Richard Eyre

Richard Eyre was artistic director of the National Theatre from 1988-97. His publications include Talking Theatre.

The Court

Richard Eyre, 23 September 1993

‘When we were in the World Cup Final …’ ‘When we had Huw Wheldon at the BBC …’ ‘When we were first married …’ David Hare calls the curators of these arcadias the ‘whenwes’. They guard their territory with a dogged devotion. Although the theatre is a medium that exists entirely in the present tense, it is not immune to the arcadian virus: ‘the National Theatre at the Old Vic’ and ‘Joan Littlewood at Stratford East’ are robust strains, and in the case of Joan Littlewood I believe that there was a ‘genius’, an innocent virtue, that can never be replicated. The work that is done at the National Theatre and the Royal Court is as good as in any preceeding generation, but this fact does not diminish the power of the elegiac rhapsodies which celebrate the Royal Court arcadia – known by its most heavily infected adherents simply, monarchically and without irony, as ‘The Court’.’…

Fear of Drying

Richard Eyre, 4 September 1986

‘Miss Sawyer, you listen to me … and you listen hard. Two hundred people, 200 jobs, $200,000, five weeks of grind and blood and sweat depend on you! It’s the lives of all those people who’ve worked with you. You’ve got to go on and you’ve got to give, and give and give! They’ve got to like you, got to. You understand? You can’t fall down, you can’t … you’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!’

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