Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
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The Studio 1984-1999

When Peter Gill took up his appointment as an Associate Director at the National Theatre in 1980, the Studio had continued its work based at Riverside, with members continuing their regular meetings.

Special projects were led by a variety of people such as Clare Davidson, Gillian Barge, Rosemary Butcher, John Burgess, Doreen Cannon, Malcolm Ingram, David Leveaux, Ron Pember, Tina Packer, Kristin Linklater, Di Trevis and Alison Chitty.

This continued until 1984, when the Riverside Arts Trust was liquidated and the Studio was assimilated into the Studio that Peter Gill had been asked to establish at the National Theatre. In 1981 Peter Gill led a three-week workshop at the Almeida Theatre supported by the National Theatre, which prefigured the establishment in 1984 of the Royal National Theatre Studio.) The National Theatre Studio was quite different in character to the Peter Gill Studio and the Studio at Riverside since its work had to meet the needs of a large national institution; it was effectively the “research and development” wing of the National Theatre. Gill brought to that enterprise the experience of working with limited resources and through the good will of a particular group of actors, so the National Theatre befitted from the Royal National Theatre Studio that just as Riverside Studios had benefited from the presence of the Peter Gill Studio.

When Peter Gill left his full-time position at the National Theatre in 1990, he re-established his independent Studio to run in conjunction with his work as a writer and director. The reestablishment began in January 1991 with regular meetings at Riverside Studios with new, younger actors unfamiliar with classical text, working on Shakespeare.

In March 1991 Peter Gill began to write a play for two actors (Jeremy Northam, Andrew Woodall), Call Her After Me which, with In the Blue and Boys’ Talk was shown to an invited audience on 1 December 1991 at Riverside Studios (Studio 3). This work later led to the development of Cardiff East and Certain Young Men.

This was followed in May 1992 by and an investigation into The Winter’s Tale which was shown, again to an invited audience, at Riverside.

This was followed by occasional meetings, projects and classes, including:

  • in June 1995 a 2-week workshop at the Irish Centre, Hammersmith, on “the chattering classes”, at the end of which a collage of material was produced from improvisations and contributions from Peter Gill, Rosemary Wilton, and John Burgess;
  • in June 1996 another 2-week workshop on how theories of deconstruction might be applied to the theatre, concluding in a dramatic investigation of Mathew Arnold’s poem Dover Beach;
  • A week’s workshop in August 1998 at the Queen Caroline Estate community centre, Hammersmith, based on The Women of Troy;
  • In July 1999, a three-day workshop at the Hammersmith Club on the characters of Edith Granger and Florence Domby in Dickens’ Domby and Son.

Since January 1998 there have been regular weekly workshops either at the Community Centre, Queen Caroline Estate or the Hammersmith Club.

  • March 2001, a two-week workshop on the songs of Rogers and Hart, music director Terry Davies.  Artists: Martin Crewes, Daniel Evans, Anna Francolini, Josefina Gabrielle, Paul Keating, Michael Shaeffer, and Samantha Spiro.


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Last modified: 2012-03-15