George Alexander Cassady Devine

Definition

Theater

  • (1910 - 66) British actor and theater director, who headedthe original Young Vic and helped to found the English Stage Companyin 1955. A member of the OUDS while at Oxford, Devine made his professionaldebut in The Merchant of Venice at the Old Vic (1932). Aftera spell with John Gielgud's company at the Queen's Theatre, he workedwith Michel Saint-Denis on the staff of the London Theatre Studiofrom 1936 until the outbreak of World War II. After war service heworked with Saint-Denis at the Old Vic School before taking responsibilityfor the Young Vic (1946 - 51).

    As an actor, Devine won particularly good reviews for hisTesman in a 1954 production of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler (in whichhe played opposite Peggy Ashcroft); he also appeared in plays by Brechtand Ionesco. In 1955 Devine directed Gielgud in a celebrated productionof King Lear with a Japanese setting. As artistic directorof the English Stage Company (from 1956) he was responsible for stagingnew works by an entirely new breed of British dramatists. LookBack in Anger by Osborne, Chicken Soup with Barleyby Wesker, and Serjeant Musgrave's Dance by Arden,just three of the plays Devine put on at the Royal Court Theatrein the 1950s, changed the face of the British theater.

    In 1966 the George Devine Award was instituted torecognize outstanding work by young people in the theater.

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