The Birthday Party (1958)

Production Details

Author:
New Play:

Venue:
Staging:

First performance:
Opening night:
Final performance:
Harold Pinter
No

Tour (see notes)
Round

9 January 1959
9 January 1959
Not known
Stacks Image 10549

Company Details

Director:

Stage Manager:
Harold Pinter

Ann Hughesdon
Character
Petey
Meg
Stanley
Lulu
Goldberg
McCann
Actor
David Campton
Dona Martyn
Alan Ayckbourn
Faynia Jeffery
David Sutton
Rodney Wood

Notes

A fascinating yet little know piece of the Library Theatre’s history is Harold Pinter made his directorial debut with the Studio Theatre company directing only the second professional production of his play The Birthday Party.
Despite its significance as Pinter’s directorial debut, this production of The Birthday Party is often over-looked; which is all the more extraordinary considering Pinter spoke on record about how his experiences with directing the play re-affirmed both his view of the play following its critical mauling in the West End and his own abilities as a playwright.
The Birthday Party was rehearsed in Scarborough in the Library Theatre during the 1958 winter season, however it was never performed in Scarborough. It was part of the company’s subsequent winter tour and performed at Birmingham Theatre Centre and the Vaughan College, Leicester.
Somewhat bizarrely, the first scene of this production was performed in Scarborough by the Studio Theatre company at the Futurist Theatre as part of a late-night charity fund-raiser on 2 September 1959 - alongside acts such as Frankie Howard, Molly Sudden and Martin Granger’s Puppets!
Alan Ayckbourn's experiences with Harold Pinter whilst acting in The Birthday Party were hugely influential. During the course of the tour, Alan began writing this first professionally commissioned play, The Square Cat.
The image above shows Harold Pinter with the Library Theatre's first resident writer, David Campton.

Links