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Tributes paid to director Michael Bogdanov

The director, who founded the English Shakespeare Company in the '80s, has died aged 78

Peter Wood, Bill Bryden, Peter Hall, Michael Bogdanov, Peter Gill, Ian McKellen, Edward Petherbridge, David Hare, Richard Eyre
© Photo by Nobby Clark

Welsh theatre director Michael Bogdanov, renowned for his interpretations of Shakespeare's work, has died aged 78.

His publicist, who confirmed he suffered a heart attack on Sunday, said his approach to theatre was to make it "political, accessible, joyous and transformative".

Bogdanov, who trained at Trinity College, Dublin and the BBC, directed eight productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company including The Taming of the Shrew which earned him the the Society of West End Theatres Award (now Oliviers) for Director of the Year.

Over the course of his career, he worked extensively at the National Theatre, and directed the 1980 production of Howard Brenton's The Romans in Britain. The production saw Bogdanov taken to court by religious morality campaigners over a scene depicting homosexual rape, but the prosecution was unsuccessful.

In the '80s, he went on to found the English Shakespeare Company, along with actor Michael Pennington. The pair wanted to present Shakespeare's work on an international level, and their 1987 production of The War of the Roses went on to play across Europe, Asia and the US.

He was also a keen fan of the poet Dylan Thomas. A member of the Dylan Thomas Society, he collected memorabilia and produced a version of the play Under Milk Wood which toured the world. To mark the centenary of Thomas' birth in 2014, Bogdanov produced a 36-hour reading of all of Dylan's work in the poet's home city of Swansea.

Bogdanov was also a prolific producer and director for television, working on over 120 productions.

In more recent times, Bogdanov worked extensively in Germany, directing productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, The King's Speech and Warten auf Godot.

There will be a memorial service remembering Bogdanov in London at a later date.