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Jonathan Paul Cook - CV/Biographical Sketch

Born in Guildford, England, in 1946. Educated at Goddard College and U.C. Berkeley Extension in USA and École Jacques Lecoq 1968-70 in Paris.

Founded Footsbarn Travelling Theatre in Cornwall i 1971.

Director of Dell' Arte School of Mime and Comedy in California 1976-81. Lecturer at Humboldt State University 1978-81.

Since 1984 Jonathan Paul Cook has taught at what is now the The Danish National School of Performing Arts, (DDSKS), Odense, while continuing to direct productions and teach in Europe and USA. In recent years he has been a regular teacher at the Norwegian Theatre Academy, in Fredrikstad, and directing operas for The Danish National Academy of Music, Odense.

Directing assignments have included among others:

For Ljubljana City Theatre, Slovenia, "Princess Ivona of Burgundy" (Witold Grombowicz), 1990.

For Odense Theater: "A Christmas Carol" (after Charles Dickens), 1995; "Romeo og Julie i Sarajevo" (Jasenko Selimovic), 1999; "Shadowlines" (J.P.Cook), 2005; "Peter Pan" (J.M. Barrie), 2007; "POOL (no water)" (Mark Ravenhill), 2014.

For Bruthalia Theater: "A Hard Heart" (Howard Barker), 1994; "The Europeans" (Howard Barker), 1997; and "The Dwarf" (after Pär Lagerkvist), 1998. "Den Yderste Stilhed" (J.P.Cook), 2001.

For Vendsyssel Teater: "A Tale of Two Cities" (after Dickens), 2003.

Member of the Danish Stage Directors Union (FDS) since 1990.

Publications: "Teatret er en Kollektiv Drøm" in the journal "Teater, Film & TV" (Februar 1981) "En Frugtbar Kompost For et Teaterliv I Århus?" in the book "Et Andet Teater-liv", Århus Teater Akademi (1984). "Stonewashed Theatre" in the book "Alle Tiders Teater!", Husets Forlag (1990). "Vildfremmedes Intimitet" in the journal "Teater Et" (April 1998). Interviewed for "artcornwall.org" (2014).

Recognized and included as an entry in the Danish Encyclopedia of Theatre, Gyldendals (2007).

In Greater Detail


Born in England 1946. Emigrated to Canada in 1953 and to U.S.A. in 1962. Professional child actor on Canadian stage and television.

Non-theatrical Work Experience:

Worked for two years as a pipe organ builder between high school and college. Also worked as a bicycle mechanic and farm labourer and even, for one day of pure hell, peeled shrimp in a restaurant on Bourbon Street, New Orleans!


Educated at Goddard College, Vermont, U.S.A. 1967-68 and at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris 1968-70. Holds a Teaching Credential in Theatre Arts for California Junior Colleges, obtained through U.C. Berkeley Extension 1978.

Performance Experience:

In 1967 toured in a three-man show in Vermont and Montreal with Jeff Glaser and playwright David Mamet.

In 1971 founded the legendary Footsbarn Theatre in Cornwall, U.K., touring with them for five years in many different productions.

Has created many original mime pieces, worked as a clown in a traditional circus, Cirque Perrier, and performed as a mime for the Paris Opera House.

Acted with California's Dell' Arte Players Company, New Orleans' Constance Street Stage Company and with Sweden's Tajphoon Tivoli.


As a member of Footsbarn Theatre directed and co-directed many different productions, both company devised and by established playwrights.

Directed touring productions for Dell' Arte Outreach in Northern California.

Artistic director of the Constance Street Stage Company in New Orleans 1982-83.

Since the early eighties JPC has directed productions for many different companies around the world, often plays written by himself (see below). These include Egnsteaters Masken, Vesten Vinden and Gadesjakket in Denmark, Typhoon Tivoli in Sweden and Two Penny Theatre in U.S.A.

Directed "Stress" for Fair Play, which won the FTF Cultural Prize.

Has been directorial consultant for Seattle, Washington's Intiman Theatre "Mirandolina," Hans Rønne's Teatret, "Nattoget," 1992, and Bjørneteatret, 1997.

Directed Witold Gombrowicz's "Princess Ivona of Burgundy" at the National Theatre of Slovenia 1990.

At the Odense Teater Skuespillerskole, directed productions of Terance, Yeats, Lorca, Ionesco, Becket, Albee, Strindberg, Chekhov, Barnes, Barker and Payne.

Also directed shorts for regional television in England and California.

In recent years the plays of Howard Barker have become the major focus of his work as a director. As a founding member of Bruthalia Teatret, directed their production of Howard Barker's "A Hard Heart" in 1994 at Odense Teater's Sukkerkogeriet.

