North east editor
Peter Lathan's first experience of theatre was at the age of twelve when he played Marion in Sean O'Casey's Cock-a-Doodle Dandy, a school production in an all-boys school.
Since then he has been deeply involved in all aspects of theatre. He directed his first production (a Chekhov one-acter, The Anniversary) while at university and, as a playwright, his first play to be performed professionally (The Passion, a version of the medieval Mystery Plays) was produced in 1973.
He has directed more than 70 productions with school and youth groups and professional companies. For the last ten years most of his work has been with KG Productions, a company he founded in 1999. Work with KG has included Theatre in Education, corporate productions, new writing (the company commissioned, produced and toured novelist Chaz Brenchley's first play A Cold Coming) and touring pantos. In 2009 he was invited by the Customs House, South Shields, to direct an open-air, site-specific version of The Tempest, the first in an annual summer Shakespeare in the Park event using an ensemble of some of the region's leading professional actors and in 2010 he directed Romeo and Juliet.
Most recently he has written and directed the annual Customs House community play which features a large amateur cast and a professional creative/production team. He also devises and directs small-scale touring productions of themed Shakespeare compilations.
He has written 28 plays, including a full-length musical, a number of pantos, touring TIE shows and corporate work for a wide variety of clients. He was commissioned to write and direct The South Tyneside Story for the Millennium Dome. His plays have been produced throughout the UK, and in the US, Germany and India.
Other writing includes It's Behind You: The Story of Panto (New Holland Publishers 2003). Between 1968 and 1980 he was a regular contributor to The Stage, Cabaret and Variety Revue and Musicians Only and had a two-year spell as theatre correspondent for BBC Radio Newcastle.
He has taught drama in schools and with youth theatres, and has also done drama work with recovering addicts, adults with severe learning disabilities and ran a two year drama course for adults under the auspices of a local Adult and Community Learning department.
He has served on arts-related council committees, did PR, front of house management and lighting design for the St David's Arts Festival as well as appearances there as an actor and director, has done a range of Drama workshops in primary and secondary schools and consultancy work, specifying equipment and design for school theatres and drama studios.
From 1997 to 2001 he was employed by about.com (New York) to run a web site on British Theatre and set up the British Theatre Guide in 2001.