IAN R. WALLACE
Group Director, The Young Theatre (at Harrow) 1964-68
After leaving school, where he got his first taste of writing and directing for the
theatre, Ian spent a brief spell training as an accountant before joining the BBC in 1963. After working in
Accounts and then Management Services, he transferred to Television Programme Planning in 1971 before moving into
programme making firstly with Drama Plays then in 1981 with Series & Serials where he worked as an Associate
Producer until he took early retirement in 1993.
Throughout the whole of that period Ian was also very actively involved in the amateur and semi-professional theatre as an actor, writer, director and lighting designer. In 1964 he founded The Young Theatre in North Harrow and, after marrying his wife Sue in 1969, moved to Beaconsfield where, with Aviva Wiseman, he established its sister group, The Young Theatre at Beaconsfield in 1970.
His impressive list of TV credits include single plays and films such as Speed King (with Robert Hardy); the BAFTA Award winning Going Gently (Judi Dench, Norman Wisdom & Fulton McKay); Mrs Reinhardt (Helen Mirren & Brad Davis) and The Caretaker (Warren Mitchell, Jonathan Pryce & Kenneth Cranham). Series & Serials included My Cousin Rachel (Geraldine Chaplin); Tripods and Star Cops where he was responsible for the development of video/computer effects which won a number of awards; Bluebell (Caroline Pickles); Very Peculiar Practice (Peter Davidson & David Troughton); A Sense of Guilt (Trevor Eve & Jim Carter); Miss Marple (Joan Hickson, Jean Simmons & Joss Ackland) and The Sharp End (Gwen Taylor & James Cosmo). He also represented the BBC on such successful independent productions as Love Hurts (Adam Faith & Zoe Wannamaker) and Spender (Jimmy Nail).
Theatrically, his writing credits include The Story of Snow-White; Snow Queen & Here We Go (Musical) and adaptations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass - as well as a number of other adaptations, one-act plays and revue sketches. His musical play The Rats with music by Alan Kingshott (with whom he wrote the highly successful Here We Go) was premiered at Greenford in 1999. Working once more with Alan Kingshott, Ian also completed mr Scrooge - a new musical version of A Christmas Carol which YT staged - again very successfully - as part of their 40th anniversary in 2004. He also wrote the lyrics for Mark Britton‘s one act musical, Three Trees, which was premiered in 2007 and subsequently revised for production at the Wycombe Swan Theatre in September 2008
As well as directing most of his own original plays and adaptations, his numerous directing credits include Toad of Toad Hall; The Deserted House; The Beeple; The Critic & Last of The Wizards - all for The Young Theatre (at either Harrow or Beaconsfield) and he co-directed Tom & Viv for the NSYT. He also directed the critically acclaimed Silver Jubilee production of The Crucible for The Young Theatre at Beaconsfield - and has directed equally successfully for Chesham Youth Theatre. In 1999, with Aviva Wiseman, he directed his first Shakespeare production with the highly acclaimed open air production of Twelfth Night for the Chiltern Shakespeare Company.
Acting credits include leading roles in Bell, Book & Candle; Sweeny Todd; Man of Destiny; The Vigil; Halfway Up The Tree; Photo-Finish; Our Town; Smike & Last of the Wizards - as well as playing Gestapo officer Captain Weiner in The Deserted House on two occasions 24 years apart!
Lighting credits include productions by The Young Theatre and the Beaconsfield Theatre Group; and as well as Our Town; Christmas Carol; Godspell; Chicago; The Knocky & Bugsy Malone for the Misbourne School for whom he was also a technical consultant. He also initiated and ran stage lighting courses for the students.
With his wife Sue - who was very much involved in the early days of YT at Beaconsfield, and who was responsible for designing and making the odd costume or ten for his productions(!) - he has two daughters, both of whom have been active and enthusiastic members of YT at Beaconsfield. Rebecca preferred mainly backstage work, especially costume design and making; whilst Helen was involved in a variety of ways both off stage and on it (including playing Mary Warren in The Crucible which Ian directed) as well as serving on the committee. It was a particular pleasure for Ian when they both appeared onstage with him in his production of Last Of The Wizards in 1989. As for the future - both his grand-daughters, Megan (b. 2008) and Amelia b. 2010), have already been “treading the boards”!
Since retiring from the BBC, Ian has been largely engaged in writing, and working with youth drama groups and schools as a drama consultant. He is also a Friend of The Globe and Chichester theatres and is an Associate Member of the RSC.
In 2006, Ian was invited to become a non-executive Director and Chairman of Troublemaker Theatre Company based in Maidenhead. The company, which was formed by Dave Farey and Catherine Lambert - two ex-members of The Young Theatre at Beaconsfield - also employs several more XYT-ites on contract, and specialises in Theatre in Education (working with schools in Berks, Bucks & Herts). It runs a number of youth drama groups at the Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead, as well as organising drama workshops as far afield as Shrewsbury!
A Vice-President of The Young Theatre (at Beaconsfield) from 1991, Ian became President in 2002; resigning in 2009.
In addition to his ongoing involvement with Troublemaker Theatre, Ian—working again with Mark Britton—wrote the script for Pilgrim, another very successful musical play, based on John Bunyon’s Pilgrim’s Progress, that was staged in High Wycombe in 2015. He currently is involved with a number of other writing projects, including a further musical with Alan Kingshott, as well as helping to maintain The Young Theatre Archive with the expert assistance of Tim Hill.