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click for official Berkoff site The official Berkoff site
Steven Berkoff interview A one hour lecture by Berkoff.  Thanks to site visitor missjulie for the link.
Click here for link Turning Points

A series of short films where famous people talk about events which changed their lives. Berkoff talks about when he decided to be an actor, and gives some anecdotes about his attempts to escape working in a shop to entering amateur theatre.

You can listen to part of this on line (click image then chose Berkoff).

Click here for link BBC on-line news, 10 July 1998

The English basically are the most pretentious, hypocritical, cynical theatre-goers on the planet.

Click here for link Lyn Gardner, Guardian, 15 Sept 1999 (link is no longer free)

For an actor, Berkoff is unusually bereft of personal charm. It takes a full 10 minutes for him to make any kind of eye contact with me. But after a while we settle into a comfortable truce. He talks about being an outsider: "Anyone with anything to contribute has to feel an outsider because of the entrenched establishment. Anyone of any quality feels an outsider. Look at people like the director Richard Jones or playwright Edward Bond. Bond isn't just ignored. He's reviled. Anyone with any spirit has to feel an outsider in this country."

Click here for link John Crace, Guardian 28 November 2000 (link is no longer free)

...I was brought up in Luton, where my father worked as a tailor... for the most part I was a shy, withdrawn daydreamer who took pleasure in my isolation.

My first school was Maiden Hall Primary, and my main memory is of being repeatedly singled out and attacked. We were all asked to name our religious denomination, and being Jewish marked me out as different. However, I never came to see myself as a victim of anti-semitism, more just a victim of bullying...

...I was sent to the Christian Street School in Stepney. I didn't feel nearly so isolated there, as the school had a diverse cultural mix. Friday afternoons were a highlight there, too, thanks to Miss Parry. She had a remarkable voice and would read aloud the classics, such as The Hound of the Baskervilles; we would listen as intently as if we were watching TV. It was the first time I truly became aware of the power of the spoken word.

Click here for link Ananova, 24 Aug 2000 (link has gone)

Steven Berkoff says he wants to keep the doomed Mermaid Theatre open as a centre for the avant garde.

Plans are currently being considered to replace the present theatre with offices and a small performance space.

Three years ago, Berkoff leased the Mermaid to put on Coriolanus and Metamorphosis but he ran out of money and public support.

Click here for link Pete Stampede

Following an unflattering review of one of his plays by The Guadrian's (sic) then theatre critic Nicholas De Jongh, Berkoff made a death threat to De Jongh during a chance meeting in a pub; when De Jongh took this seriously and called in official protection, Berkoff claimed that he had been joking, and that De Jongh clearly didn't have a very good sense of humour. In 1997, Derek Jacobi and other leading actors publicly slated Berkoff for breaking a strike by the actors' union over working on commercials, and stated they would never want to work with him again. And what had Berkoff, the angst-ridden artist, done to break the terms of the strike? Why, a voice-over for McDonalds. Very Bertolt Brecht, I don't think.

Argument with Equity (link has gone)
Charl Blignaut 22 Jan 1998

Berkoff this week began recording a series of McDonalds hamburger ads. He said he needed the money and that the angry actors should just stop spewing their contemptible opinions and moral disdain right away.

click for link Interview
Robert Crampton, 6 Dec 2003, Times Online

Berkoff says he has deliberately preserved his “outsider” status because it guards against complacency, “keeps your conscience and antenna on full alert” and “relieves you of the necessity of pandering to people you don’t have anything in common with”. I’m more inclined to think that professional outsiders are people who have failed to become insiders, often because they can’t get along with others unless they are in complete control, and that Berkoff is making the best of an undesired situation.

Click here for link Shopping in the Santa Monica Mall (link has gone)
Jan Howells

Jan: A lot of your work as been about social mores and the underdog, is there any reason you have not tackled gay issues?

Berkoff: Gay isn’t part of my world, but funnily enough I did tackle the issue in Brighton Beach Scumbags, which is about some gays being beaten up by yobs in Brighton. One yob has been obsessed with gays since being a teenager and remembers this Yates type wine bar. He goes back to this pub with his wife who is fat, or horizontally challenged, and it’s a gay bar and he can’t believe it. He thinks everyone is looking at his wife, he sits in a deck chair all day and ponders it. Yes, very, very much a gay theme. I was putting the point across that this yob gets his come uppance in the end.

  Click here for link War and Remembrance (television series)
Eric Blair, Jul 1996

...I was a fan of the actor Steven Berkoff and curious to see how he would interpret the role of Adolf Hitler. I had seen Berkoff invest his extraordinary talent as a mime in bringing to life the short stories of Franz Kafka on the London stage in 1972 and was sure he would do something novel and different with the role.

...What was especially distracting was the ton and a half of makeup that Berkoff was compelled to wear for his part: it was so obvious, like an ill-fitting wig on a blowsy, strutting drag-queen.


  Antonin Artaud Antonin Artaud

In Theory, Process and Praxis, or, For Fun and Prophet
Richard Lee Gaffield-Knight, 1993



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