David Johnston: Statement of Appreciation

27 November 2017

David Johnston

We are very sad to hear about David’s death and send our deepest condolences to his family and all those that had the pleasure of working alongside him.

David Johnston became Theatre Centre’s Director in 1976, taking over from founder Brian Way. David was the architect of Theatre Centre’s great renaissance through the 1980s, building an amazing team of artists around the company. David launched and championed the careers of numerous new actors, writers, stage managers and producers and positioned Theatre Centre at the forefront of diversity practice. It is during his tenure that Theatre Centre became the vanguard of new contemporary plays for children and young people - plays that were political and revolutionary to their core.

Throughout his time with the company, Theatre Centre’s progressive writing attracted great acclaim and controversy. The 1982 Festival of Peace caused furore in Parliament when Margaret Thatcher’s then Employment Secretary Norman Tebbit tried to get David Holman’s Peace plays banned, describing them “at best irrelevant and at worst decidedly harmful.” The work of that era still inspires us today – David’s commitment to tell relevant, powerful and political narratives, with young people at the very heart of these stories, remains our core ambition.

David continued to be supportive of the company and applauded its continuing success as we moved to become a National Portfolio Organisation.

Please get in touch if you would like us to pass your thoughts to his family by emailing admin@theatre-centre.co.uk