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Obituary: Janet Glass – ‘formidable agent who championed overlooked plays’

Janet Glass Janet Glass

The agent Janet Glass was a formidable but graceful champion of overlooked plays, agitating for new work, and a devoted, indefatigable defender of a client list that included actors Ron Moody, Jim Dale and Edward Woodward and writers such as Rodney Ackland and William Douglas Home.

Born Janet Crowley in Sydney, Australia, shortly after moving to London she joined the theatrical agency led by the legendary Eric Glass. The pair married in 1983 and, having become increasingly prominent as an agent in her own right, Janet assumed sole control after Eric’s death in 1995.

She oversaw the firm’s move from its fabled offices in Berkeley Square to a more modern location in Notting Hill, from where she presided over many theatrical successes.

Notable among those were the National Theatre’s 1994 revival of Jean Cocteau’s Les Parents Terribles, starring a young Jude Law (which subsequently transferred to Broadway as Indiscretions), and Matthew Bourne’s Play Without Words (an adaptation of her client Robin Maugham’s novella The Servant), which won an Olivier award in 2003.

Later successes included a revival of Marc Camoletti’s Boeing-Boeing at the Comedy Theatre in 2007 – its Broadway run attracting two Tony awards – and Rodney Ackland’s critically acclaimed Absolute Hell, again at the National Theatre, earlier this year.

An enthusiastic traveller, Glass had an encyclopaedic knowledge of theatre and translated French works into English (modestly using a pseudonym), arranged concerts around the world and held dance auditions with Andre Levasseur for Monaco’s The Rose Ball.

Janet Glass was born on June 18, 1937. She continued as the charismatic head of the agency her husband had founded until shortly before her death on September 7, aged 81.

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