Former Royal Court artistic director William Gaskill will return to the professional theatre in July to present his first directing project in ten years. Carver, Gaskill’s own adaptation of five stories by the late American writer Raymond Carver (pictured), will run at north London’s Arcola Theatre from 8 July to 6 August 2005 (previews from 6 July).

Since his premature death in 1988, the reputation of poet and short story writer Raymond Carver, hailed by some as the “American Chekhov”, has continued to grow, especially since Robert Altman’s 1993 film Shortcuts, based on his work. Carver dramatises five short stories: “What’s in Alaska?”, “Fat”, “Cathedral”, “Intimacy” and “Put Yourself in My Shoes”.

From 1965 to 1972, Gaskill was artistic director of the Royal Court, where he directed premieres of plays by writers including David Hare, John Arden, Edward Bond and Arnold Wesker, as well as introducing many of Brecht’s works to the British theatregoing audience. He also worked alongside Laurence Olivier as a founding director of the National Theatre from its time at the Old Vic in 1963, and went on to form Joint Stock theatre group with Max Stafford Clark.

Over the past decade, Gaskill has been teaching at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), where Carver was initially developed last year. The professional premiere at the Arcola will be performed by a cast of ten – five men, five women – including Kathryn Pogson, Bruce Alexander and Jack Klaff. The production is designed by Jon Bausor.

- by Terri Paddock