Wolf, The Park, RSC Barbican - London
The Park by Botho Strauss and is Strauss' take on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", a collection of fragmented, alienated meetings in a run down park. Richard's part was that of "Wolf".
Jerry, Betrayal, Leeds Playhouse
Richard had the part of the second leading man, Jerry in this Harold Pinter production. The story structure strips away all edifice and shows the very capacity for love itself is sometimes based on betraying not only other loves ones, but even ourselves.
1993 & 1998
Levin, Anna Karenina, UK, European & Far East and World Tours
Anna Karenina enjoyed three runs: 1993, 1994 and one in 1998 where it toured New York, Brisbane and Buenos Aires. Richard played the male lead, Levin throughout. Richard was also the Associate Director.
One review and article from May 21, 1993 New Straights Times
The Independent from 28 February, 1993 had this to say: "There are some stunning set pieces, including a swooningly erotic seduction in which the partners barely touch. The direction, on a stage furnished only with bentwood chairs and an upstage sliding panel, is masterly; but never at the expense of individual performances, which present a mask-like profile (David Fielder's glacial Karenin, Jessica Lloyd's vapidly emotional Kitty) which then shatters under the pressure of feeling. None more so than Richard Hope's irascibly farouche Levin, and Teresa Banham's Anna, a voluptuous black-velvet friend to everyone, who takes her last walk spitting venom at the passers-by. Magnificent."
Richard Hope as Levin and Teresa Banham as Anna in the Shared Experience production "Anna Karenina" during BAM Next Wave Festival, 1998. Photo by Stephanie Berger.
Father, Street of Crocodiles, Complicite, National Theatre Studio
Based on the Bruno Schultz novel, Theatre de Complicite, in cooperation with the NT studio offered this production with Richard playing the part of "father". The book's characters are unbelievably haunting, despite its complete lack of dialogue.
Caramanchel, Don Gil of the Green Britches, Gate Theatre - London
Richard had the part of Caramanchel in this production of the irreverent, highly farcical comedy for the Gate Theatre. The play contains disguise, mistaken identity, role-reversal....what more could you ask from one play?
Tello, The Gentleman from Olmedo, Gate Theatre - London
1988 & 1991
The Mayor, The Visit, Complicite at the Almeida Theatre and National Theatre - Lyttleton
Devised by the Company. Directed by Annabel Arden and Simon McBurney, as co-director, The Visit was Complicite's first existing-text production, establishing their relationship with the Royal National Theatre as a co-production. Richard had the part of the Mayor.
Horatio, Hamlet, National Theatre - Cottesloe
Directed by Cicely Berry. Richard had the part of Horatio to Tim McInnerny's Hamlet.
Costumes provided by designer Katharine Hamnett. Best QandA question: 'Why is Claudius wearing brown shoes?' Kevin Cahill was the manager.
Bill Smiley / Eaton Sylvester, Pravda, National Theatre - Olivier
Howard Brenton's second collaboration with David Hare, the two playwrights mount a satirical attack on the British newspaper industry of the mid-1980s that caricatures the events of that period as a way of challenging the social and economic changes in Margaret Thatcher's Britain. Richard had the part of Bill Smiley in 1985 and Eaton Sylvester in 1986.
Richard organised the first Sunday performance at the NT. An extra Sunday show of Pravda for Famine Relief on 6th Oct 1985. Everyone, including catering and ushers agreed to do the evening for free as contracts meant if one person was paid all would be entitled to overtime....organising the event I overheard at one meeting...'this building would run much better if we didn't have to put on plays!'
The Richard Eyre/ David Hare Company members devised a Platform show 'A Strange Kind of Animal' based on Adrian Mitchell's poems.
Shows at this time were subject to Bomb Threats and a system of lighting was rigged at the back of the auditorium: flashing light meant be aware of a bomb threat to the building but carry on performing ; continuous light meant get off the stage immediately without panicking audience, as threat had become imminent.
The Postmaster, The Government Inspector, National Theatre - Olivier
A small, corrupt Russian town receives a letter informing them of the imminent visit of a government inspector travelling incognito....when a passing civil servant is mistaken for the inspector, panic soon sets in....Richard had the part of the Postmaster. He also played Rick Mayall's third thumb that appeared from the wardrobe knot holes.
