Staging Beckett: Ian Rickson in conversation with Mark Taylor-Batty

The Minghella Building, University of Reading, Whiteknights campus, Reading

Thursday 3rd October 7.30pm. Doors open 6.30pm

Followed by wine reception

The University of Reading, the Staging Beckett project, and the Beckett International Foundation are delighted to present a conversation with acclaimed theatre director Ian Rickson, who will be talking about the challenges of directing the work of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, with Mark Taylor-Batty who has written extensively on both playwrights. Ian Rickson directed Pinter in Krapp’s Last Tape at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 2006.

The AHRC-funded Staging Beckett project, a collaboration with the University of Chester and the Victoria and Albert Museum, is developing a database of productions of Beckett’s plays in the UK and Ireland which will be available in 2014. This is a pilot for a wider performing arts database.

An exhibition will be open for the evening of the event with materials from diverse productions of Krapp’s Last Tape in the UK and Ireland, including Rickson’s production with Harold Pinter, and the premiere of the play at the Royal Court Theatre in 1958, starring Patrick Magee, directed by Donald McWhinnie and designed by Jocelyn Herbert.  The exhibition will feature items in the University of Reading’s collection related to Krapp’s Last Tape, and items from the Jocelyn Herbert Archive, housed at Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London.

Tickets are free but advance registration is essential. To book tickets visit: and follow the event link Enquiries:

Ian Rickson was Artistic Director at the Royal Court from 1998 to 2006, during which time he directed Krapp’s Last Tape, The Winterling, Alice Trilogy, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Fallout, The Night Heron, Boy Gets Girl, Mouth to Mouth (also in the West End), Dublin Carol, The Weir (also in the West End and on Broadway), The Lights, Pale Horse and Mojo (also at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago), Ashes & Sand, Some Voices and Killers. His last production for the Royal Court, The Seagull, transferred to Broadway. Other theatre includes Old Times (West End), The River (Royal Court), Hamlet (Young Vic), Jerusalem (Royal Court, West End and Broadway), Betrayal (Comedy Theatre), The Children’s Hour (Comedy Theatre), The Hothouse and The Day I Stood Still (NT), Parlour Song (Almeida), Hedda Gabler (Roundabout Theatre, New York), The House of Yes (Gate) and Me & My Friend (Chichester Festival Theatre). Film includes:  Fallout, Krapp’s Last Tape and The Clear Road Ahead.

Mark Taylor-Batty is Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the Workshop Theatre, School of English, University of Leeds. He is co-author with Juliette Taylor-Batty, of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and has produced a monograph on Beckett’s first director, Roger Blin: Collaborations and Metholodogies (Peter Lang, 2007). He has written extensively on Harold Pinter, including About Pinter (Faber and Faber, 2005) and the Forthcoming Theatre of Harold Pinter (Methuen Drama, 2014). He is an executive member of the International Harold Pinter Society, and a co-editor, with Enoch Brater, of the new ‘Methuen Drama Engage’ series of monographs on modern drama.



Timberlake Wertenbaker, Roy Williams and David Edgar join Simon Stephens for ‘Turning the Page: Creating New Writing (1945-2013)’ at the University of Reading on Friday 13th-Saturday 14th September 2013.

In the last of three conferences organized by the AHRC-funded project, ‘Giving Voice to the Nation: The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Development of Theatre and Performance in Britain 1945 – 1995’, ‘Turning the Page: Creating New Writing (1945-2013)’ seeks to chart and explore the peaks and troughs of New Writing since the advent of state subsidy to the arts. With a specific focus upon fostering dialogue across the decades, this conference brings together academics, practitioners, funders and policy-makers to share knowledge, perspectives and insights into the histories, practices and discourses of ‘New Writing’.

Wertenbaker, Williams, Edgar and Stephens will be joined by fellow practitioners and academics Jonathan Petherbridge, Michael Raab, Steven Atkinson, Fin Kennedy, Andy Smith and Dan Rebellato on a diverse range of keynote platforms entitled reflecting on ‘Two Kingdoms: England vs Germany’, ‘Participation and Agitation’, ‘Changing Landscapes’ and ‘From Ink to Inc.: New Writing Today’.

