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David Hare: ‘Theatre directors want too much control in the rehearsal’

Playwright David Hare. Photo: Johan Persson

Directors have too much control about how plays are staged, playwright David Hare has said.

Hare argued the balance of influence between playwrights and directors is “out of kilter”, with directors increasingly turning plays in to more of a spectacle.

Speaking at the UK Theatre Awards in London, Hare told The Stage: “When I entered the industry the playwright was regarded as the most important person in the process and slowly in the new century things have moved over to director’s theatre, and the directors not only run the theatres, choose the plays, but they also want to be auteurs in the rehearsal room, and that is a new development.”

Hare said playwrights are being forced to write like film writers, which he believes is unhealthy for theatre.

“[The play] becomes more of a spectacle and it becomes driven by the ideas of the company,” he said.

“My feeling is that only the writer alone in the room is ever ahead of the curve, whereas people that gather together in a room to talk about a subject tend to be behind the curve.”

Hare added: “I believe there is still a role for the lone dramatist, and when the audience goes to see Jez Butterworth’s play The Ferryman, there is a different level of excitement, because it’s bowing to the tradition of the tremendous British playwright writing a tremendous play, and there is less of that kind of theatre now, and I regret it.”

Hare was presented with the Gielgud Award for lifetime achievement in theatre [1] at the UK Theatre Awards.