Malcolm Taylor

Biography

Malcolm Taylor trained at RADA (Albert Finney, Diana Rigg & Susannah York were his contemporaries) and was an actor for ten years before becoming a director. He carried a spear in the memorable Stratford-on-Avon 1959 season when Olivier played Coriolanus, Paul Robeson Othello, Charles Laughton Lear, and Guthrie directed All’s Well. Subsequently he played seasons at the Mermaid, Stratford East and Royal Court Theatres, and appeared in five West End plays, including The Seagull at the Queens, starring Peggy Ashcroft, Vanessa Redgrave and Peter Finch.
While acting in Luther, with Albert Finney, he met Lindsay Anderson who asked him if he would become the dialogue coach for Richard Harris who was about to star in his film This Sporting Life. This led to him giving up acting and becoming Lindsay’s assistant director at the Royal Court.

Subsequently he became an Associate director of Theatr Cymru in Wales before founding The London Theatre Company which produced the first professional season of drama at the Watermill Theatre. In 1970 he produced and directed Under Milk Wood at the May Fair (then one of the smaller West End theatres) It was scheduled for a month and ran for ten; it was produced again at the same theatre in 1978 when it ran for a year). The London Theatre Company later presented seasons at the Arts, Sadler’s Wells, and toured extensively, playing theatres including the Abbey, Dublin, and the National theatres of all the Scandinavian countries.

Malcolm was appointed the Artistic Director of the York Theatre Royal in the late seventies, where he was responsible for developing touring and outreach programmes as well as directing a great many of the productions –‘Not so much a job, more a way of life!’ He is particularly proud of his adaptation of the film The Wizard of Oz into a stage musical, which broke all box-office records at the theatre one Christmas.

In the late eighties he formed Topaz Productions, with actor David Jason, and for ten years he wrote, and directed many award winning corporate productions. The company also produced Carl Davis’s musical Vackees at the Lyric theatre, Hammersmith, and Guys and Dolls at the Edinburgh Festival’ as well as several commercial tours.

He has had an enormous amount of writing experience both as a collaborator (with the writers Bill Naughton & Frederick Knott) and as a (reluctant!) script editor, particularly during his time working as a director on such television soaps as Eastenders and Coronation Street. His book, The Actor and the Camera, was published both in the UK and USA, and his thriller Fatal Connection has been performed by two repertory companies in the UK. When he retiried as a director of Topaz ( remaining a consultant) he worked with the trustees of the newly formed Old Sorting Office Arts Centre, in Barnes, to develop a professional drama policy and initiate an annual Arts Festival. He adapted Paul Scott’s Booker prize novel ‘Staying On’ for the stage and in May of 2008 he staged a new revival of Milk Wood at the Tricycle Theatre, London.

Malcolm continued to write and direct right up until his death in February 2011, leaving behind him his actress wife Annie Taylor, daughters Ellen Taylor ( Writer) Katie Taylor ( choreographer) and grandchildren Finley and Eliza.

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