Film, TV & Theatre
ADRIAN MITCHELL was born in London in 1932. He was educated in Wiltshire and at Christ Church, Oxford. He was a reporter on the Oxford Mail and the Evening Standard, then a freelance journalist, writing about books, pop music, jazz and television for the Guardian, The Observer, New Statesman, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Sunday Times, Peace News and The Black Dwarf. He has received the Eric Gregory Award for Poetry (1961), the P.E.N. Translation Prize (1966) and the Tokyo Festival Television Film Award (1971).
In addition to his numerous plays Adrian wote libretti, four novels, IF YOU SEE ME COMIN', THE BODYGUARD, WARTIME and MAN FRIDAY and published the following books of poetry : POEMS (1964), PEACE IS MILK (1966), OUT LOUD (1968), RIDE THE NIGHTMARE (1971), THE APEMAN COMETH (1975), FOR BEAUTY DOUGLAS, COLLECTED POEMS 1953-1979 (1982), ON THE BEACH AT CAMBRIDGE (1983) and NOTHINGMAS DAY AND OTHER POEMS FOR KIDS AND THEIR ALLIES (1984), ADRIAN MITCHELL'S GREATEST HITS (1992), BALLOON LAGOON (1997), BLUE COFFEE (1996), HEART ON THE LEFT (1997), DANCING IN THE STREET (2000), ALL SHOOK UP (2001), A POEM A DAY (2001), ZOO OF DREAMS (2001) and THE SHADOW KNOWS (2004). A collection of his lyrics for the theatre - LOVE SONGS FOR WORLD WAR THREE was published by Allison & Busby. He was committed to poetry as an oral medium and has given countless readings in the UK and abroad. Bloodaxe will publish a new book of his poems this autumn - COME ON EVERYBODY Poems 1953-2008.
In 1964 Adrian Mitchell wrote the verse adaptation for Peter Weiss's MARAT/SADE for Peter Brook's RSC production at the Aldwych (New York 1965). Adrian subsequently wrote many songs for the Brook RSC production of US. Other work for the theatre includes a new libretto for THE MAGIC FLUTE (Covent Garden), an English version of Jose Triana's play THE CRIMINALS for the RSC; TAMBURLAINE THE MAD HEN, a play for children; TYGER, a show with songs celebrating the life of William Blake for the National Theatre; MAN FRIDAY (7.84 Company), MIND YOUR HEAD (Everyman, Liverpool), a free adaptation of Gogol's THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR for the Nottingham Playhouse; HOUDINI, a libretto for the Netherlands Opera; the adaptation of Calderon's THE MAYOR OF ZALAMEA for The National, UPPENDOWN MOONEY and songs for RAISING THE TITANIC for the Welfare State Theatre Company; a version of PEER GYNT for the Oxford Playhouse Company, and adaptation of Kipling's MOWGLI'S JUNGLE for the Contact Theatre, Manchester; HOAGY BIX and WOLFGANG BEETHOVEN BUNKHAUS for the Tricycle; IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY for South West Music Theatre, ROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS (music by Bill Scott) for the Nottingham Playhouse in 1977 and THE WHITE DEER and THE WILD ANIMAL SONG CONTEST for the Unicorn Theatre.
