Bernard Miles was a force of nature. Actor, writer, director, life peer and founder of the Mermaid Theatre, Bernard Miles was a visionary who made an indelible impact on British Theatre. In 1959, in a post-Blitz area of London, amongst the ghosts of Shakespeare and Marlowe, Bernard and his wife Josephine Wilson fought every obstacle to establish a truly remarkable theatre that brought new plays to the British public and revitalised the classics.
Alan Strachan’s fascinating biography shares the adventures of Bernard Miles from film set to stage door, covering his personal and professional life and revealing the man and his mission. The talented and eccentric characters who worked and supported the Mermaid Theatre fill the pages of this inspiring memoir. And the man at the helm, the Adventurer, has earned his place in theatre history.
Whether filming in an oily tank for In Which We Serve, or on stage with his parrot on his shoulder for Treasure Island; whether arranging inspired ‘get rich quick’ schemes to finance the theatre or bringing the house down as ‘The Uncrowned King of the Chiltern Hills’, Bernard Miles was a determined and passionate idealist. Alan Strachan’s book shows the talented, flawed, beloved, troublesome man in all his glory.
“This full, rich and enthralling account of the making of one of the British theatre’s great figures is long overdue. Bernard was one of its most important – and most original – standard bearers, for whom we have much to be grateful, as any reader of this riveting book will discover.”