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Richard Cottrell (born 15 August 1936) is an English theatre director. He has been the Director of the Cambridge Theatre Company and the Bristol Old Vic in England, and of the Nimrod Theatre in Sydney, Australia. He has also directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Chichester Festival, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, the National Theatre of Portugal, and other theatre companies around the world.

Cottrell is also a translator of plays, and an author of a book on art appreciation.


Cottrell was born 15 August 1936, in London. He attended Cambridge University, and trained as an actor in Paris.[1]

Work in BritainEdit

From 1964 to 1966 Cottrell was General Manager of the Hampstead Theatre Club. The first play he directed there was Georges Feydeau's The Birdwatcher, with Michael Bates and Prunella Scales.[1]

From 1966 to 1969, Cottrell was co-founder and Associate Director of the Prospect Theatre Company in Oxford.[2] His work for Prospect included works by Anouilh, Pinter, and Feydeau. His production of Farquhar's The Constant Couple, with Robert Hardy and Timothy West, transferred to the New Theatre in London. Cottrell's own translation of The Cherry Orchard, starring Lila Kedrova and Patrick Wymark, transferred to the Queen's Theatre in London in 1967. Cottrell was instrumental in the career of Ian McKellen, inviting him to star in, and directing him in, his acclaimed Richard II in 1969.[3]

Cottrell translated Georges Feydeau for the Prospect Company, and, with Lance Sieveking, adapted E. M. Forster's Howards End and A Room with a View. With Edward Bond, Cottrell translated Three Sisters for the Royal Court Theatre.

From 1969 to 1975, Cottrell was Director of the newly formed Cambridge Theatre Company. There, in 1970 he directed his own translation of The Seagull, with Lila Kedrova as Madame Arkadina. In 1974 he directed the young Ian Charleson as Hamlet.

From 1975 to 1980, Cottrell was Director of the Bristol Old Vic Company, where his notable productions included The National Health, Hedda Gabler, As You Like It, A Doll's House, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Move to AustraliaEdit

Cottrell became a resident of Australia in 1984. From 1985 to 1987, he was Director of the Nimrod Theatre Company in Sydney. He received a Sydney Critics Award for his first season, in which a permanent company of 16 actors played a season of classical plays in repertoire. His work at Nimrod included The Winter's Tale, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, All's Well That Ends Well, Wild Honey, The Merchant of Venice, and Arms and the Man.[4]

For the Sydney Theatre Company, Cottrell has directed Lettice and Lovage and Vita and Virginia, both starring Ruth Cracknell. For the National Institute of Dramatic Art, he directed his own specially commissioned translation of Racine's Britannicus in 1992. For the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney, he has directed When the Wind Blows; and for the Marian Street Theatre Company in Sydney he directed Benefactors, Prin, Henceforward..., Neville's Island, and Things We Do for Love.

Cottrell's work in Britain in the 1990s included The Rivals at the Chichester Festival and in the West End; The School for Scandal, Lady Windermere's Fan, also at Chichester; and Three Hours After Marriage for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Cottrell's recent productions include Ying Tong, A Walk with the Goons, and Travesties for the Sydney Theatre Company. He has directed King Lear for the National Theatre of Portugal in Lisbon, The Uneasy Chair for Playwrights Horizons in New York, and Simone de Beauvoir's The Woman Destroyed at 59E59 in New York.[4]

Cottrell has done opera directing as well. For the Victorian State Opera he directed Andrea Chénier, for which he won a Victorian Green Room Award for Best Opera Production of the Year, and Tannhäuser. For the Opera Theatre of St. Louis he has directed The Merry Widow.


Cottrell has taught and directed at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, the Hong Kong College of the Performing Arts, Boston University, the University of California, the Juilliard School in New York, and all of Australia's leading theatre schools.[4]

Major directing creditsEdit




  1. ^ a b 1969 Bio on
  2. ^ Prospect Theatre Company
  3. ^ Shewring, Margaret. King Richard II. Manchester University Press, 1998. p. 81.
  4. ^ a b c Richard Cottrell at International Casting Associates
  5. ^ Wren, Celia. "'Ying Tong'? Why, That's English for Postwar Silliness". Washington Post. March 9, 2008.

External linksEdit