Nancy Meckler Archive

Scope and Content

Documents collected by Nancy Meckler relating to her theatre productions, theatre companies and film productions.

Administrative / Biographical History

Nancy Meckler is a freelance theatre and film director, born in America in 1941, but well known for her work in the UK with Shared Experience which she co-founded in 1989. She spent 22 years as Artistic Director of the company where productions included Heartbreak House, True West, The Birthday Party, The Bacchae, Orestes, A Passage to India, Mother Courage, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Brontë, War & Peace, several productions of Mill on the Floss, and the prize winning Anna Karenina.

Having performed in the States with the La Mama Plexus Workshop, she moved to the UK in 1968 and joined the Wherehouse La MaMa later later co-founding company The Freehold (1968–73), where she eventually became director. The group employed devising methodology to create work, and were the first company to receive the John Whiting Award for "new and distinctive development in dramatic writing", traditionally given to playwrights. She was Associate Director of Hampstead Theatre from 1976-86 where she directed productions including Uncle Vanya, and Buried Child, as well as Sufficient Carbohydrate, and Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi, both of which transferred to London's West End. She was also Associate Director for Leicester Haymarket from 1984-87 where her work included The Cherry Orchard, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Baal, The Hypochondriac, Medea, Electra, and Orestes.

Invited by Sam Shepard to direct premieres of three of his plays, she has also directed many freelance productions including new plays for the Bush, Royal Court, and Almeida. Nancy was the first woman to direct at the National Theatre, ( Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) where she also directed Abingdon Square and Rose starring Olympia Dukakis. For the Royal Shakespeare Company Nancy has directed All’s Well That Ends Well, Comedy of Errors, Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, House of Desires, and The Heresy of Love. Her production of Onassis with Robert Lindsay played at Chichester and in London's West End.

Film work includes two feature films, Sister My Sister with Julie Walters, and Indian Summer (renamed Alive and Kicking for the American release) which won the Audience Award at the London Film Festival and most popular feature at Hamptons International Film Festival.

For Scottish Ballet Nancy created Streetcar Named Desire with choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, which was nominated for an Olivier and awarded a South Bank Sky Arts award in 2013. In 2016 she collaborated with Lopez Ochoa again for an English National Ballet piece about Frida Kahlo, Broken Wings.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with collection management policy.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Relevant material may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files. Material on companies which Nancy Meckler has worked with can be found in the company archives;

  • THM/396 - Shared Experience Theatre Company Archive
  • THM/450 - Monstrous Regiment Theatre Company Archive

Please ask for details.

Personal Names