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Piers Ibbotson


Piers Ibbotson began his theatre career with Newcastle’s Young People’s Theatre. After university, he worked as a geologist in the oil industry before returning to the UK and to the theatre.

His first professional job in l979 was at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, with the renowned Theatre in Education Company.

He later moved to London to work at the Riverside Studios with David Levaux.

After seasons at the Royal National Theatre, the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, plus a number of brief television appearances including rôles in Inspector Morse, Minder and Blackadder, he achieved his life-long ambition of working at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He remained there for seven years, playing a number of leading rôles culminating in Orestes in Deborah Warner’s celebrated production of Electra with Fiona Shaw.

Piers Ibbotson - Director
Towards the end of his time at the RSC, he jumped the footlights to become an assistant director, working closely with Adrian Noble, John Caird, Max Stafford Clark and a number of other leading directors on many productions. He now divides his time between directing, teaching and work in organisational development, bringing insights from acting and directing to the world of business. He has been elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts for this work.

About The People Must Pay, Piers says, “This project is one of the most interesting things I’ve done in years. For me, personally, to be able to return to the North East and engage here with the talent and commitment of people whose views and perceptions are shaped, in part, by the powerful history of the region, is a real pleasure. It always puts me at ease when I come here, to know that I am working with people who are gifted and passionate and whose skill and commitment blurs all distinctions between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’.

“Blyth and its history contain such an important thread of the present fabric of our times. The struggles of working people and the overwhelming power of the industrial machine that has grown and spread from its birthplace here, in this country, is one of the most important stories of our time. The excitement of unearthing the stories of people from those days of conflict and change, and being able to enter, imaginatively, their world and to try, as best we can, to tell their story, is a wonderful privilege and an important task. Also, it’s a real surprise to discover that the questions around Monarchy and its place in our society were as live and controversial then as they are now.

“It gives you this strange feeling that we are in some way carrying on the same conversation that was begun by the people of Blyth a hundred and thirty years ago and that the people of Blyth are continuing that same conversation today.”

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