David Weston (actor)

David Weston (born 28 July 1938, London) is an English actor, director and author. Since graduating from RADA in 1961[1] (having won the Silver Medal for that year)[2] he has acted in numerous film, television and stage productions, including twenty-seven plays in Shakespeare's canon and prominent guest roles in two Doctor Who serials. With Michael Croft he was a founder member of the National Youth Theatre.[3] Much of his directing work has been for that organisation; he has directed also at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre and a number of other theatres in London. He wrote and narrated a series of non-fiction audio books, including Shakespeare His Life and Work which won the 2001 Benjamin Franklin Award for best audio non-fiction book.

Early career

Weston was educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich, during the time that Michael Croft, founder of the National Youth Theatre, was there creating drama of a very high standard.[4] In 1956 Croft directed a school production of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2, which, when revived as a NYT production at the Toynbee Hall Theatre the following year, attracted the attention of the national press. Weston played Falstaff, a character singled out by The Times in its praise of the play's comedy.[5]

In August 1960 Weston played Mark Antony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at the Queen's Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. Directed by Croft and given in modern dress, this was only the second appearance by the company of the NYT in London's West End. John Shrapnel played Caesar, Neil Stacy Brutus and Alan Allkins Cassius. The play was judged a "youthful success" by the theatre critic of The Times; Weston's performance was said to have successfully caught an opportunist spirit effectually hidden by a rough charm.[6]

The Times was more muted in its praise of the Electra and Oedipus Rex of Sophocles in a double bill put on by RADA at its Vanbrugh Theatre, Bloomsbury in February 1961. Weston played Creon in Oedipus Rex; his bluff characterisation was described as strongly supportive.[7]

Weston's first television appearance was as Romeo in a production for schools of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet; Jane Asher played Juliet.[8]


In 2011 Weston published Covering McKellen: An Understudy's Tale, a memoir of the year he spent as Ian McKellen's understudy in the Royal Shakespeare Company's tour of King Lear directed by Sir Trevor Nunn.[9]

In 2014 Weston published Covering Shakespeare: An Actor's Saga of Near Misses and Dogged Endurance, a memoir of his experiences performing in productions of Shakespeare's plays.[10]



  1. "RADA Graduate Directory". Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  2. "Awards at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art", The Times, London, p. 15, 21 July 1961
  3. Jardine, Cassandra (28 February 2009), "A new HQ honours the National Youth Theatre's founder", The Daily Telegraph, London
  4. "Edward Alleyn Club - Theatre". Archived from the original on 26 November 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  5. "Youth Theatre", The Times, London, p. 3, 23 April 1957
  6. "Modern Dress Caesar", The Times, London, 12 August 1960
  7. "Off-beat Electra", The Times, London, 7 February 1961
  8. "Loose Cannon's Hall Of Fame: David Weston". Archived from the original on 11 January 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  9. Weston, David (2011). Covering McKellen: An Understudy's Tale. London: Rickshaw Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9565368-0-8.
  10. Weston, David (2014). Covering Shakespeare: An Actor's Saga of Near Misses and Dogged Endurance. London: Oberon Books. ISBN 978-1783190645.
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