Adrian adapted the Dylan Thomas short story A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES for the Great Lakes Festival Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio and Lope de Vega's LOST IN A MIRROR and Calderon's LIFE IS A DREAM for the RSC; he adapted Calderon's GREAT THEATRE OF THE WORLD for the Medieval Players; a second version of THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR, this time for the National Theatre; the lyrics for Peter Hall's National Theatre version of George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM; an adaptation of Goldoni's MIRANDOLINA (Bristol Old Vic). SATIE DAY/NIGHT, a celebration of the life and work of Erik Satie (Lyric, Hammersmith); ANNA ON ANNA, a one woman show based on the life and poetry of Anna Wickham; the book and lyrics for a musical of THE PIED PIPER at the National Theatre. He wrote the libretto for THE LAST WILD WOOD IN SECTOR 8 (music by Guy Woolfenden) for the Rugby Music Centre; an adaptation of Lope de Vega's FUENTE OVEJUNA for the National Theatre. He adapted Hans Christian Anderson's THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER for The Unicorn Theatre and BARON MUNCHAUSEN for the Theatre of Public Works. He wrote a musical entertainment, THE BLUE, for Walk the Plank, and adapted Lope de Vega's play about Christopher Columbus, A NEW WORLD AND THE TEARS OF THE INDIANS for the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton; and wrote a jazz musical called THE NAMING OF THE ANIMALS. Adrian wrote SIR FOOL'S QUEST, an entertainment for puppets, for Puppet Craft and he also wrote PERSEUS AND THE GORGON'S HEAD and NOBODY RIDES THE UNICORN (with Sasha Mitchell) for Puppetcraft, He adapted Beatrix Potter's TOM KITTEN AND HIS FRIENDS, JEMIMA PUDDLE- DUCK AND HER FRIENDS and PETER RABBIT AND HIS FRIENDS for the Unicorn Theatre in London.
His stories for children include three BARON MUNCHAUSEN and three OUR MAMMOTH books for Walker Books, versions of THE UGLY DUCKLING and THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER for Dorling Kindersley, MAUDIE AND THE GREEN CHILDREN for Tradewind and GYNORMOUS! A BOOK OF GIANTS for Orion Books, ROBIN HOOD AND MARIAN for Orchard Books, MY CAT MRS CHRISTMAS for Orion and TWICE MY SIZE for Macmillan.
His book of poems for children include THE THIRTEEN SECRETS OF POETRY (Macdonald Young Books) and the acclaimed anthology THE ORCHARD BOOK OF POEMS and DAFT AS A DOUGHNUT. He also edited (and wrote the Introduction for) BLACKBIRD - Paul McCartney's publication of poems and lyrics.
He also wrote a play , WINGS AND THE CHILD, based on the life of the late Edith Nesbitt, and a stage play, JUST WILLIAM, based on the Richmal Crompton series of books.
Adrian wrote the screenplay THE BRONZE HORSEMAN, based on the life of Pushkin, for Tony Palmer. He also wrote the screenplay for the film version of MAN FRIDAY which starred Peter O'Toole and Richard Roundtree. KING REAL AND THE HOODLUMS from THE TRAGEDY OF KING REAL for a film by the Welfare State and the commentary for THE BODY. He wrote the song lyrics for Peter Brook's movie TELL ME LIES and songs for the film WEEDS. He adapted JACK AND THE BEANSTALK for Jackanory.
He devised and introduced ON REFLECTION ON WILLIAM BLAKE and ALIVE AND KICKING, about contemporary British poets, for LWT and wrote GLAD DAY, a celebration of Blake, for Thames. His other plays for television include ANIMALS CAN'T LAUGH (Granada); MAN FRIDAY (BBC Play for Today); SOMETHING DOWN THERE IS CRYING (BBC), SILVER GIANT - WOODEN DWARF and THE FINE ART OF BUBBLE BLOWING; two episodes of CHURCHILL'S PEOPLE; TOTAL DISASTER (BBC); YOU MUST BELIEVE ALL THIS (Thames) and DAFT AS A BRUSH (BBC Play for Today). He wrote PIECES OF PEACE for the "Words on Film" production (BBC TV).
Adrian wrote the libretto for the radio opera, THE ISLAND and adapted his stage play WHITE SUIT BLUES for BBC Radio. He adapted Milton's PARADISE LOST, PARADISE REGAINED for BBC Radio 4 in 50 twelve minute episodes.
He was resident writer with the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, Billericay Comprehensive School and the Unicorn Theatre for Children. He s held fellowships at Lancaster, Wesleyan and Cambridge Universities, was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded the Gold Medal of the Theatre of Poetry, Varna, Bulgaria. He was the 1995 U.K. Year of Literature and Writing's Dylan Thomas Fellow.
