What made Steven Berkoff? Born in the East End in 1937 and educated at Hackney Downs Grammar (Harold Pinter's old school), throughout his life as actor, director and playwright, Steven Berkoff has been variously described as exciting, controversial, thrilling, egocentric, electric and dynamic.
Ranging freely between his childhood, his teenage years spent going 'up West', a formative year with family in the USA, his early days in theatre, this first collection of autobiographical writings from Steven Berkoff shows how he siphoned off and transformed those experiences for his plays, East and West and how his later experiences informed Greek. Berkoff's autobiography is essential reading for all those fascinated by his explosive dynamism and an inspiration to those wanting to enter the theatrical profession.
Steven Berkoff was born in Stepney, East London and first studied acting at the City Literary Institute in Holborn when he was nineteen. Following full-time training at the Webber Douglas School of Drama, he worked extensively in repertory theatre in England and Scotland, doing every job from understudy to stage management. In 1968 he formed his own company, the London Theatre Group. Through mime, ensemble work and voice, the group developed their own innovative theatrical language. Berkoff's encounter with the great mime teacher Jacques Lecoq in Paris was seminal in this. Steven Berkoff's plays include East, West, Sink the Belgrano!, Kvetch, Ritual in Blood, Oedipus, Messiah: Scenes from a Crucifixion, The Secret Love Life of Ophelia, Decadence, Sit and Shiver, Greek (adapted as an opera by Mark Anthony Turnage), Harry's Christmas, Acapulco, Massage, Sturm und Drang and Brighton Beach Scumbags.
He has written an autobiography, Free Association, and many theatre books including I Am Hamlet, Overview and Meditations on Metamorphosis. Among Berkoff's film credits are A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, Octopussy, The Tourist, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, and his own version of The Tell Tale Heart.