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Sonia Friedman: an unfailing eye for theatreland gold

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Some time ago, when the Arts Council's London HQ still glinted with patrician tie-pins and cufflinks, with only the odd vivid cravat to hint at bohemia, a bouncy Sonia Friedman arrived for a meeting wearing tight PVC trousers. "I was very young at the time," the acclaimed stage producer has recalled, "and they were trendy then, honestly." She had elected not to change her outfit, despite being warned by a male colleague that she "would not be taken seriously".

The meeting went well, whatever the impact of the PVC. "I got exactly what I wanted from it. Nobody mentioned my trousers."

Since then Friedman, resolutely unbusinesslike in appearance, yet determinedly businesslike in effect, has cut a swath through the theatrical establishment, providing a breathless succession of hits for West End audiences and gaining a clutch of Tony awards on Broadway. From abrasive new work, such as Mark Ravenhill's Shopping and Fucking in 1996, to benign revivals, such as the first of Michael Frayn'sNoises Off in 2000, Friedman's productions have ranged so widely that she has probably shocked as many theatre-goers as she has rocked with laughter.

Read full article here.

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