North East Editor
Peter Lathan's first experience of theatre was at the age of 13 in 1956 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 in 1966 and, as a playwright, his first play to be performed professionally (The Passion, a version of the medieval Mystery Plays) was produced in 1975.
He has directed more than 70 productions with school and youth groups and professional companies. Since the turn of the century most of his directing 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 wrote and directed three Customs House community plays which featured a large amateur cast and musicians and a professional creative / production team. He also devised and directed small-scale touring productions of themed Shakespeare compilations.
He has written more than 30 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 taught drama in schools and with youth theatres, and has also done drama work with recovering addicts, adults with severe learning disabilities and run 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; has done PR, front of house management and lighting design for the St David's Arts Festival as well as having appeared there as an actor and director; has done a range of drama workshops in primary and secondary schools and undertaken consultancy work, specifying equipment and design for school theatres and drama studios.
In recent years, under the auspices of South Tyneside Council, he ran an introductory course for would-be playwrights.
In 2016, he retired from directing but continued to write plays.
In the '70s, he was Chair of the board of management of the Wearabout Theatre Company, a professional company in Sunderland. From 2000 to 2009, he was a Trustee of the Customs House and from 2010 until 2017 was a Trustee of No Limits Theatre Company, a professional company for performers with a learning disability.
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. He stepped down as editor in January 2012 but continued to act as North East editor until his death on 9 April 2022.