Max Stafford-Clark has been at the cutting edge of theatre in Britain for the last thirty years or more. His career as a director began in 1966 at the Traverse, Edinburgh. With William Gaskill, he co-founded, in 1974, the Joint Stock Theatre Group, which forged a new creative bond between actors and writers. From 1979-1993, he was artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre, famous as a foundry for new plays. And in 1993, he set up the extremely successful Out of Joint, which he still runs today. Drawing on diaries, photos and interviews with all involved, this book recreates the evolution of nine of his most famous and influential productions, three from each of his three main companies. They are: Joint Stock - David Hare's "Fanshen", Howard Brenton's "Epsom Downs", and Caryl Churchill's "Cloud Nine"; Royal Court - Andrea Dunbar's "Rita, Sue and Bob Too", Caryl Churchill's "Serious Money", and Timberlake Wertenbaker's "Our Country's Good"; Out of Joint - Sebastian Barry's "The Steward of Christendom", Mark Ravenhill's "Some Explicit Polaroids", and William Shakespeare's "Macbeth".
The result is one of the richest, most intimately informative books ever published on the making of theatre. Not only is Stafford-Clark's own role as director anatomised, but the roles of actors and writers in this essentially collaborative creative process are assessed with equal rigour and candour.