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Stage Blood


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Stage Blood: Five tempestuous years in the early life of the National Theatre, by Michael Blakemore, is the enthralling, tumultuous behind-the-scenes story of Blakemore's time at the National Theatre, published for the theatre's fiftieth anniversary.

About the Author

Michael Blakemore arrived in the UK from Australia in 1950 and his first fifteen years in the theatre were spent as an actor. During this period he wrote his novel about an actor's life, Next Season, still in print and coming out as an audio book to coincide with the publication of Stage Blood. He began directing at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre and his first London success, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, transferred from there. Laurence Olivier then asked him to become an Associate Director of the National Theatre, where he directed Olivier in Long Day's Journey into Night. Among his many other National Theatre productions are The National Health, The Front Page, Macbeth and The Cherry Orchard. His work has embraced new plays by dramatists as diverse as Arthur Miller, David Hare, Peter Schaffer, Don DeLillo, Woody Allen and David Mamet. He directed four of Peter Nichols' early successes, and many premieres of plays by Michael Frayn, including Noises Off and Copenhagen. His most recent productions are Democracy at the National, Three Sisters in the West End and, on Broadway, Blythe Spirit. Extensive work on Broadway includes two original musicals, City of Angels and The Life. At the 2000 Tony Awards he won an unprecedented double as Best Director of both a play, Copenhagen, and a musical, Kiss Me Kate. He has written and directed two films, A Personal History of the Australian Surf (Standard Film Award, 1982) and Country Life. His memoir, Arguments with England, also published by Faber, finishes where Stage Blood begins.


Warm, wise, and even sternly moralistic ... Theatre is evanescent, yet it can provide us with experiences so intense that we gratefully retain them for the rest of our lives. Memory compulsively preserves ancient grudges; more importantly, as Blakemore demonstrates, it is the impregnable archive of our affections. Peter Conrad, The Observer A vivid, personal account of a fascinating period in British theatre. Financial Times Masterly ... Michael Blakemore is a writer of exceptional gifts. Heretical though it may be, I cannot help wishing that he would shut the stage-door behind him for a while and concentrate instead on the next book. Selina Hastings, The Spectator Stage Blood is the best theater book I've read since, well, Blakemore's equally enthralling 2004 memoir, Arguments with England. Both deserve a place of prominence on your shelf. Michael Riedel, New York Post With its pulpy title and lurid, crime thriller-style jacket, it promises salacious details and largely delivers ... tremendous fun. Metro

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