Craig, Edward Gordon

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Craig, Edward Gordon

Edward Gordon Craig, 1872–1966, English scene designer, producer, and actor. The son of Ellen Terry, Gordon Craig began acting with Henry Irving's Lyceum company (1885–97). Feeling that the realism in vogue was too limiting, he turned to scene design and developed new theories. He strove for the poetic and suggestive in his designs in order to capture the essential spirit of the play. His ideas gave new freedom to scene design, although many were impractical in execution. Among his notable productions were The Vikings and Much Ado about Nothing (both in 1903 for Ellen Terry) and Hamlet (with the Moscow Art Theatre in 1912). At Florence, Italy, he founded (1913) the Gordon Craig School for the Art of the Theatre; he also edited a magazine, The Mask (1908–29). He wrote On the Art of the Theatre (1911, rev. ed. 1957), The Theatre Advancing (1921), Scene (1923), and biographies of Henry Irving (1930) and Ellen Terry (1931).

See his memoirs (1957); biographies by his son Edward Craig (1968) and by C. Innes (1983); I. Eynat-Confino, Beyond the Mask: Edward Gordon Craig, Movement, and the Actor (1987); M. Holroyd, A Strange Eventful History (2009).

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