Directed "A Christmas Carol," from Charles Dickens' short story, for Odense Teater in 1995, remounted for Vendsyssel Teater, 1997.

In spring, 1997, directed Bruthalia Teater's production of Barker's "The Europeans," supported by a grant from the Danish Theatre Council. In 1998 his adaptation of Pär Lagerkvist's "The Dwarf," also supported by the Danish Theatre Council, was toured by Bruthalia Teater, opening at Århus Festival Week, and touring to Odense Teater and Rialto Teater in Copenhagen.

In 1999 he directed Jasenko Selimovic's "Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo" for Odense Teater, and in 2000, Borgeson, Long & Singer's "Shakespeares Samlede Værker" for Team Teatret.

In 2001 he wrote and directed "Den Yderste Stilhed" for Bruthalia, a play about the infamous UNABOMBER, which was toured with the support of the Danish Theatre Council to four Danish cities.

In 2003 he returned to Vendsyssel Teater to direct an adaptation of Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities," and in 2005 directed for Odense Teater "Shadowlines" his free adaptation of three of H. C. Andersen's stories.

In the autumn of 2005 he directed David Hare's "The Blue Room" at Husets Teater, Copenhagen with fourth year acting students from Odense, and in 2007 adapted and directed "Peter Pan" for Odense Teater.

In 2014, directed the operas "l'Enfant et les Sortilèges" (Ravel/Colette), and in 2015 "The Vixen" (Leoš Janácek) for The Danish National Academy of Music, Odense. Venue: Den Fynske Opera.

In 2014, directed Mark Ravenhill's "POOL (no water)" for Odense Teater.

In 2015, hired as consultant to "Carl," a joint production of Mungo Park, Kolding and Baggaardsteater, Svendborg.

In 2016 directed "Kvindelist," a touring production of Pergolesi's "La Serva Padrona," for Opera Clé.


Professionally produced plays written by Jonathan Paul Cook include:

"Bad Day in Bergamo" (1975), "Underwater Worlds" (1977), "Cash Valley" (1978), "Deep Baba" (1983), "Ingen Kan Være Alle Tilpas" (1984), "Kakkelovnibrødrenes Forrygende Skorsten" (1986), "Forførelsen" (1987), "Manhattan Download" (1987), "Når Djævle Elsker" (1989), "Carmen og Katinka" (1990), "Kort Sagt" (1993). "The Dwarf" (1998) co-written with Kitte Wagner, "Den Yderste Stilhed" (2001), "Shadowlines" (2005).


JPC's teaching lies within the Copeau/Lecoq tradition. His strategy is to build a bridge that stretches the student actor between two "pylons." On one end of the bridge the students are encouraged to exercise their "sincerity muscle." On the other end they are encouraged to exploit the full range of vocal and physical possibilities made available by their technical training. So there is no such thing as "over-playing." The problem is rather one of providing adequate support to the quest for transformation, style and expression. The study begins with traditional naïve styles such as Commedia dell' Arte, mumming and melodrama that place the actor in a central position as the primary transformer of reality. The work continues into more sophisticated and challenging examples of classical and contemporary literature in which the actor is joined by the playwright as a partner in crime!

The Nineteen-Seventies and early Eighties found JPC teaching workshops and/or in residency at such places as: Plymouth Arts Centre, Devon; Goddard College, Vermont; Falmouth College of Art, Cornwall; Wesleyan University, Connecticut; Elmcrest Psychiatric Hospital, Connecticut; Department of Drama, Exeter University, Devon; Grand Valley State Colleges, Michigan; St. George's Homes, Berkley, CA;University of Oregon, Eugene; University of Santa Clara, CA; Butte Junior College, CA; Columbia Junior College, CA; Bakersfield Community College, CA; University of California at Davis, CA; Roy Bosier's Studio I Gesti, Rome; Dartington College of Art, Devon; Scenestudio, Stockholm; Tulane Center Stage, New Orleans; Tulane University College, New Orleans.

From 1976 to 1981 JPC taught at the Dell' Arte School of Mime and Comedy, California. As School Director, he designed an internationally recognized training program. During this period he was also on the faculties of College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University, teaching and directing student productions.

Since first visiting Denmark in 1981, has taught in many different Danish institutions, including Herning Højskole, Festival of Fools, Institute for Dramaturgy at Århus University, the sports and medical departments of Odense University, the Commedia School in Copenhagen, Århus Teater Akademi and Nordisk Teater Skole in Århus.

