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Monday, 11 January 2021 14:10

DSL Remembers Peter Craze

Peter Craze and his wife IllonaPeter Craze played a significant part in the development of Drama Studio London for nearly 40 years.

When he began his association DSL ran a single one-year course for around 40 students and today the organization is a leading supplier of training for actors across 3 full time courses, and a portfolio of short courses, for around 200 students per year.

Peter’s steadfast principle still holds true today - That actor training is vocational and based on nurturing talent of all ages for an enduring career in the profession. To Peter, the best acting should be skilful, joyful story telling.

Peter first worked as a guest director on Bartholomew Fair in 1982 which led to three years of teaching and directing at the school in Grange Court before he went to Berkeley in California to run a DSL Summer School.

In 2003 with the retirement of the founder, Peter Layton, he became the Principal of the school until 2012.

One of Peter’s key contributions to DSL was the formation of the on-going partnership with the Hartt programme in Hartford Connecticut, in which DSL teaches an intensive Shakespeare programme to some of its American students.

The team at DSL has been overwhelmed by the many tributes we have seen and received from those who were lucky enough to know him.

From Emma Lucia Hands (Interim Head of School)
“Peter Craze will be sadly missed by all of us at Drama Studio London. He was a gifted individual who led the organisation with kindness and skill. He was funny, witty and charming whilst being hard working and highly dedicated to his students and staff. He will be remembered with great affection by all who had the privilege to work with him and call him a friend.”

From Kit Thacker (Managing Director 2010-2020)
“I joined DSL as Managing Director in 2010 and worked full time alongside Peter for two years. I also experienced his charm, expertise and commitment as a teacher and director until last year. I respected and loved that man and will miss him hugely.”

From Brendan Murray
“I was a student at DSL some years before Peter came to work there, so it wasn’t until I returned in the mid-90s that I met and came to know him as a fellow teacher, director, tutor and friend. He was a wonderful boss: generous and supportive."

From Emma Flett
“He loved the actors process and loved talking about it and was so insightful. I loved talking to him and learnt so much just in doing so. He was always curious and asking questions. He valued people and their gifts so highly and his generosity of spirit was evident to all.”

From Gillian King
“Peter Craze was one of my directors when I was at DSL in the early 90s. I still remember him telling me off quite strongly that I couldn’t just wing my Chekhov research. A good lesson! On leaving he supported my acting/ directing career and offered me work both directing/ teaching and tutoring at DSL - all of which I have loved. He was always incredibly supportive, kind and empathetic.”

From Jenny Eastop
“He was a great teacher who clearly cared deeply about the students and really helped them to grow into the best they could be. What I will mainly remember though are the fascinating anecdotes and stories, told with real warmth and wit, a born raconteur.”

From Jilly Bond
"I first met Peter when I was an eager student at Drama Studio in 1983. He directed me in “Bartholomew Fair”. His way was to open a path for you to explore, guiding with gentle encouragement or discouraging with his famous wicked wit.”

From Tessa Wood
“Peter was an extraordinary human being, and his wicked, sometimes quite naughty sense of humour was just another part of what made him so special.”

From Holly Wilson
“Peter’s vitality, kindness and shrewd wit created an atmosphere in which everyone felt part of a valued team. His enthusiasm and openness encouraged all of us, staff and students alike, to strive to do our very best work. Peter was a truly inspirational teacher and director and I consider myself very fortunate to have known and worked with him.”

From Stephanie Christ
“I will remember him for his profound kindness, warmth, cheeky and sparkly eyes, and his love for France!”