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Jonathan Holloway : Theatre Director and Playwright : 1955 –

Early Life

Born in Dulwich, South London in 1955, Jonathan Holloway became a prominent figure in British fringe and touring theatre in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Coming from a modest family background at 16 a chance opportunity took him to the Edinburgh Fringe as part of the Oxford University Players; a group with whom he had no formal association, but who needed a competent actor at very short notice. The 1972 Fringe was a life determining experience for Holloway who cites work he saw by Lindsay Kemp, Steven Berkoff, Max Stafford-Clarke and Jerzy Grotowski as pretty-much forging the aesthetics with which he still works today.

Early Career

Holloway graduated in 1977 and went to work at London’s Royal Court Theatremarker, initially as technical manager of its studio space, The Theatre Upstairs. After a few months he also became an Assistant Director working in the Main House, and directed his own production in the Theatre Upstairs. In the summer of 1978 Holloway left the Royal Court and began touring as a performer with the community arts outfit, Free form Arts Trust Ltd. After a year of performing in shows Holloway left, took a temporary teaching job and started a new theatre company with a group of like-minded artists called The East End Theatre group based at Chat’s Palace Arts Centre in Homerton, E London.

Mature Career

In 1982 Holloway (in collaboration with designer Charlotte Humpston) founded a group called Red Shift Theatre Company ([818154]). Holloway regards Red Shift as his major life achievement to date. Beginning as a shoestring outfit (initially considered by Almeida Theatremarker founder Pierre Audi to become his resident company), Red Shift was built into a national and international touring company which soon became both influential and a linchpin of UK national touring provision. Through Red Shift Holloway has demonstrate a commitment making interdisciplinary work that marries intellectual rigor, theatrical invention and entertainment. Keynote productions include a MORT D'ARTHUR which employed the first thorough-going integration of Capoeira (accompanied by Afro Brazilian music) seen on the professional stage in the UK; a new translation by Neil Bartlett of Moliere's LE MISANTHROPE which employed the archaic Alexandrine verse form and was successful in the UK and the USA; Greg Cullen's original drama FRIDA AND DIEGO which drew on imagery from Kahlo's pictures to explore her tempestuous life; a modern brutalist rendition of the First Quarto Hamlet performed in Wayne Hemingway's Red or Dead clothes against a contemporary rock score. Holloway has directed all but one of Red Shift’s over 50 shows and has written the lion’s share of the company’s work. By 2009 Red Shift had given over 3000 performances; sold over 250000 tickets; driven 50000 miles; flown 35000 miles. Freelance directing has included The Playboy Of The Western World in Ireland, Le Misanthrope in Boston USA and advising on the 2008 Gifford's Circus show Caravan. His work has toured to hundreds of theatres in the British Isles and traveled to North America, South America, the Near and Far East.

As a Playwright

Scripts for Red Shift include The Double, In The Image Of The Beast (Edinburgh Fringe First, 1987), The Hammer (also recorded for BBC Radio 3), Death In Venice, Crime And Punishment (also produced in Chile), Les Miserables (pub. Samuel French, recently in rep in Hong Kong), The Aspern Papers, Nosferatu The Visitor, Nicholas Nickleby, The Man Who Was Thursday, the first stage versions of Mort D'arthur, The Third Man, Get Carter and Vertigo. Jonathan's freelance theatre writing includes Darkness Falls (pub. Samuel French) for the Palace Theatre Watford, Because It's There (2000), Angels Among The Trees (2004) And A Sensible World (2005), all for Nottingham Playhouse. Holloway has also forged a distinguished career as a writer of radio drama. is writing for the BBC includes fifteen episodes of the original daily serial Postcards, a five episode series celebrating the cult TV show The Man From Uncle, adaptations of stories by George Eliot, Willa Cather, Walter de la Mare, Evelyn Waugh, Heinrich Boll, Leo Tolstoy and Andrew Motion. Recent work for the BBC includes dramatising the entirety of C P Snow's eleven novel cycle Strangers And Brothers, Christiaan Barnard's first successful human heart transplant, Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One, Andrew Motion's The Invention Of Dr Cake, Olivia Manning's Levant Trilogy and Goethe's Faust. His version of Vertigo was recently revived in a major Nottingham Playhouse production.

Holloway has traveled to Chile to lead EU sponsored workshops, was an elected member of the Board of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Advisory Panel of the National Campaign for the Arts, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and in 2005 he was made an Honorary Fellow of St Mary's University College, London. He is regularly invited to talk about his work in universities and colleges, and has traveled to America, S America and the Far East to do so. Broadcasting includes guest appearances on BBC Radio 4's A Good Read and sharing the bill with artist Grayson Perry on a feature about the Arthur Mee Children's Encyclopaedia.

Jonathan Holloway sources:

 J Holloway biography: Guardian Review of Holloway’s HAMLET: FIRST CUT: Scotsman Review of Holloway’s NICHOLAS NICKLEBY: Independent Review of Holloway’s DARKNESS FALLS: British Theatre Guide Review of Holloway’s GET CARTER: DARKNESS FALLS by Jonathan Holloway: (Paperback) Publisher: Samuel French Ltd (Jan 2000), English, ISBN 0573100020, ISBN 978-0573100024 LES MISERABLES adapted by Jonathan Holloway: (Paperback) Publisher: Samuel French Ltd (6 Mar 2001), English, ISBN 0573018804, ISBN 978-0573018800

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