Monday, September 8, 2014
Wild Swans Preparations
Rodney Fisher has worked in most major theatres in Australia and for all Australian State Theatre companies as well as Opera Australia, the Victorian State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Royal Ballet in London, and Legs on the Wall. He has directed in England, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong and at the Spoleto Festival, Charleston, South Carolina. He has directed theatre, opera, dance, film and video and has written several theatre pieces and screenplays.
He directed Robin Ramsay in The Bastard from the Bush which he wrote with Ramsay and which toured throughout Australia and overseas. He wrote the text and directed A Star is Torn, Robyn Archer’s most successful stage show, which toured Australia and was nominated for all major London theatre awards (1982). In 1997/99 he directed Master Class – first starring Robyn Nevin as Maria Callas (in Brisbane and Sydney) then Amanda Muggleton (in Adelaide and Melbourne); this highly acclaimed production of Terrence McNally’s play was nominated for three Green Room Awards, including Best Director, and won the 1999 Best Actress Award for Amanda Muggleton
The hugely successful production of My Fair Lady which he directed along with Anthony Warlow and Suzanne Johnston was staged four times, including Sydney’s Capitol Theatre (1997); he directed The Merry Widow in 1999 – with Marina Prior, Max Gillies and Grant Piro (who won a Green Room Award) – in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
His staging of Nell Dunn’s Steaming (1982 – 4) with Amanda Muggleton, Gwen Plumb and Joan Sydney was a legendary success throughout Australia. Other memorable productions Rodney has directed include: Intime Briefe (1979), at Sadler’s Wells, London, and Bayerische Oper, Munich; The Dresser (1981) with Warren Mitchell, Ruth Cracknell and Gordon Chater; David Pownall’sMasterclass for the 1984 Adelaide Festival; his award winning staging of Orson Welles’ version of Moby Dick (1988) with John Stanton as Captain Ahab; David Hare’s Racing Demon (1991); The Rain Dancers (1992) by Karin Mainwaring, Pinter’s The Homecoming (1992); Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (1993) with Yvonne Kenny and Joan Carden; and David Edgar’s Pentecost (1996) with Geoff Morrell, Lech Mackiewicz ang Gosia Dobrowolska.
He has directed works by international writers including Chekhov, Ibsen, Pinter, Pirandello, Coward, Tennessee Williams, Miller, Kambanellis, Brecht and Shakespeare; and new Australian plays by Dorothy Hewett, Nick Enright, Michael Gow, Karin Mainwaring, Nicholas Jose, Raimondo Cortese, Beatrix Christian, Timothy Daly and the world premieres of five David Williamson plays; The Department, A Handful of Friends, The Club, The Perfectionist,and Top Silk. His staging of The Perfectionist with a cast including Robyn Nevin, Hugo Weaving and Noel Ferrier was invited by Gian Carlo Menotti to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, where it was highly praised by New York critics Clive Barnes and Mel Gussow.
In 1986-87 he wrote and directed an eight-hour television mini series Melba,seen worldwide on the life of the great Australian singer. Filmed in Australia, England, France and Hungary, it starred Linda Cropper as Melba, with the voice of Yvonne Kenny, and a cast including Hugo Weaving, Joan Greenwood, Googie Withers and Noel Ferrier. Other film credits include I Can’t Get Started with John Waters and Wendy Hughes and Loveless. With composer Max Lyandvert as his co-director, he has a CD label, Kitchen Sink, which specialises in new music.
As Artistic Director of State Theatre Company of South Australia from 1997 to 2000, Rodney directed productions of The Department, Master Class, Macbeth, The Idiot, Kafka Dances, Courtyard of Miracles, The Rose Tattooand Twelfth Night.
In 2001 he directed Noel Coward’s Design for Living for the Melbourne Theatre Company and in 2002 he directed Lady in the Van for the Sydney Theatre Company. Other work includes In Front of You with singer Aya Larkin at the Sydney Opera House Studio, Hello Dolly! with Amanda Muggleton and John Stanton at the Victorian Arts Centre. In 2004 he wrote and directedDarling It’s Noel for ICA playing at the Sydney Opera House’s Playhouse Theatre. Rodney directed Love’s Labours Lost at NIDA and the David Williamson tribute at the 2005 Helpmann Awards.
Rodney has directed productions at NIDA over the last few years, includingLove’s Labours Lost and Noises Off. This year he directs again for NIDA and the Actors Centre Australia. He will direct Amanda Muggleton in a national tour of The Bookclub for Hit Productions and he recently directed the ACO production Barry Humphries' Weiner Cabaret, starring his frequent collaborator, Meow Meow.
The recipient of many awards, Rodney Fisher has received an award for “significant contribution to the theatre” from the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle; and, in 1988, he was made a member of the Order of Australia “for services to directing and writing”.