Donald Freed
International Playwright
and Master Teacher

DONALD FREED, CAREER NARRATIVE

My academic and artistic life began in the late 1940s at the Goodman Theatre, in the Art Institute of Chicago.

After four years of study and performance in the Mid-West, I moved to New York and was active in the television and drama programs of that day, such Studio One; I continued my dramatic studies, as well.

In the early 1950s, I located in California to continue both academic and professional stage and film work.

By 1959, I was the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Art Theatre. For the next six years, our work brought an international reaction to productions that included HAMLET, and CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.

I joined Herbert Blau and Robert Corrigan in the executive leadership of the California Institute of the Arts in 1969. Also, in 1969, my first major play, INQUEST: THE UNITED STATES V. JULIUS AND ETHEL ROSENBERG opened at the Cleveland Playhouse, and, then, in 1970 opened on Broadway, directed by Alan Schneider.

In 1970, I began, AGONY IN NEW HAVEN, my history of the Black Panther Trials in New Haven. While there I also worked with Erik Erikson, Huey P. Newton, and Kai Erikson at the Yale Press on a book, IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUND.

After my return to Los Angeles, I continued to write and publish:  GLASS HOUSE TAPES, Avon Books; BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY, Ramparts Press; DEATH IN WASHINGTON – THE MURDER OF ORLANDO LETELIER, Lawrence Hill; THE SPYMASTER, and CHINA CARD, Arbor House.

In the 1970s and 1980s, my film credits included EXECUTIVE ACTION, SECRET HONOR, LOVE AND SHADOW, KING OF LOVE.

I began my work with Julie Harris during this period with plays based on the Countess Tolstoy, and Nora Joyce. The Joyce play, IS HE STILL DEAD, opened at the Long Wharf Theatre. Also, Uta Hagan and Herbert Bergoff produced and starred in my play THE WHITE CROW (Eichmann in Jerusalem).

In the 1980s I was associated with the Los Angeles Theatre Center. While there I wrote the prize winning plays SECRET HONOR, THE WHITE CROW (Eichmann in Jerusalem), as well as ALFRED AND VICTORIA (A LIFE), THE QUARTERED MAN, CIRCE & BRAVO, and VETERANS DAY.

 These plays, in the 1980s, transferred to major theatres in America and abroad: CIRCE & BRAVO to Denver Theatre Center, and under Harold Pinter’s direction, to London’s West End. SECRET HONOR, directed by Robert Altman, moved to New York, then was made into a prize winning film that was selected by the New York Times and the Washington Post as one of the best ten films of the year for 1988. In this period, my play THE LAST HERO opened at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, National Theatre in Ireland, with Dan O’Herlihy.

VETERANS DAY, and QUARTERED MAN opened in Los Angeles and Denver, then moved in 1989 to, respectively, the Theatre Royal Haymarket and the Shaw Theatre, both in London.

From 1982 until 2007 I was a resident writer in the University of Southern California Professional Writers Program. In the 1990s, until the present, I have continued to work in England at the Mercury Theatre, The Old Vic, and, since 2007, as Playwright in Residence at York Theatre Royal. From 2006 to 2008 I was Artist in Residence at the University of Leeds.

Over the last ten years, I have held the Jonathon Reynolds Chair at Denison University (2004), and been a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy. At this time, DEVILS ADVOCATE opened at the Mercury Theatre in 2006, moved to the Edinburgh Festival, and won the PEN Prize for Drama, played at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., and is currently in production at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.  

2010 and 2011 will see productions and publications of new plays at the Los Angeles Theatre Center and York Theatre Royal, including “1951 – 2006” (Ovation Award Nominee for 2010), THE EINSTEIN PLAN, and HAMLET (in rehearsal).

2013 World Premiere of TOMORROW; Rogue Machine Theatre, Los Angeles; directed by Damian Cruden, Artistic Director, York Theatre Royal

PRIZES, GRANTS, AWARDS:

Playwright in Residence, Los Angeles Theater Center, 2009 – Present

PLAYWRIGHT IN RESIDENCE: YORK THEATRE ROYAL 2007 – PRESENT

GUEST ARTIST: UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS- 2006 - 2008

PEN PRIZE FOR DRAMA – 2006

JONATHAN R. REYNOLDS CHAIR AND AWARD AND COMMISSION – DENISON UNIVERSITY – 2004, JANUARY – JUNE

ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION FELLOW – BELLAGIO, ITALY – OCTOBER 1999

PINTER PRIZE AND RESIDENCE-UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA-SPRING, 1994

UNICORN PRIZE 1990

BERLIN CRITICS PRIZE 1986

LOUIS B. MAYER AWARD, 1986

NEA AWARD FOR DISTINUISHED WRITING, 1986

LOUIS B. MAYER AWARD, 1985

HOLLYWOOD CRITICS AWARD, 1985

GOLD METAL AWARD, 1972

ROCKEFELLER GRANT, 1964

JOHN LARKIN AWARD, 1964


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT MR. FREED at pattyraef1@aol.com

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