In 1995 he wrote THE SIEGE, a play for teenagers, which was commissioned by the National Playwright Commissioning Group, which comprises twenty comprehensive schools around England and the play was widely performed at the schools over eighteen months.
His collection of poems, BLUE COFFEE (poems 1985-1996) was published in April 1996 by Bloodaxe Books and his collection TYGER TWO, PLAYS WITH SONGS (comprising TYGER TWO, SATIE DAY/NIGHT, MAN FRIDAY and IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY was published in 1995. HEART ON THE LEFT, (poems 1953-1984) was published in October 1997 by Bloodaxe. BALLOON LAGOON - his collected poems for children was also published in 1997.
Adrian's adaptation of THE SNOW QUEEN ended a very successful run at the New York State Theatre Institute in Troy, N.Y in autumn 1997 and was revived again. NYSTI brought their production of the over to the Unicorn Theatre for Children which was hugely acclaimed by the Unicorn audiences. MARAT/SADE opened at the Royal National Theatre in 1997 as part of a special "theatre-in-the-round" season.
Adrian also worked on a major new project with the Kageboushi Theatrical Company in Tokyo - THE HEROES - a trilogy of plays for young people based on the ancient Greek myths of Perseus, Orpheus and Theseus, which opened in March 1999.
Jose Triana's THE CRIMINALS which Adrian adapted for the RSC in the 60s was presented by Backchat Theatre Company at the Lyric Studio Hammersmith in March 1998.
Adrian's play THE MAMMOTH SAILS TONIGHT! for Playbox Theatre opened at the Dream Factory in Warwick on 15th December 1999.
Adrian's adaptation of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE for the RSC opened in December 1998 to huge critical acclaim, it transferred to the Barbican in March 1999 and was revived in Stratford in November 1999. The RSC production came into Sadlers Wells Christmas 2000 and was re-mounted at Sadlers Wells - Christmas 2001
ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, opened at the Barbican Theatre RSC Nov 2001 and transferred to Stratford for Christmas 2001 until March 2002.
ALADDIN produced by Dubbeljoint opened in Belfast Christmas 2004.
KING OF SHADOWS, a stage adaptation of Susan Coopers world renowned book premiered at NYSTI Albany, NY in March 2005.
NOBODY RIDES THE UNICORN, a stage adaptation of his own story (adapted with Sasha Mitchell) tours the UK as did Adrian's PERSEUS AND THE GORGON'S HEAD (Puppetcraft) which has a very successful run.
His plays for children include: THE WHITE DEER (Unicorn Theatre), MOWGLI'S JUNGLE (Contact Theatre), THE WILD ANIMAL SONG CONTEST (Unicorn), THE PIED PIPER (National Theatre), THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ (Palace Watford), THE SNOW QUEEN (ESPIA, Albany), THE BLUE (Walk the Plank) and SIR FOOL'S QUEST (Puppetcraft), TOM KITTEN AND HIS FRIENDS, JEMIMA PUDDLE- DUCK AND HER FRIENDS, PETER RABBIT AND HIS FRIENDS, (Unicorn). He wrote a play for children entitled "the siege" commissioned by the National Playwright Commissioning Group which comprises twenty comprehensive schools around England. His adaptation of THE LITTLE VIOLIN opened at the Tricycle Theatre and then toured the UK. He wrote a major new project with the Kageboushi Theatrical Company in Tokyo - THE HEROES - a trilogy of plays for young people based on the ancient Greek myths of Perseus, Orpheus and Theseus, in spring '99 and his versions of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE and ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS were performed by the RSC in London and Stratford.
