British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database
Involved in 18 productions. Has worked with 41 other people in this database.
David Thacker began directing when he was a student at the University of York. He began his career at the York Theatre Royal and Chester Gateway before he was appointed Theatre Director at the Duke's Playhouse, Lancaster. In 1984, Thacker became Director of the Young Vic Theatre in London in 1984, where his first production was Othello in which he cast Rudolph Walker in the title role, who at the time was only the fourth black actor to play Othello on a major London stage and the first to do so since Errol John at the Old Vic in 1963. He was director-in-residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1993 - 1995. While still at the Young Vic, Thacker developed a close working relationship with the American playwright Arthur Miller and directed the European premieres of Miller's later works, including the Olivier-award winning Broken Glass. For his 1989 production of Pericles at the RSC, Thacker won the Olivier award for Best Director and the production won the Olivier for Best Revival. Between 1995 - 2009, Thacker worked predominantly in television until he was appointed the Artistic Director of the Octagon Theatre, Bolton. In the autumn of 2015, the director continued to work at the Octagon as Associate Artistic Director having taken up the new post of Professor of Theatre at the University of Bolton.
David Thacker was interviewed by Dr. Jami Rogers for the Multicultural Shakespeare project at the Young Vic Theatre on 20 July 2015. The full audio of the interview is below.
Speaking about his decision to cast Rudolph Walker as Othello in his 1984 production: "I don't think my position has changed really, it's just become more obvious now but that's what I believed at the time, I felt it would be insulting to all black actors; politically completely unacceptable and artistically stupid, ridiculous actually, worthy of ridicule" (14:00 approx)
Thacker's description of Walker's performance: "And I think Rudolph brought fantastic skills [to the role]....He had great emotional depth....and also he is an actor, and was in that role, particularly likeable and engaging." (16:00 approx)