Belgrade Theatre Company, Coventry

September 1961 - June 1962

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The Belgrade was the first municipal theatre built in England. Designed by the City Architects, it was opened in March 1958. It was named in recognition of a gift of timber from Yugoslavia, its emblem of the dove expressing the artistic understanding between people and countries.

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Anthony Richardson
Artistic Director of the
Belgrade Theatre Company
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Ian McKellen
First professional portrait as an actor
April 1961

During the summer of 1961, I had successfully auditioned for Derby Playhouse and Hornchurch Theatre but the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry – the first civic theatre built in UK since the Second World War – offered me the highest salary of 9  (about $15) per week “to play as cast”. Anthony Richardson the artistic director (not Tony Richardson, his contemporary ) must have been impressed by the 21 undergraduate productions I had done at Cambridge. This was the perfect job for a beginner who hadn’t been to drama school, joining a company of actors who would work on a different play every two weeks through the year.

There were a number of actors’ flats adjacent to the theatre in Corporation Street – 3 a week, electricity for heating and cooking was extra. My meagre funds were eked out with the help of the assistants of the Co-operative foodstore opposite – they undercharged us actors.

 

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The Plays

YearPlaceTitle/WriterDirector/Role
1961Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Robert Bolt

DIRECTOR: David Forder
ROLE: William Roper


1961Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
WHEN WE ARE MARRIED
J B Priestley

DIRECTOR: Brian Bell
ROLE: Fred Dyson


1961Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
YOU NEVER CAN TELL
Bernard Shaw

DIRECTOR: David Forder
ROLE: Philip Clandon


1961Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
BLACK COFFEE
Agatha Christie

DIRECTOR: Brian Bell
ROLE: Tredwell (the butler)


1961Coventry Theatre
Midnight Matinee

1961Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
CELEBRATION
Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall

DIRECTOR: Anthony Richardson
ROLE: Stan Dyson


1961Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
END OF CONFLICT
Barry England

DIRECTOR: Anthony Richardson
ROLE: Simon Mason


1961Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
MR. PICKWICK
Stanley Young (adapted from Charles Dickens novel)

DIRECTOR: Brian Bell
ROLE: Mr. Snodgrass


1961Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
TOAD OF TOAD HALL
A A Milne (from Kenneth Graham's novel)

DIRECTOR: Brian Bell
ROLE: Chief Weasel


1962Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
THE SEAGULL (1962)
Anton Chekov

DIRECTOR: Anthony Richardson
ROLE: Konstantin


1962Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
THE BRIDE COMES BACK
Ronald Millar

ROLE: Joe Tilney


1962Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (1962)
William Shakespeare

DIRECTOR: Graham Crowden
ROLE: Count Claudio


1962Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
HAPPY RETURNS
ROLE: various (singing & dancing)


1962Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
TEN LITTLE NIGGERS
Agatha Christie

DIRECTOR: Geoffrey Edwards
ROLE: Anthony Marston


1962Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
THE IRREGULAR VERB TO LOVE
Hugh & Margaret Williams

DIRECTOR: Geoffrey Edwards
ROLE: Andrew Rankin


1962Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
NOAH
Andre Obey

DIRECTOR: Anthony Richardson
ROLE: Shem


1962Belgrade Theatre
Coventry
SEMI-DETACHED
David Turner
DIRECTOR: Anthony Richardson
ROLE: Tom Midway


Next:
September 1962 - October 1963
Arts Theatre Company, Ipswich

Stage Index

Plays by Title

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