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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Director Warner's stage success
Deborah Warner
Warner's career in the theatre has spanned more than 25 years

Theatre director Deborah Warner, who has been made a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, has created some challenging theatrical productions during her career.

The 47-year-old founded the Kick Theatre group in 1980, which specialised in staging classic plays in a minimalist, modern style.

King Lear and Coriolanus were among tragedies that she staged, leading to an offer from the Royal Shakespeare Company to direct Titus Andronicus, where she was resident director from 1987-89.

The production was hailed by critics for its stark reinterpretation of the play, and landed Warner Evening Standard and Olivier awards for direction.


She moved to the Royal National Theatre, where she was an associate director from 1989 to 1997.

Warner's fruitful association with the Irish actress Fiona Shaw began in 1988 with a new interpretation of Sophocles' Electra, while she cast her as Richard II, wrapped in bandages and of indetermindate gender.

Fiona Shaw as Medea
Warner's stark staging of Medea added to its dramatic impact

Warner also developed a close working relationship with the actor Brian Cox, who became her Titus and King Lear at the National Theatre in 1990.

Shaw went on to perform the demanding lead role in Warner's production of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.

It was her chilling interpratation of the tormented, bloodthirsty Medea on the West End stage in 2001 that brought Warner another award.

Her staging of the harrowing tragedy showed infanticide being committed behind a spotlit, frosted glass while blood streamed down it.

The director's OBE is not her first state honour.

In 2000 she was decorated as an Officier in the Ordre des Arts et Lettres, a prestigious award given by the French government in recognition of significant cultural achievement.

In 1993, Austria paid homage to Warner's importance in the theatre by inviting her to direct Coriolanus at the Salzburg festival - a rare honour for a Briton.

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