Giles Block, John Shrapnel, Alan Dossor & Wendy Allnutt.

Alan Dossor: 1941 - 2016

Wednesday 10th August 2016

Alan Dossor is pictured above, second from right with (l-r) Giles Block, John Shrapnel and Wendy Allnutt.

Here at Nottingham Playhouse, we were saddened to hear of the death earlier this week of acclaimed director Alan Dossor at the age of 74. Alan was an integral part of the Nottingham Playhouse company that opened the current building in 1963 under the leadership of Artistic Director John Neville. He appeared as an actor in small roles in Doctor Faustus, Julius Caesar, Death of a Salesman and Saint Joan, alongside Judi Dench. However, it was as a director that he made his name, and during the 1960s Dossor directed Bread and Butter by C.P. Taylor and Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children. Alan Dossor last made a public appearance at the Playhouse for the opening of the Neville Studio in 2013, reuniting with some members of the original Bread and Butter cast that he hadn’t seen for nearly 50 years, including Giles Block, John Shrapnel and Wendy Allnutt.

In later years, Alan would go on to direct over fifty stage productions in the English regions, London’s West End, Canada and Broadway. From 1970-75 he was Artistic Director at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool. He directed a mixture of classics and many new plays by writers including John McGrath, Adrian Mitchell, Willy Russell, Mike Stott and Charles Wood. He also worked extensively in TV and film, including Where The Heart Is (United); A Touch Of Frost (Yorkshire TV); The Missing Postman (BBC – Winner British Comedy Awards Best Drama 1997); First And Last (BBC – Winner International Emmy Award); Flea Bites (BBC) and Ice Dance (BBC), the last two of which were written by Nottingham writer Stephen Lowe.

In 2005, he returned to Nottingham Playhouse to direct the Stephen Lowe play Old Big ‘Ead in the Spirit of the Man. It proved to be one of the most successful productions ever staged at Nottingham Playhouse.

Stephen has fond memories of working with Alan. “Alan was one of those rare directors who genuinely created a new theatre. In Liverpool at the Everyman, he nurtured a new generation of actors including Tony Sher, Jonathan Pryce, Julie Walters, Alison Steadman and Pete Postlethwaite, as well as new writers like Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell. He respected and loved all the cast and crew, and hated management in any form whatsoever. This could make for a very lively production process. We made two BBC films together – Ice Dance with Warren Clarke and Flea Bites with Nigel Hawthorne – but the real high spot was the Nottingham Playhouse production of Old Big ‘Ead in the Spirit of the Man, my comic homage to Brian Clough superbly directed by Alan. Brian and Alan shared many traits – outspoken, daring, talented, trusted by his team and above all totally dedicated in his pursuit of ‘the beautiful game’. It was a delight to play alongside. I will miss him.”