Adrian's theatre productions include: NOBODY RIDES THE UNICORN with Sasha Mitchell ; KING OF SHADOWS ; ALADDIN ; A SEVENTH MAN ; THE TRAGEDY OF KING REAL ; THE GREAT THEATRE OF THE WORLD (Calderon Adaptation) ; THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (C S Lewis Adaptation) ; THE LITTLE VIOLIN (with Jean Claude Grumberg) ; THE MAGIC FLUTE (Libretto) ; THE MAMMOTH SAILS TONIGHT! ; THE MAYOR OF ZALAMEA (Calderon Adaptation) ; THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ (L Frank Baum Adaptation) ; THE PIED PIPER (Adaptation) ; THE BLUE ; THE SNOW QUEEN (Adaptation) ; THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR (Gogol Adaptation) ; THE WHITE DEER ; THE WILD ANIMAL SONG CONTEST ; TOM KITTEN AND HIS FRIENDS (Beatrix Potter Adaptation Music by Stephen McNeff) ; TYGER TWO ; UPPENDOWN MOONEY ; WHITE SUIT BLUES ; WOMAN OVERBOARD (Lope De Vega Adaptation) ; YOU MUST BELIEVE ALL THIS ; A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Dylan Thomas Adaptation with Jeremy Brooks) ; THE SIEGE
(For children, music by Andrew Dickson) ; MAN FRIDAY ; ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (Lewis Carroll Adaptation) ; AN ISLAND IN THE MOON (William Blake Adaptation) ; ANIMAL FARM (Orwell Adaptation with Peter Hall) ; ANNA ON ANNA (Based on life and work of Anna Wickham) ; FUENTE OVEJUNA (Lope De Vega Adaptation) ; HOUDINI (Libretto) ; IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY (One Act) ; JEMIMA PUDDLE-DUCK AND HER FRIENDS (Beatrix Potter Adaptation) ; THE H.M.I. ; LOST IN A MIRROR (Lope De Vega Adaptation) ; THE BEST BODYGUARD ; SIR FOOL'S QUEST ; TEARS OF THE INDIANS AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER (Lope De Vega and De Las Casa Adaptation) ; LIFE IS A DREAM (Calderon Adaptation) ; TAMBURLANE THE MAD HEN ; MARAT/SADE (English Verse Adaptation) ; SATIE DAY-NIGHT (Based on the life of Erik Satie) ; PETER RABBIT AND HIS FRIENDS (Beatrix Potter Adaptation) ; PEER GYNT (Adaptation) ; MOWGLI'S JUNGLE (Kipling Adaptation) ; MIRANDOLINA (Goldoni Adaptation) ; MIND YOUR HEAD. The RSC recently revived MARAT/SADE for which Adrian wrote the lyrics and they willl premiere his stage adaptation of BORIS GODUNOV this autumn.
Adrian died on 20th December 2008.
More information on Adrian's written work can be found at www.rippingyarns.co.uk.
NOBODY RIDES THE UNICORN
KING OF SHADOWS
A SEVENTH MAN
THE TRAGEDY OF KING REAL
THE GREAT THEATRE OF THE WORLD
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
THE LITTLE VIOLIN
THE MAGIC FLUTE
THE MAMMOTH SAILS TONIGHT!
THE MAYOR OF ZALAMEA
THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
THE PIED PIPER
THE SNOW QUEEN
THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR
THE WHITE DEER
THE WILD ANIMAL SONG CONTEST
TOM KITTEN AND HIS FRIENDS
WHITE SUITE BLUES
YOU MUST BELIEVE ALL THIS
A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES
ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
AN ISLAND IN THE MOON
ANNA ON ANNA
IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY
JEMMA PUDDLE-DUCK AND HER FRIENDS
LOST IN A MIRROR
THE BEST BODYGUARD
SIR FOOL'S QUEST
TEARS OF THE INDIANS AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER
LIFE IS A DREAM
TAMBURLANE AND THE MAD HEN
PETER RABBIT AND HIS FRIENDS
MIND YOUR HEAD
THE BARON RIDES OUT
PUBLISHED: WALKER BOOKS
THE UGLY DUCKLING
PUBLISHED: DORLING KINDERSLEY
THE STEADFAST IN TIN SOLDIER
PUBLISHED: DORLING KINDERSLEY
THE SNOW QUEEN
PUBLISHED: DORLING KINDERSLEY
ROBIN HOOD AND MARION
PUBLISHED: ORCHARD BOOKS
MY CAT MRS CHRISTMAS
NOBODY RIDES THE UNICORN
TWICE MY SIZE