We were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Elyse Dodgson, International Director at the Royal Court Theatre, who partnered with the British Council for over 20 years in over 20 countries worldwide. Elyse was a driving force of the International Playwrights’ Programme, championing new writers worldwide.
The Occupied Palestinian Territories were especially close to her heart. Elyse began collaborative work with Palestinian theatre artists in 1998 and was working with 20 Palestinian playwrights again in Beit Jala earlier this summer on writing for the theatre with the British Council and Al Qattan Foundation.
In 2015 an English language production of Fireworks by Dalia Taha was presented at the Royal Court Theatre in London and together we made this film about our long collaboration in Palestine which you can see here. In the film Elyse comments ‘I think that Palestine has done a lot more for British theatre practitioners than we could ever do for them’, emphasising the mutual importance of our work and the impact on a whole generation of British writers involved over the years. Kate Arthurs, British Council Director Arts, said ‘She had such an impact on the playwrights, directors, artists and colleagues she worked with and once you were part of the Royal Court family, she kept in touch – nurturing and developing emerging talent with an all-consuming passion.
She was always looking for ways to innovate, in often challenging environments. Her legacy will continue, but it is hard to think of international theatre without her.’ She will be sorely missed by many who knew and worked with her in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and we will be continuing her work with Palestinian playwrights and the Royal Court in February. If you would like to send a message to the Royal Court and Elyse’s friends and family you can email: HastaLaVictoriaSiempre@royalcourttheatre.com