Spotlight on Pinter at the Pinter directors Jamie Lloyd and Lia Williams
| By Ephram Ryan
The premiere of the all-new Pinter at the Pinter season at the Harold Pinter Theatre is fast approaching with the first event on its schedule being One For the Road / The New World Order / Mountain Language / Ashes to Ashes. Directing this quadruple bill is not one, but two long-time Pinter collaborators: Jamie Lloyd and Lia Williams. We are casting the spotlight on these two highly talented directors who will help start the Harold Pinter season off with a bang!
Famed British director Jamie Lloyd is certainly not your conventional theatre maven. This is made abundantly clear in his current Twitter profile photo, where the 37-year-old teetotal vegan is seen sporting a beard, beanie and tattoos all over his arms. But as the old saying goes, you should never judge a book by its cover. Looks aside, the fact of the matter is, this director has already changed the theatre industry for the better.
Right from the get-go, Lloyd has been a strong advocate for making theatre more accessible to younger and economically diverse audiences and as such, he is widely credited with drawing a whole new generation of theatregoers. His campaign for affordable tickets completely transformed Trafalgar Studios at the Whitehall Theatre. The venue is now widely known to feature big-name actors performing in challenging roles for relatively low pay with young audiences coming in droves to see them.
Lloyd's childhood, like many artists, was not full of rainbows and smiles. When he was young, his mother remarried to a 50-something kissogram and stripper, who turned out to be physically abusive towards his mother as well as verbally abusive towards Lloyd. He admitted in an interview that his mother was once thrown down the stairs. Lloyd likened these dark moments in his life to a form of light absurdist entertainment and admitted to them being the reason why he is drawn to Pinter's work.
Lloyd's mother eventually remarried a second time when Lloyd started finding an escape in the world of theatre. He attended the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, where he trained as both an actor and a director. He won an award at the National Student Drama Festival for a production that he staged at the Institute. The prize for the award was the opportunity to work as an assistant director for a Richard Cameron play at the Bush Theatre, which helped Lloyd get his foot in the door of show business.
Following his assistant work, Lloyd's first main house production happened to be Harold Pinter's The Caretaker at the Sheffield Crucible and he since has directed a number of Pinter plays, including Pinter's The Hothouse, The Homecoming, and 2008's double bill of The Lover and The Collection at the Comedy Theatre (now known as the Harold Pinter Theatre). He was then appointed by Michael Grandage to be the Associate Director at the Donmar Warehouse and went on to earn an Evening Standard Award for Best Musical for his 2010 production of Passion. His overwhelming success continued when he won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. In 2009, the Daily Telegraph named him a Rising Star and in 2014, The Stage went even further when they named Lloyd the 20th Most Powerful Person in British Theatre in 2014.
Lia Williams, who recently starred as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor in the Netflix series The Crown (2016), was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire in 1964. She has been a professional actress since the early 1990s and has starred in a number of Pinter plays, including 2001's The Homecoming, 2007's The Hothouse (English National Theatre). While Williams may not be as revolutionary as Lloyd in terms of reshaping the status quo of theatre, her contributions to theatre are still significant nonetheless. The experienced actress turned to directing in 2002 with her short film, Feathers, and has been directing short films ever since. She was nominated for the Best Short Film Award at the BAFTA Film Awards for her 2007 short film, The Stronger. Williams eventually crossed over into directing for a number of stage productions.
Jamie Lloyd, once dubbed the 'Pinter interpreter', is joining forces with Lia Williams to direct the first event for the Pinter at the Pinter season. You won't want to miss the grand opening of the season with the quadruple bill One For the Road / The New World Order / Mountain Language / Ashes to Ashes, which will run at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 6 September 2018 until 20 October 2018.
Be sure to book your tickets early to see these rarely staged Pinter plays! For more information on the Pinter at the Pinter, click here.
Purchase your Pinter at the Pinter 1 tickets here.