Lexy, Candida, National Theatre/ British Council Tour of India
Puff, School for Clowns, Half Moon Theatre & Tour
Written by Ken Campbell. Directed by Sylvester McCoy. Later Stage Managed by Ken Campbell after our work experience ASM ran off with all the props, furniture, tea/coffee and a parachute........'just mime it all!'
Peter, Don Juan, National Theatre - Cottesloe
The Watch, Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre - Olivier
The play, written between 1598 and 1600, was "Sundrie times publikely acted" but there were only two officially recorded performances in Shakespeare's lifetime, both at Court, in 1612/13. These performances were part of the celebrations preceding the marriage of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I, to Prince Frederick of Bohemia. Richard played the part of the Second Watch. This was the start of a long association with the National. Peter Gill cast Richard against the head of casting's advice....so Peter said.
The Sultan etc, Le Grand Magic Circus - 1001 Nights, Shaftesbury Theatre - London
1001 Nights is a collection of folk tales often known as the Arabian Nights. The Sultan, Shahryar, marries a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning. Sheherazade, on the night of their marriage, tells the king a tale, but does not end it. So it goes on for 1,001 nights.
Le spectacle was spoken in English with original songs still sung in French. Set on Rue de Medina the flower seller, Violette, was in love with JoJo etc..until they meet Ali Baba, Sinbad and purgatory... historical tales mix with love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and various forms of erotica using experimental theatre to avant-garde.
Richard played L'Empereur du désert, The Sultan and other roles with this ensemble that played at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, taking over the parts of Jerome Savary, who directed it.
Ken Campbell suggested Richard to Jerome Savary. Richard took over Jerome’s various roles over a week as Jerome had to go to Berlin to direct an opera. Richard gradually rehearsed in two scenes a night and did the whole show on the first Saturday . Songs remained in French but Richard and fellow Complicite member Celia Gore Booth gradually gave English translations for the dialogue.
MacCruskeen, The Third Policeman, ICA Theatre - London, Ken Campbell's Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool
Richard helped Ken with auditions. He changed the rules when actors were asked to audition their do their Shakespeare and modern speeches. One of his tasks was to count how many times they stood up or sat down and also we noted ‘how well they used the false teeth’ Ken produced from his pocket and had casually placed on the table.
Bertozzo, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, UK Tour and Half Moon Theatre - London
Ford Prefect, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, ICA Theatre - London
Dr Snarkle, Ed Gale, Paul Crawford, Monster Watcher etc, The Warp, ICA Theatre - London
This production was put on at the ICA in London by Ken Campbell's Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool, in which Richard played a variety of characters.
Jesus, The End is Nigh, New End Theatre - London
New End Theatre, Hampstead….with Jim Broadbent and Neil Cunningham. 'The part of Jesus tonight will be played by Richard Hope as Dave Hill has found a better job' (Ken Campbell over the theatre tannoy at 'beginners'...there was no rehearsal even though one was promised).
Heidi and Lucille joined the cast from Mike Hurst Theatre: They were two pigs…..Ken thought they’d make the show more 'entertaining'. Mike offered R a full time job as a clown in his circus after the show.
Tocko, The White Deer, Arts/ Unicorn Theatre - London
Solider, Mother Courage, Birmingham Rep
Starred Peggy Mount who smoked a clay pipe and even pulled the wagon when the revolve failed, with a 'come on then!'
Jerry, The Seed, Birmingham Rep
Peter/ ActingASM, Romeo and Juliet, Shaw Theatre - London
Combining the roles of Acting and assistant stage manager was unusual but a way of obtaining an Equity union card. Approved theatres and regional repertory theatres were able to offer only two a year. The closed shop was later abolished.
Brian Stirner was injured in the sword fight with Tybalt. Christopher Neame, who had just recorded the part of Romeo for TV in 1976, took over the title role.
Member of National Youth Theatre of Great Britain
He continued for another three years running the Intermediate Course devising a show at the end: Gina McKee and Lysette Anthony were former students.
He provided the following testimonial in 2010 for the National Youth Theatre funding appeal:
"Michael Croft gave me a bursary in my final year at the NYT. Without the financial support I would not have realised the culmination of a unique life experience. It gave me a work ethic to strive for the best in myself, a desire to dare for dramatic excellence and a family of likeminded friends and adventurers. I spent four more years running courses and initiating others in the rare creative stockpot of a truly National Theatre of Youth."