Laurence, writer of Beauty & the Beast, is one of British theatres leading directors and has worked at theatres throughout the UK and internationally.
His first job was as an assistant at the RSC where he was subsequently a freelance and an Associate Director. He has directed a number of commercially successful shows in the West End and on Broadway.
He is an Olivier Award Winner, a Tony Nominee and an Associate Artist of the RSC. Laurence first wrote and directed Beauty & the Beast for the Young Vic in London in 1996 where it won the UK Theatre Award for Best Show for Children and Young People. He subsequently revived the show for the main stage of the RSC in 2003 where it sold out, was greeted with great critical acclaim and revived the following year. Laurence was invited to recreate the show for the International Festival of the Arts in New Zealand and has rewritten the text especially for this performance.
The initial spur to create the show came from his daughter Lottie, who having read her a number of stories at bedtime was asked which she preferred, her answer was clear and unequivocal: “Beauty and The Beast because it’s about a girl growing up and all the other stories are about boys fighting”. You might not be surprised to learn that little Lottie is now a grown woman and is training to be a psychotherapist.
Laurence is particularly delighted that Beauty has found a home in Keswick this Christmas because thirty years ago as artistic director of Pocket Theatre he toured the towns and villages of Cumbria and has very fond memories of the county and of Keswick itself, in those days the theatre was still located in the legendary Blue Box. During that time he was also the director of Cumbria Youth Theatre and he hopes that some people who were members of CYT are watching the show in Keswick.
As a writer, Laurence has created a number of versions of plays from the Spanish Golden Age including: The Phoenix of Madrid and The Painter Of His Dishonour by Calderon de la Barca, published by Oberon Books, Fuente Ovejuna by Lope de Vega published by Nick Hern Books and Don Gil of the Green Britches and Damned for Despair by Tirso de Molina also published by Nick Hern Books.
At present Laurence is Artistic Director of the Ustinov Studio in Bath. As a writer he is working on a major new family drama called The Arrow Bride based on a Russian fairy tale. Beauty & the Beast is published by Nick Hern Books.