|Activity||In February 1962, David Conville Productions Ltd. signed a contract for a three-month summer season at the OAT, with David Conville as Managing Director and David William as Artistic Director. The first season opened with a production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' on 4th June 1962, and also included 'Twelfth Night' and 'Love's Labour's Lost'. In 1963 they formed a new non-profit-distributing charity, the New Shakespeare Company [NSC], under the same management. From 1963 productions at the OAT were presented by the NSC. Richard Digby Day succeeded David William as Artistic Director in 1968. In 1975 a new fan-shaped outdoor auditorium, designed by William Howell, was built with a 1,200 capacity making it one of the largest theatres in London. 1982 saw the Golden Jubilee of the Open Air Theatre, which was celebrated with a visit from Queen Elizabeth. In 1987, David Conville became Chairman of the New Shakespeare Company, while Ian Talbot succeeded him as Artistic & Managing Director. |
The lease on the Open Air Theatre requires that each season include at least two Shakespeare plays. The cornerstone of the repertoire has been the popular comedies, particularly 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', but there have also been successful performances of many of the tragedies and histories. Apart from Shakespeare, the Company has tackled a broad range of theatre styles, from large-scale musicals to small-scale modern classics such as 'Old Times' and 'Zoo Story'. Since 1987, each season has included a production for children. The Company also undertakes British and overseas tours.
The New Shakespeare Company is a non-profit company and a charitable organisation, headed by a Board of Directors and Trustees. The present day administrative structure of the Company includes a small core of permanent staff, including the Artistic & Managing Director, General Manager, Office Manager, Marketing & Administrative Assistant and Book-Keeper. Other staff are employed on a seasonal basis, and include a Press & Marketing Manager; Box Office Manager (& staff); Front-Of-House Manager (& staff); Education Officer; Production Manager; Stage,Deputy Stage & Company Managers; technical staff (Master Carpenter, Costume Supervisor, Wardrobe Manager & assistants), and the Company of actors. For each production, there will also be a number of externally contracted staff including the Costume & Set Designer, Musical Director and Choreographer. Causual staff include the Set Painter and Set Crew. The Parkfood Company independently leases the OAT catering facilities. The OAT season runs from June to September.