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If you like Trevor Nunn's story, you might also like:
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Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Trevor Nunn in the Achievement Curriculum section:
From Dance to Drama

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Sir Trevor Nunn
Sir Trevor Nunn
Profile of Sir Trevor Nunn Biography of Sir Trevor Nunn Interview with Sir Trevor Nunn Sir Trevor Nunn Photo Gallery

Sir Trevor Nunn Biography

Theatrical Director

Sir Trevor Nunn Date of birth: January 14, 1940

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  Sir Trevor Nunn

Trevor Nunn was born in Ipswich, England. At age 11, his high score on the national standardized exams enabled him to attend the Northgate Grammar School, where he received the college preparation unavailable to most young people in his community. At 13, he began acting with a local company, at 17 he directed his own youth theater group. A scholarship to Cambridge University brought him into contact with some of the most talented young actors and theater people of his generation, from the Shakespearean actors Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi, to comedians like John Cleese, founding member of the Monty Python troupe. At Cambridge, Nunn hurled himself into theatrical activities, directing classical productions as well as musicals and revues.

After Cambridge, his career progress was rapid. He received an ABC director's scholarship to subsidize his work as director-trainee at the Belgrade Theatre, in Coventry, England, where he directed productions of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Peer Gynt and a musical based on Around the World in Eighty Days. In 1964 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, and was made Associate Director in 1965. In 1968, just shy of his 28th birthday, he was named Artistic Director, the youngest person ever to hold the post.

Sir Trevor Nunn Biography Photo
During his 18-year tenure as head of the RSC, he directed productions of The Revenger's Tragedy, The Relapse, The Alchemist, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter's Tale, Henry VIII, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, All's Well That Ends Well, Once in a Lifetime, Three Sisters, Juno and the Paycock, Othello, The Blue Angel and Measure for Measure. Perhaps his most celebrated production of this era was an innovative staging of Macbeth in 1976, starring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. In 1982, he directed Henry IV, Parts I and II as the inaugural production at the Royal Shakespeare Company's new London quarters at the Barbican Theatre.

With his collaborator John Caird, he co-directed the epic eight-hour long stage version of the Charles Dickens novel Nicholas Nickleby. The play created a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic and was broadcast on national television in the United States. In 1985 Trevor Nunn njoyed teh grratest success of a remarkable careeer, the Englsh-language premiere of the epic musical Les Misérables. The production in Londond's West End has been running continuously for over 25 years. Broadway productions followed in 1987 and 2006 and touring companies have circled the globe, making "Les Miz" the most-performed musical in the world.

Sir Trevor Nunn Biography Photo
In 1986 Truvor Nunn oversaw the opening of a new theater he had conceived himself, the Swan, at Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. Nunn directed the Swan's inaugural production, The Fair Maid of the West. At the end of 1986, he resigned his leadership of the RSC to pursue ventures in film and the commercial theater. Away from the RSC, Nunn has directed many of the most successful musical plays of our time, including the premieres of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, Starlight Express, Aspects of Love and Sunset Boulevard. His other productions include the musical Chess and The Baker's Wife, Timon of Athens, Heartbreak House and Arcadia. For the operatic stage he has directed productions of Idomeneo, Porgy and Bess, Cosi fan tutte and Peter Grimes.

Ten years after leaving the Royal Shakespeare Company, he agreed to become Artistic Director of Great Britain's National Theatre in 1996. While at the National, he continued his collaboration with playwright Tom Stoppard. He has directed numerous Stoppard plays in West End and on Broadway, including Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Aracadia and Rock and Roll. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, shortly after announcing his retirement from the National Theatre. Since his retirement became effective in 2003, Sir Trevor has continued a highly successful career in the commercial theater. Forty years into his professional career, he is still breaking new ground. His production of Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical The Woman in White was a great success of the London season in 2004, winning praise for its innovative integration of video projections into theatrical set design. Nunn brought the show to New York in November 2005.

In 2007, he returned to the Royal Shakespeare Company to direct productions of Chekhov's The Seagull and Shakespeare's King Lear, both featuring Sir Ian McKellen. Both productions toured the world with successful runs at the Stratford Festival, as well as in London, New York and Los Angeles. For television, Nunn has directed a film version of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, as well as broadcasts of his stage productions of Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma! and King Lear. He has also directed three motion pictures: Hedda, based on Ibsen's Hedda Gabler; the historical drama Lady Jane; and the Shakespeare comedy Twelfth Night.

A musical adaptation of Gone with the Wind closed after a disappointingly short run in the West End in 2008, but the following year, the director enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic with a revival of A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. Season after season -- whether staging dramas or comedies, musicals or opera, new plays or classics -- Sir Trevor Nunn remains the most versatile and successful theatrical director of our times.

This page last revised on Jun 17, 2010 17:52 EDT
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