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Oscar Lewenstein

(1917—1997) theatre and film producer


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(b. London, 8 Jan. 1917; d. Hove, Sussex, 23 Feb. 1997) Theatrical manager, producer. Lewenstein cut his theatrical teeth as general manager of Glasgow Unity (1947–9). In 1952 he became the general manager of the Royal Court, convening in 1954 the first council of the English Stage Company. Combining socialist principles with effective business sense, Lewenstein presented the work of Osborne, Friel and Genet, and was responsible for the British premières of Brecht's The Three-penny Opera (1956) and Ionesco's Rhinoceros (1960), and transfers of Theatre Workshop productions to the West End. He was also a successful film producer (e.g. The Knack, Tom Jones). In 1972, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Royal Court, and by 1975 he had produced many successes, notably seasons of plays by Fugard and Orton. His autobiography, Kicking Against the Pricks, was published in 1994.

From The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.


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