October Eleven Pictures in association with Figgis West and Sea Star Creations presents:

The Story of The King's Head: The First Pub Theatre in Modern England.

Dan Crawford emigrated from Hackensack New Jersey to England in 1969. He walked into The King’s Head, which hadn’t been decorated since the 1930s and was very rundown and entirely deserted. But it had a back room (used for cock fighting in the 17th century and illegally for prize fighting in the 20th). A perfect space for a theatre. And so, with a small loan from his Mother, Edna, he applied to buy the lease. The brewery said “Well, nobody else wants it - may as well give it to you on a punt”.

Within a few months, the King's Head Theatre was born!It was 1970, The King’s Head was the first pub theatre in England since pre-Shakespearean times. The first play - an absurdist comedy - didn’t do very well. But the second: John Fowle’s The Collector, was a hit! The King’s Head went on to enjoy many successes - championing a richly eclectic programme of new writing, musicals and classic revivals, and launching the careers of dozens of household names. The constant stream of work that the King’s Head produced provided essential fodder for the West End - with on average one show transferring every year.

In 1984, Stephanie arrived with a little girl in her arms. Dan and Stephanie married, and Stephanie went on to work alongside Dan. Stephanie was. apassionate advocate for the King's Head, rallying the theatrical community to its aid dozens of times when the wolf was at the door. Despite a legacy of incredible work In the early 90s, the King’s Head’s annual grant was taken away, despite a tremendous outpouring of support from the public and theatrical community. It was a tiny grant compared to those given to other off West End theatres, but it allowed us to be a full time producing house with an artistic vision. Without it - we were forced to become mostly a theatre for hire. It was an event that broke Dan’s heart.

After Dan's death in 2006, Stephanie battled on and managed to raise the funds to buy the building form the brewery, safeguarding the theatre's future in perpetuity before moving to be with her daughter in New Zealand, leaving behind a lifetime of passionate commitment, hard work - and the greatest love story of her life.

This film chronicles the journey of those years, using new material and interviews from 2020 alongside excerpts from an earlier film: A Maverick In London (2006) Directed by Jason Figgis and Stephanie Sinclaire, Produced by Stephanie Sinclaire and Stash Kirkbride, Presented by Stash Kirkbride. Screened on Sky Arts and Channel Four, UK. Featuring Dan Crawford, Alan Rickman, Tom Stoppard, Joanna Lumley, Rupert Graves, Antony Sher, Steven Berkoff, Janie Dee and many more.

  • Jason Figgis
    The Ghost of Winnifred Meeks, A Maverick in London, The Ecstacy of Isabel Mann, Children of a Darker Dawn, Once Upon a Time in Dublin
  • Stephanie Sinclaire Lightsmith
    Silence Becomes You, The Tell Tale Heart, A Maverick in London, Tears of Valhalla, Goblin Market, The Dance of Shiva
  • Katherine Wyeth
    Goblin Market, A Boy Called Piano
  • John West
  • Stephanie Sinclaire Lightsmith
    Key Cast
  • Katherine Wyeth
    Key Cast
  • Dan Crawford
    Key Cast
  • Joanna Lumley
    Key Cast
  • Alan Rickman
    Key Cast
  • Janie Dee
    Key Cast
  • Richard E Grant
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Theatre history
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 13 minutes 29 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 7, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Pop Twist Entertainment
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Jason Figgis

Figgis directed his first feature film when he was asked to collaborate with the acclaimed photographer Sir Simon Marsden on a documentary feature project called The Twilight Hour in 2003.[3] Oscar nominee John Hurt joined the project as narrator and the IFTA nominated film was almost immediately acquired by the Discovery Network where it was subsequently distributed to 100 countries in 2004. It was later released on Amazon Prime and DVD through the MVD Entertainment Group. Figgis was then invited by BSkyB to join them as a director in late 2004. He was almost immediately assigned a feature project - which was destined to appear in one of their Sky One Sunday 9 pm primetime slots less than four months later. The film was presented by paranormalist Uri Geller under the title Uri's Haunted Cities: Venice.[4] This was released in January 2005.

Figgis' second assignment for BSkyB saw him direct the Sky Arts feature documentary A Maverick In London [5] where he collaborated with Alan Rickman, Joanna Lumley and Richard E. Grant, among others, on a film looking at the history of the celebrated King's Head Theatre in Islington. When the film aired in a primetime slot on Sky Arts One, it was named by Toby Young as one of his favourite documentaries of the year. The film was also distributed on DVD through the National Theatre in 2005.

Figgis was then invited to join the Screen Director's Guild of Ireland in 2006 and through this organisation, he was invited onto a BBC Director Training Programme for Drama in 2008 where he shadowed Game of Thrones director Ciaran Donnelly on the long-running favourite, George Gently, which starred Martin Shaw. Figgis commented that he found this particular training invaluable and gave him unfettered access into every aspect of directing and delivering a major drama.

Figgis was then selected in 2009 for a feature film director training Masterclass with the director Mike Leigh, where Figgis learned the finer arts of the feature film medium.

Figgis was then invited in 2010 to teach acting for camera techniques at the Irish Film Academy at a time where he also founded in 2011 Teen Feature Film Project Ireland and Feature Film Project Ireland in 2014.

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