David Grindley is a freelance stage director, whose recent achievements include the 2007 Broadway production of Journey's End, which won a Tony award for Best Revival. His production of Abigail's Party was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2003 and he was described by Mike Leigh as " of the most important young directors that we have."

David is represented by PFD Agency
See his full CV here




In 1998, I was an Assistant Director at Chichester Festival Theatre. As well as assisting Directors on their productions in the 1,000 seat Festival Theatre, my colleague, Jacob Murray, and I had the wonderful opportunity to programme and produce work in the 250 seat Minerva Theatre. The only catch was that everything had to be done on an absolute shoestring. The Director of the Theatre had considered turning the Minerva into a cinema for the summer season but at the eleventh hour relented and gave us our chance. Not surprisingly it was extremely difficult to find plays that could be produced very cheaply which were also going to generate an audience. We were further limited by the condition that we could not hire actors who were not already working for the Theatre. So we were looking for plays that could accommodate the actors who were playing minor roles in the main house interested in playing major roles in the smaller house.

It was almost an impossible task. Eventually the plays to begin our season were either LOOT by Joe Orton or LOOK BACK IN ANGER by John Osborne. There were no other alternatives. From the moment I read it, I wanted to direct LOOT. Despite being written in the sixties, it still felt fresh and witty. Although it wasn’t as shocking as it once was, it still retained a capacity to provoke as well as some exceptional comic writing. Understandably the Festival Director was slightly alarmed by the possibility of LOOT opening the Minerva season. Chichester had never done any Orton before, he was worried about how the audience would respond and was determined that the fledgling season should not be knocked down before it had an opportunity to find its feet. However I stuck to my guns arguing that starting with a comedy was the best possible way forward and in the end he reluctantly agreed. The next difficulty was casting. In fact there was no casting process, the actors who were in my production of LOOT were the only ones available who could play those parts.

As it turned out, they were brilliantly suited to the material. At the time they were all unknown but Tracy-Ann Obermann who played Fay later found great success in EASTENDERS as did Alexis Conran on THE REAL HUSTLE. Rehearsing the play proved taxing because of the material and the availability of the actors. A nagging worry was that maybe the play would not be found funny in Chichester. Fortunately the production was a smash hit, every performance was sold out and the production even transferred for a short run in the West End.

LOOT catalysed the success of Jacob and I’s Minerva season, ensuring that we enjoyed an incredible summer. It also proved to be the catalyst for my career as it was through LOOT that I met my agent. Subsequently I directed THE ERPINGHAM CAMP in 2000 and WHAT THE BUTLER SAW in 2005, both of which provided special memories. In THE ERPINGHAM CAMP, Johnny Vegas played Riley to great tragicomic effect and in WHAT THE BUTLER SAW Malcolm Sinclair as Rance gave one of the finest comic performances I have ever witnessed.

Image © Andy Lane - Courtesy of David Grindley   Text © David Grindley  

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