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David Blakey

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David was originally going to design The Lady in the Van. He was only asked to take over directing less than a week before auditions. So, as with The Playboy of the Western World (2015), which David also designed and then directed, he has had a long time to look at it as designer and very little time as director. With Festen last year, David had been thinking about the play for six years before an opportunity came to direct it, so he now seems to alternate between plays with a long lead time and plenty of time to work on them, and those that involve a short period of intense work, thought and planning. With a total change of tone and step away from realism, David will direct Noddy at TheatreWorks Birkenhead in 2019. He has been thinking about that for some months already.

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The Lady in the Van is an interesting play to approach as a director. Miss Shepherd may well be cantankerous and demanding, and may never say ‘thank you’ to anyone who helps her, but she must gain the sympathy of the audience. We have tried also to give her a winsomeness, and even an innocence, especially when she is recounting the stories of her schooldays. Her religious beliefs should not come across as too mad but should reflect her Catholic upbringing. I did not want to leave her to be mocked by atheist liberals, such as Alan Bennett and his neighbours, Rufus and Pauline, without also mocking them and their refined brand of socialism.

At the end, Alan Bennett says she has been around for 20 years of his life. He met her in the scene when he is looking at the convent, prior to 1969, and their relationship ended with her death in 1989. I have given the lighting team a lot of work to do in trying to convey this passage of time, but, more importantly, I have asked the cast to show the developing relationship between Alan Bennett and Miss Shepherd, which culminates in a scene together – without words – which we hope you will find deeply moving. As always, I have tried to bring my own vision of a play to the stage, and, as always, I am grateful to the cast, to the production team and the crew for their commitment, intelligence and imagination for seeing what I wanted to do and helping me achieve it.


For ETSThe Lady in the Van (2018) director
set designer
Beautiful Thing (2018) construction manager
The House of Angels (2018) construction manager
The Witches (2018) construction manager
The 39 Steps (2017) set designer
Performing (2017) writer
Festen (2017) director
Boys at the Beach (2017) construction manager
Waiting in the Wings (2016) set designer
The Pin-Up Boys (2016) set designer
The Graduate (2016) construction manager
The End of the Golden Weather (2016) set builder
The Playboy of the Western World (2015) director
set designer
Farewell (2015) writer
Cat And Mouse (2015) director
Things My Mother Taught Me (2015) construction manager
Social Climbers (2015) construction manager
Journey's End (2014) set designer
production assistant
set builder
I Hate Hamlet (2014) set designer
Motel (2014) set designer
Take A Chance On Me (2014) set designer
The Dining Room (2013) set designer
set dresser
Ellerslie One Act Play Festival 2013 (2013) staging
Loot (2013) set designer
Present Laughter (2013) director
Travels With My Aunt (2012) set designer
Nude With Violin (2012) George
set designer
The Winter's Tale (2012) Archidamus / Old Shepherd
set designer
Les Liaisons Dangereuses (2012) set designer
Cherish (2011) set designer
Roleplay (2011) writer
director
Roman Fever (2011) Waiter
Blithe Spirit (2011) set designer
production coordinator
set builder
Extremities (2011) set designer
The First Night of Pygmalion (2010) set designer
The History Boys (2010) Headmaster
set designer
Communication (2009) writer
Andrew
Where There's A Will... (2009) The Vicar
set designer
construction manager
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (2008) set designer
properties
The Lion in Winter (2008) set designer
Confidence Tricksters (2008) construction manager
South Sea Bubble (2007) Sir George Shotter
set designer
Theft (2007) production manager
production assistant
set builder
The Weir (2007) Brendan
set designer
The Lady's Not For Burning (2006) set designer
Gigi (2006) set designer
Female Transport (2006) set designer
Not Now Darling (2006) Commander Frencham
set designer
My Three Angels (2005) Gaston Lemare
set designer
Curtains (2005) set designer
The Constant Wife (2004) Bernard Kersal
The Importance of Being Earnest (2004) Lane, Manservant
Merriman, Butler