Peter Beck - Theatre Director and Actor

 

Directing - Past Work

Peter has directed for a number of small and mid-scale theatre companies, for festivals, new writing initiatives, live art and site-specific performances, youth theatre companies, interactive actor-led gallery tours and commercial projects.

His previous theatre work includes:

 

'Threepenny Opera' by Bertolt Brecht

Music by Kurt Weill   Translated by Ralph Manheim and John Willett

Theatre Paradisum         www.theatreparadisum.com

Norwich Playhouse 2009

'Opera audience in safe, entertaining hands - fans of Brecht's theatrical ideas, novices to the art of 'making strange' (Verfremdungseffekt) and those who enjoy a classic parody with music should catch The Threepenny Opera. Weill's music is interpreted with flair, songs punctuate narrative and the whole achieves Brecht's aim of provoking thought, yet is highly entertaining. Jokes work and director Peter Beck builds a seedy world of beggars and prostitutes through strong performances from all'

David Porter, Eastern Daily Press

 

Under the direction of Peter Beck, this production was highly successful. An important strength is that it is clearly founded on thorough knowledge of Brechtian theatre and dramatic theory. The 'nakedness' with which the characters are portrayed allows for Brecht's ideas about Verfremdung to come to their full fore. All actors are highly skilled and play their parts convincingly, providing thoughtful provocation and entertainment throughout. In Peter Beck's production, the didactic element is very powerful indeed, offering solid scope for self-reflection and critical thought, while - on a very different level - never failing to deliver successful theatrical entertainment.

Dr Nannette Neilsen, Lecturer at the University of Nottingham

 

Production Images by Dave Guttridge

  

     

 

 

 

 

 

'The Double Inconstancy' by Pierre Marivaux

University of East Anglia MA Programme

UEA Drama Studio and Norwich Puppet Theatre 2007

 

Production images by Peter Beck

 

 

 

 

 

'Woza Africa!'

An adaptation of South African plays by Athol Fugard, Percy Mtwa, MbPhyllis Klotz, Nomvula Qosha, Thobeka Maqutyana, Poppy Tsira, Busi Zolufaongeni Ngema and Barney Simon

Co-directed with Tess Zoers

University of East Anglia MA Programme

UEA Drama Studio 2007

 

 

 

'Les Liaisons Dangereuses' by Christopher Hampton

Minotaur Theatre Company, University of East Anglia

UEA Drama Studio

Winner of 'Best Director' Julian Award 2007

 

Production images by Bryan McNerney

     

 

 

 

 

'Drink with Me'

Devised by Peter Beck and Beverley Bishop

Commissioned by Playwrights East 2005

Cast: Beverley Bishop

An Arts Council funded project

Norwich Puppet Theatre

 

Production image by Dave Guttridge

 

 

 

 

'Murders in the Rue Morgue'

Devised by Peter Beck, Karen Hill and Lucy Enskat from an original story by Edgar Allen Poe

Cheetahfeet Theatre Company 2003

Norwich Puppet Theatre

 

Production images by Dave Guttridge

  

    

 

 

 

 

'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare

Guest Director at The Maddermarket Theatre 2003

A collaboration with artist Sarah Horton

 

Production images by Dave Guttridge

   

  

 

 

 

 

'The Philadelphia Story' by Philip Barry

Guest Director at The Maddermarket Theatre 2002

'An appealing, thoughtful and well-presented production, there are light-hearted moments, heightened by classy performances. A strong cast who had very carefully worked up their characters'

Ken Hulme, Norwich Evening News

 

'The audience responds with great good humour to Peter Beck's production of this classic demonstration of the dogged American refusal to be downhearted that found its true home in Tinsel Town.'