Between 1990 and 2000 taught frequently at the Governor's Institute on the Arts in Vermont, U.S.A.

Has taught and directed student productions since 1984 at the Odense Teater Skuespillerskole (Now a department of The Danish National School of Performing Arts (DDSKS)), and under staff contract since 1993, teaching in both the BA and MFA programs.

Yearly guest teacher, lecturer, and member of admissions committee (auditions) for Høgskolen i Østfold - Akademi for Scenekunst, Bachelor of Arts degree program in theatre, Fredrikstad, Norway, 2006 to 2012.

Guest teacher (NORTEAS exchange) NÄTY, University of Tampere, Finland in 2013 and 2015.

Teacher, Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT), Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2015.

Special Assignments:

Drama Tutor in Mime for Cornwall Education Committee, Truro, UK, 1975.

Led workshop and gave lecture/demonstration for Footsbarn Theatre's 25ème Anniversaire Celebration de Theatre, France 1996.

Keynote speaker and workshop leader (along with Thomas Ziehe and Cecily O'Neill) for Third Nordic Conference on Drama and Theatre Pedagogy, Århus, 2000.

Member of admissions committee (auditions) for Høgskolen i Østfold - Akademi for Scenekunst, Bachelor of Arts degree program in theatre, Fredrikstad, Norway, between 2006 and 2012.

Chairman Sakkyndig Utvalg - Høgskolen i Nord-Trøndelag, Norway, assessing applicants for teaching positions for a degree program in theatre 2005 and again in 2012.

Chairman Sakkyndig Utvalg - Høgskolen i Østfold - Akademi for Scenekunst, Norway, assessing applicants for teaching positions for a degree program in theatre in 2011.

Lecture/demonstration/performance "Raising the Dead" at the Nordic and Baltic Theatre Schools Summit (NORTEAS), Viljandi, Estonia, 2014.


Has often targeted specific audiences, including Cornish fishermen, English country pubs, Native Americans on their reservations, California rednecks, impoverished black school children in the American Deep South, Slovenes as they were being threatened by the Yugoslavian Air Force, Hell's Angels in Danish prisons, women's groups, the elderly, juvenile homes, mental institutions, Danish nurses unions, refugees, tourists in Tunisian hotels, and even experimental ecologists living in the Arizona desert.

More recent work has broadened to include various sub-species of the urban cultural elite.

International Exchange Projects:

Has been involved in several international exchange projects. In the summer of 1988 taught a one week workshop in Randers, Denmark for visiting amateurs from the town's twin cities in Sweden, Norway and Finland. In the autumn of that year taught a three week workshop for Danish and Dutch actors brought together as part of an EEC funded exchange program.

In 1989 became deeply involved in a six month long cultural exchange project initiated by Århus' Frontløberne in association with Next Stop Soviet which eventually sent 30 young dancers and actors to Leningrad and Moscow in a Bouffon performance called "Gate." Was the leader of the initial three month pedagogical phase of this project and collaborated with Ebbe Kløvedal Reich on the development of the manuscript.

In Denmark in the summers of 1991 and 1994 directed The European Summer Arena, an exchange project of mixed professionals and amateurs from the towns of Holbæk in Denmark, Celle in Germany, and Dorchester in England.

In 1995 he directed the European Union sponsored project "Commedia and the Lost Mask" in Venice, Italy. Other teachers involved included Pascale Lecoq, Donato Sartori, Bent Holm and Peter Darger.

In 2013 he was Supervisory Director of "Northern Lights in Malawi" produced by the Intercultural Centre, Copenhagen.

In 2016 he was invited to participate in "Écoles des Écoles" in Hamburg.


"En Frugtbar Kompost For et Teaterliv I Århus?" in the book "Et Andet Teater-liv", Århus Teater Akademi (1984). "Stonewashed Theatre" in the book "Alle Tiders Teater!", Husets Forlag (1990). "Vildfremmedes Intimitet" in the journal "Teater Et," (April 1998).

Interviewed for online arts journal artcornwall.org (2014)

Recognized and included as an entry in the Danish Encyclopedia of Theatre, Gyldendals (2007).

The Danish Connection:

Has been visiting Denmark since 1981, becoming a member of the Foreningen af Danske Sceneinstruktører (Union of Danish Stage Directors) in 1990 and a Danish resident in 1992. Previously married, father of two children, Sarah and Benjamin.


As must be quite evident from the above, Cook is fond of international travel and working within a wide range of cultural settings. As such he is interested in both teaching and directing assignments. A typical teaching project might be three weeks of melodrama, in which the students devise their own melodramas.

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Jonathan Paul Cook © 2010-16