The School for Scandal.

Opera and classical music

She directed the 1999 film The Last September with Michael Gambon and Maggie Smith. She has also worked in opera and classical music, including The Diary of One Who Disappeared by Janáček starring Ian Bostridge; a staging of the St. John Passion; a controversial staging of Mozart's Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne;[3][6] Wozzeck for Opera North; Death in Venice at English National Opera; and Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Les Arts Florissants in Vienna, Paris and Amsterdam.

Personal life

Warner was made a commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) on 17 June 2006, "for services to drama".[7] She was for several years in a relationship with the English novelist Jeanette Winterson.[8]

Awards and nominations




External links

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