My first experience of theatre, aged 3..: the Pulcinella puppet show in the Pincio Gardens of the Villa Borghese in Rome.
The 1960s and 1970s brought the excitement of seeing Laurence Olivier on stage and of the mystery of Paul Scofield and of Peter Brook’s productions, of the revelation of theatre in Poland - from Konrad Swinarski to Jerzy Grotowski, the then incomprehensible to me, iconoclastic work of Tadeusz Różewicz and the deeply affecting acting of Jacek Woszczerowicz. And in France, the work of master director Giorgio Strehler and the vibrant theatre of Patrice Chèreau.
1973-76. The Central School of Speech and Drama. In the Second Year, I was threatened with expulsion for "stylistic incompatibility". But I doggedly returned to enjoy a very fulfilling Third Year.
1976-78. My first job in theatre as actor at the Young Vic and Assistant Director to Frank Dunlop. In 1982, I was invited to return and guest direct a memorably multi-racial and controversial Romeo and Juliet. After a very short stint in a pre-West End Tour of commercial theatre, a vow never to have anything to do with it again led in 1978 to the creation of The Cherub Company (later, The Cherub Company London), initially with the intention to present rare classics and to put some spirit and personal commitment into the staging of classical plays.
For 25 years and over 36 productions, Cherub led a peripatetic life, variously based at the Young Vic, The Upstream Theatre Short Street, St. George’s Tufnell Park, The Arches in the Midland Road, in The Cut and, finally, in 2003 at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
With the backing of British Council officers Babs Todd, Nick Critchley and Paul Smith, it took its particular, visual (later called physical) style of theatre to The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Much of our success and staying power over 25 years was due to the tenacity and determination of Cherub’s Administrator, Vi Marriott.
1985-87. Following an invitation from Vim Wisser and Hans Ruhl to direct the European première of Stepping Out, these years were marked by regular work in The Netherlands, giving me the opportunity to direct Jasperina de Jongh in a musical, Kees Brusse in Pinter’s The Caretaker and to forge a lasting friendship with TV and radio icon, Hans van Willigenburg.
1988-1997. Hamlet at the National Theatre of Northern Greece resulted in 3 more productions (in Athens), the continued pleasure and challenge of working with actor Yorgos Kimoulis, an unforgettable meeting with artist and wit, Yiannis Tsaroukis at his home, with the much-loved actress Jenny Karezi in her own theatre and with the legendary Melina Merkouri at an union dispute.
In the years following my first Greek Hamlet, I enjoyed collaboration with the giant of Greek music, composer Mikis Theodorakis and with the poet-philosopher, the late Yorgos Himonas on his new translation of Macbeth, made acquaintance with actress Nonika Galinea a forged a lasting friendship with singer Margarita Zorbala.
1999-2000. I returned to Poland after 28 years to direct in Warsaw. Following the 1997 Athens Hamlet, this provided a second opportunity to work with designer Paweł Dobrzycki and composer Bolesław Rawski. The same year, I was invited to become a member of the European Academy for Science and the Arts in Salzburg.
2004-2006. I registered Theatre Alive! as a company and invited Luke Rittner, Ralph Koltaï, David Harewood and Adrian Lester to be Vice Presidents and help me steer the new organisation and to promote the work of young professionals in theatre. The flagship projects to date have been: a production of The Winter's Tale for the Mayfield Festival in association with RADA, which served as a canvas for management-skills' development for young actors, and the setting up of a new company; and a new adaptation in verse of The Oresteia Trilogy of Aeschylus written by urban performance poet, Joseph Coelho (www.theatrealive.org.uk)