Christopher Smith, Eastern Daily Press

 

 

 

 

 

'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' by Bertolt Brecht

Maddermarket Theatre Education Dept - Touring 2002

 

 

 

 

'Metamorphosis' by Steven Berkoff

Maddermarket Theatre Education Dept - Touring 2001 / 2002

 

    

 

 

 

 

'The Elephant Man' by Bernard Pomerance

Guest Director at The Maddermarket Theatre 2000

A collaboration with artist Helen Merrin

'Powerful presentation by an excellent cast'. Under Peter Beck's direction, mood music between scenes and carefully delivered lines with time allowed for the significance of word and action to sink in, add to the simplicity of the set to create a hauntingly poingnant production. Its a tale worth telling, honestly and sincerely by an excellent cast, most of whom play several parts. There were lengthy periods when not a sound, not a creaky seat movement, not a cough nor shuffle could be heard in the auditorium. That, I suggest, shows how powerful a presentation this is.'

Ken Hulme, Norwich Evening News

 

'The malformed Merrick is played by Tim Ashwell, in a performance of almost towering proportions. Peter Beck's direction allows the other members of the cast to shine in yet another superb Maddermarket production.'

Graham Dines, East Anglian Daily Times

 

Production images by Dave Guttridge

  

 

 

 

 

'Thumping' by Tim Ashwell

Platform One Theatre Company

Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 1999

Performances also at The Etcetera Theatre, London and Norwich Arts Centre

'Thumping flips between Moray's (the central character) daydreams of sexual conquest and the sad reality that he cannot even open a window to let the air in. Agoraphobia is used as a metaphor for the paranoid world in which we live, but also for exploring a society which laughs at the mentally ill. Which is exactly what you end up doing at this hilarious performance' ***** Must See

Three Weeks Magazine

 

'The play's intelligent self-mockery engages the audience. Its nicely controlled language constantly shifts register and is underpinned by brave performances from the cast. The script is genuinely moving with keen touches' *** 

Joy Hendry, The Scotsman

 

 

 

 

'The Fall of the House of Usher' by Steven Berkoff

Guest Director at The Maddermarket Theatre 1998

'Silences to start with. Long, inviting curiosity, at first, by not answering questions, next rousing disquiet, as if it can't or mustn't be told, and then shaking us into anxiety. Director Peter Beck, with help from lighting designer Paul Stimpson, accepts a fragmented action, and sombre colours are relieved only by the panel of faces and the white dress that differentiates the tragic heroine from the two gentlemen. Catherine McNeil's Madeline injects a sense of transgression that nearly explains everything, while Chris Evans, at his best in an episode when through mime he becomes the very House of Usher, rises in frenzy, and Tim Ashwell as Edgar, leads us from realities into the imagined heart of darkness.'

Christopher Smith, Eastern Daily Press

 

'Audiences love or hate Berkoff. His often aggressive, vitriolic portrayal of life causes people to walk out in disgust or dismay. But this adaptation contains nothing of that. Rather, it displays in the tightness of dialogue the hand of a master at work with the plot closely following the original story to the extent of quotes from the text. Add to that superb direction and lighting, incorporate surrealistic action which frequently becomes mime, present the entire play in brief scenic outbursts, highlight the illnesses, oddities and incipient madness of the Ushers and what you have is an electrifying production played out often on a darkened stage and often in silence. For instance, there is no sound for the first four minutes apart from a scream. Now that is powerful stuff. And it takes an accomplished cast and backstage team to achieve it. Quality drama that should not be missed.'

Ken Hulme, Norwich Evening News

 

Production images by Dave Guttridge

  

 

 

 

'Planet Aqua' 

Platform One Theatre Company 1998

Script and Lyrics by Peter Beck

Music by Karen Reilly and Robin Forrest   www.robinforrest.com

Additional Lyrics by Karen Reilly

Maddermarket Theatre

 

 

 

 

'Antigone' by Jean Anouilh

Platform One Theatre Company 1997

Touring - East Anglia

'Definitely worth seeing, tremendous'    Abigail Saltmarsh, Norwich Evening News