NE-born director wins Evening Standard award

Published: 25 November 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Stockton-born director, Robert Icke, has won the 2019 Evening Standard Theatre Award for best director for his productions of The Doctor (August 2019, which is moving into the West End in 2020) and The Wild Duck (October–December 2018) at the Almeida.

Icke (now aged 32) is no stranger to winning awards. He was the youngest ever winner of an Olivier directorial award (2016) for his production of The Oresteia (also at the Almeida), which also won him best director awards from the Critics’ Circle and the Evening Standard in 2015. His version of 1984 won Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards in 2014.

He went to school at Ian Ramsey Church of England Secondary School in Stockton and then studied English at King's College, Cambridge, where he set up the Swan Theatre Company and took a production of Gogol's The Overcoat, translated by Rory Mullarkey, his contemporary at Cambridge, to the Edinburgh Fringe.

After leaving Cambridge, he was appointed Associate Director at Headlong, replacing Ben Power, after which he moved to The Almeida.

He actually began his theatre career at the age of 16—at the same time as he achieved 13 A* grades in GCSE—when he set up the Arden Theatre Company, based at ARC Stockton, where he directed and played in, among others, Julius Caesar (2003), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, An Inspector Calls (2006), Twelfth Night (2006), Richard III (2007) and Journey’s End (2007).

Now quite a number of those who were members of those casts are still working in theatre, both in the NE and more widely. One, in fact, has just opened in the West End’s Duchess Theatre in The Play That Goes Wrong.