Donald Sturrock

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Books

Agent: Caroline Dawnay
Associate : Sophie Scard

Film, TV & Theatre

Agent: St John Donald
Assistant: Jonny Jones

Books

Donald Sturrock grew up in England and South America and, after leaving Oxford University, joined BBC Television's Music and Arts Department in 1983, where he worked as writer, producer and director. 

He has made more than 30 documentaries, including biographical features about William Trevor, Robert Graves, Jennifer Johnston and Roald Dahl.

Throughout the 1990s he continued to maintain a close relationship with Dahl's work, the Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Estate.  Since 1992, he has been the artistic director of the Roald Dahl Foundation, masterminding an ambitious project to create an international library of new orchestral works and operas for children, based on the stories of Roald Dahl.

In 1995 Sturrock directed an acclaimed BBC television version of his own adaptation of Roald Dahl's LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD with Danny DeVito, Ian Holm and Julie Walters.  And in 1998, at the Los Angeles Opera, Sturrock also directed the world premiere of FANTASTIC MR FOX, an opera based on Dahl's book, adapted by Sturrock, and with designs by Gerald Scarfe.  It was widely acclaimed for its sophisticated wit and comic invention.  The Wall Street Journal praised the libretto's 'profound grasp of musical storytelling', while the Frankfurter Algemeine described the production as 'brilliant and flawless'

For film, television and theatre, please contact St John Donald at United Agents.
 

Latest publication:

STORYTELLER, HarperCollins, 02 Sept 2010
Roald Dahl is one of the greatest storytellers of all time.  He pushed children's literature into uncharted territory, and almost twenty years after his death his popularity continues to grow.  This man behind the mesmerising stories, however, has remained an enigma and his public persona was often controversial.

To his readers, though, Dahl was always a hero, and since his death his reputation has been transformed.  Critics too now celebrate his wild imagination, quirky humour and linguistic elegance; while figures like Willy Wonka, the BFG and the Grand High Witch are recognised as immortal literary creatios.

In this masterly biography, written with unprecedented access to Dahl's private papers and with reference to hundreds of newly discovered letters, Donald Sturrock reveals many hitherto hidden aspects of Roald Dahl's extraordinary life: his terrifying experiences as a fighter pilot, his years in Washington during the Second World War; the mental anguish caused by the trio of family disasters that truck him in the 1960s.  These began when his son was hit by a taxi and crushed against the side of a bus, continuing two years later with the death of his seven-year-old daughter from measles, and concluding with the terrible stroke of his first wife, the Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal.  How Dahl dealt with these disasters and how afterwards, in his mid-fifties, he fell in love for the first time, making irresistable reading.

A remarkable biography of one of the world's most exceptional writers, Storyteller is an intimate portrait of an intensely private man hindered by physical pain and haunted by family tragedy.  Dahl lives on every page of this book, which conjured up his unique voice and reveals the man as we've never seen him before.

 

Reviews:

'[A] superb biography ... a hugely readable portrait that examines vividly and sympathetically the life and work of a difficult, complex author who was adored by millions of children' Sunday Telegraph

'It is a measure of the greatness of this biography that Sturrock is able to get behind [Dahl's] fantasies and exaggerations without losing respect or sympathy.  We simply don't live lives with Roald Dahl's anymore' The Times

'Donald Sturrock [is] a creative and sensitive biographer ... minutely researched, Storyteller does Dahl the service, as Dahl did for some of his characters, of revealing the human in the monstrous.' Times Literary Supplement

 

'This is [Donald Sturrock's] first biography and it is hard to see how he could have done it better ... there was something magnificently bullish about Roald Dahl ... Sturrock captures this side of him beautifully' Mail on Sunday

'What shines out from this intimately informed biography is Dahl's vitality, courage and passion for life ... Sturrock has managed it with zest and aplomb ... Dahl was vivid and dynamic and this vivid, dynamic book gives you the illusion that you knew him'  Sunday Times

'A tremendously assured piece of work ... Deftly, and with great acuity, [Sturrock] manages to embrace Dahl's numerous contradictions' Spectator

'Irresistable.  I thought I knew quite a lot about Roald Dahl, but now I know much, much more. Donald Sturrock's book lucidly describes a complicated life and relates it to the richness of Dahl's storytelling' Quentin Blake, illustrator

'A truly magnificent biography by Donald Sturrock that tells the whole story ... a masterly account' A.N. Wilson

 

Film, TV & Theatre

Biography and further information

Other

ProductionCompanyNotes

A BED TO DIE FOR
New play by Debbie Giggle
Director

Windsor Festival 2005

ARENA: THE GRAHAM GREENE TRILOGY
Winner of Broadcasting Writer's Guild Best Documentary 1993

PLACIDO DOMINGO'S TALES AT THE OPERA
1. Winter Storms
2. Hollywood Bohemians
3. Murder in Manhattan
4. Forest Fever
Producer: Martin Rosenbaum

BBC/Worldwide Int. Television

AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE

Music Link International

THE ART OF SINGING

IMG / Ideale Audience

THE ART OF PIANO
Producers: Stephen Wright, Pierre-Olivier Bardet
Grammy Award Finalist 2002

Ideale Audience

ROAD DAHL'S LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Producer: Robert Warr
Choreography: Matthew Bourne
With Danny De Vito, Julie Walters and Ian Holm
* Winner of Cologne Television Festival Top Ten Award 1996
* BAFTA Award Nominee 1996

BBC/PMI

LETTERS OF LOVE BETRAYED
Opera
Librettist/Director
Music by Eleanor Alberga

Royal Opera House Commission

THE GOLDEN TICKET
Opera
Librettist/Director
Music by Peter Ash

KEEPERS OF THE NIGHT
Librettist/Director
Music by Peter Ash

EIGHT WOMEN

Southwark Theatre

A play by Robert Thomas - Translator

RAIN DANCE

W11 Opera

Opera Librettist, with music by Stuart Hancock

MAHLER'S EIGTH SYMPHONY

BBC/EMI

With Klaus Tennstedt - Producer - Grammy Award Nominee 2006

FANTASTIC MR FOX

Los Angeles Opera

Director/Librettist, with music by Tobias Picker

ROALD DAHL'S JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

Royal Albert Hall

Writer/Director. With Danny DeVito, Joanna Lumley & Simon Callow

MAHLER'S FIFTH SYMPHONY

BBC/EMI

With Klaus Tennstedt. Producer.

WORDS RETURN TO MUSIC: THE UNREAL WORLD OF ALFRED SCHNITTKE

BBC

Writer/Director

AFTER THE STORM: THE AMERICAN EXILE OF BELA BARTOK

BBC

Writer/Director

SIX FOOT CINDERELLA

BBC

Writer/Director