The conference will also see representatives from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, LAMDA and RADA talk about the importance of commissioning new writing in actor training institutes, alongside over 25 academics delivering papers on a variety of topics including ‘Theatre for Young People’, ‘Text / Non-Text Based Theatre’, ‘Institutions and Networks’, ‘Authors and Authorship’, ‘Dramaturgy and Playwriting’ and ‘The Arts Council and New Writing’.

Award Winning playwright David Edgar said:

“Following last year’s conference on subsidy and patronage, I’m very pleased to be speaking at this year’s conference. Despite recent hostility to the written play among some scholars, critics and funders, new writing has been and remains one of the great success stories of postwar British theatre, and I’m looking forward to defending its importance and discussing how to create conditions in which it can continue to flourish.”



Friday 13th September 2013 (9.30am – 6.30pm)

Saturday 14th September 2013 (9.30am –5.00pm)


University of Reading (Minghella Building) Whiteknights, Shinfield Road, Reading, West Berkshire, RG6 6UR


Full rate: Single Day £50. Both days £100.

Writers’ Guild of Great Britain / Unwaged / Postgraduate Student day rate: £40. Lunch and coffee is included in the conference fee.

Online Booking:

For further information, to request a Press Pass or to arrange interviews/editorial please contact:

Simon Sladen (Conference Administrator)


Tel: 07986506280


Giving Voice to the Nation Research Project Public subsidy is the cornerstone of post-war British theatre: new writing; new theatre spaces; new theatrical styles and genres; the birth of the fringe and the encouragement of ethnic minority involvement all owe their continuing existence to the policies and financial backing of Arts Council of Great Britain (ACGB). Its impact on theatre policy and practice is often alluded to but has never been fully explored, either in those books that deal with the history of the ACGB, or those that focus on the history and historiography of post-war British theatre. This is due partly to the scale of the archive (approximately 25000 files) and the labyrinthine nature of departments and cross panel committees.

In January 2009, the University of Reading and the Victoria and Albert Museum were awarded a major AHRC Research Grant to undertake a five-year project to investigate the theatre archive of the Arts Council of Great Britain. By surveying all the material relating directly / indirectly to regional theatre, touring companies and new writing the project will offer new insights into the practice and policy of post-war British theatre. Once the project is completed, the project outputs (catalogue, display, readers’ guides and publications) and an accessible archive will ensure that the benefits of the project will be both long-term and widespread across the academic theatre community and practitioners, and across the research communities of history and cultural studies.

More info:

University of Reading

The University of Reading is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world. It is a global University that enjoys a world-class reputation for teaching, research and enterprise. The University was established in 1892, received its Royal Charter in 1926, and has developed into a leading force in British and international higher education. The Department of Film, Theatre and Television at the University of Reading has been leading its field for over four decades and pioneered the teaching of film studies in British Higher Education. The Department has established a world-leading reputation in theatre, television and film research and is housed in the Minghella building, a £11.4 million building with state-of-the-art specialist facilities, located at the cultural and geographical heart of the University’s attractive Whiteknights campus.

More info:

V&A – Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert museum is the world’s greatest museum of art and design and houses the Theatre and Performance collections. The collections were founded in the 1920s when a private collector, Gabrielle Enthoven, donated her extensive collection of theatrical designs, memorabilia, books and photographs to the Museum. She continued to add to her collection and worked on it as a museum volunteer until her death in 1950. Since that period the collection has continued to grow and has provided a home for many other significant objects and archives.

Between 1987 and 2007 some of this material was housed at the V&A’s branch museum in Covent Garden, the Theatre Museum. New galleries devoted to the performing arts opened at the V&A in South Kensington in 2009. Material not on display there is housed at the V&A’s premises in Kensington Olympia, where a reading room provides away to access much of this stored material.

More info:

Simon Sladen

Assistant Curator, Modern & Contemporary Performance Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

Tel: 020 7471 9867 (Ext. 8867)


Sky Arts Ignition: Memory Palace at V&A South Kensington Until 20 October 2013 Book now on

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War Games

Until 9 March 2014 at V&A Museum of Childhood Admission free

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