William Ball (director)


William Ball (director)

Infobox actor
name = William Ball


imagesize = 180px
birthname = William Gormaly Ball
birthdate = birth date and age|1931|04|28|df=y
birthplace = Chicago, Illinois, USA
deathdate = death date and age|1991|07|30|1931|04|28|df=y
deathplace = Los Angeles, California, USA
othername =
occupation = Theatre director
spouse =
yearsactive =
awards = Drama Desk Awards
Outstanding Director
1959 "Ivanov"

William Gormaly Ball (29 April, 1931 – 30 July, 1991) was a stage director and founder of the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT). He was awarded the Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award in 1959 for his production of Chekhov's "Ivanov" and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1965 for his production of Molière's "Tartuffe", starring Michael O'Sullivan and Rene Auberjonois. He was also a noted director of operas.

Biography

Early years

Ball was born in Chicago, Illinois, and studied acting, directing, and design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He toured for two years as assistant designer and actor in Margaret Webster's company

Career

Ball founded the American Conservatory Theatre in Pittsburgh in 1965. This was a company of up to 30 full-time paid actors who studied all disciplines of the theatre arts during the day and performed at night. Ball had a falling out with ACT's financial benefactors in Pittsburgh and took the company on the road. His 1966 productions of Albee's "Tiny Alice", Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author", and others at the Stanford University Summer Festival led a group of financiers to offer his company a home in San Francisco, which had recently lost The Actor's Workshop to New York's Lincoln Center.

In its first season, Ball's ACT produced twenty-seven full length plays in two theatres over the course of seven months. Some actors would do one role in the early part of a play at the Geary Theatre then run two blocks up the hill to the Marines Memorial to appear in the last part of another. Ball's 1972 production of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and his 1976 production of "The Taming of the Shrew" were televised nationally on PBS. In 1979, ACT received the Tony Award for excellence in regional theatre.

Ball was often provocative. His interpretation of Albee's "Tiny Alice" brought threat of a lawsuit from the playwright, who tried to withhold the performance rights only to discover that they had never been granted in the first place. Some observers thought that Ball's operatic production (with an added aside condemning the Vietnam war) may have solved some problems inherent in the text.

Ball was the author of the 1984 book, "A Sense of Direction: Some Observations on the Art of Directing". He appeared in "Suburban Commando"

Personal life

Ball died in Los Angeles, California from a heart attack.

Bibliography

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References

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External links

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