Stephen (David) Daldry

Definition

Theater

  • (1961 - ) British theater director. Daldry was born in Dorset, the son of a bank manager and a professional singer. After training, which included a year spent in Italy as an apprentice to a clown, he began his directing career at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (1984 - 88). He then became artistic director at the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, whilestill in his twenties.

    In 1992 Daldry made his name with a remarkable expressionist-style revival of Priestley's An Inspector Calls that shed a radical new light on a piece long regarded as staid and over-familiar. The production earned Daldry a clutch of best director awards (including the Olivier), ran for ten years in the West End, and made a highly successful transfer to Broadway. Critical superlatives also came Daldry's way for his next National production, a revival (1993) of the neglected expressionist drama Machinal by Sophie Treadwell. Like An Inspector Calls this featured the stunning designs of Ian MacNeil, Daldry's partner at the time.

    By this time Daldry had been appointed artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre in London. During his six-year tenure (1992 - 98) the theater maintained its reputation for controversy with productions that included Mamet's Oleanna (1993) and Sarah Kane's ultra-violent Blasted (1994). Plays directed by Daldry himself included an ambitious revival of Wesker's The Kitchen (1995), which required a complete remodelling of the theater's interior (including the removal of all the stalls), and David Hare's one-man show Via Dolorosa (1998). From 1996 he oversaw the lottery-funded rebuilding of the Royal Court at a cost of some £26 million.

    Since leaving the Court, Daldry has found a wider audience directing for the cinema. In particular his first feature, the hugely popular Billy Elliot (2000), won over 40 awards worldwide. A stage version of Billy Elliot, with music by Elton John, opened in the West End in 2005 under Daldry's directionand subsequently (2008) transferred to Broadway, where it earned ten Tony Awards.Both productions are still running in 2010. Other recent work for the stage has included a return to the Royal Court with Caryl Churchill's Far Away (2000), which later triumphed off-Broadway, and the same author's A Number (2002). He has also directed two futher David Hare monologues, Berlin andWall (both 2009).

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