Peter Dews Biography (1929-1997)
Born September 26, 1929, in Wakefield, England; died of a heart attack, August 25, 1997. Educator, actor, director, producer. Dews is best remembered forhis work with the London theater and for his adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays for BBC Television. Deciding he wanted to be an actor at the age of four, Dews first began his career as a schoolmaster in Barnsley, England. Then, he pursued his interest in the theater at the Civic Playhouse in Bradford as an actor and also as a director. In 1952 he directed Crime Passionel atthe Playhouse. Next he set up shop at BBC-Radio and produced 300 plays whilein its employ. Dews then began work in television. From 1954 to 1964 he served as drama director for the BBC's Midland region. In 1960 he achieved celebrity when he serialized Shakespeare's histories--including Richard II and Richard III--for the BBC in a series titled An Age of Kings. The series, which included stars such as Sean Connery, earned Dews the Guild of Television Producers and Directors Award for best drama production that year. He engaged in other series for television called The Spread of the Eagle in 1963. Other television shows he directed for the BBC included A Man for All Seasons, The Alchemist, and The Cruel Necessity.
In addition to his television pursuits, Dews still maintained a love of the theater and later worked as director of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from1966 to 1972. While at Birmingham, he directed productions such as 1066 and All That, Peer Gynt, Equus, Twelfth Night, A Crack in the Ice, and Hadrian VII. The latter work was also performed on Broadway and earned Dews an Antoinette Perry Award as best director. In 1978 he began two years with the Chichester Festival Theatre, where he directed Othello, Julius Caesar, Much Ado aboutNothing, and The Importance of Being Earnest among others. His later career included productions of King Lear, An Inspector Calls, and She Stoops to Conquer. Named Midland Man of the Year in 1972, he also received honorary degreesfrom De Paul University and Bradford.
- Birth Details
- September 26, 1929
- Wakefield, England
- Who's Who, St. Martin's Press, 1996.
- Times (London; electronic), September 3, 1997.