George Alexander Cassady Devine


Commander of the British Empire, 1958


An actor and theatre director, Devine was educated at Clayesmore School which had been founded by his uncle, Alexander Devine, and at Wadham College, Oxford, where he read modern history. He was president of the Oxford University Dramatic Society in his final year and became connected with professional theatre after inviting Sir John Gielgud as director of the society's production of Romeo and Juliet in 1932. Devine was part of the cast along with Peggy Ashcroft, Edith Evans, and Christopher Hassall. He started his career in theatre after leaving school and was the manager of the Motley firm where his future wife, Sophia Harris, was a partner. There, he also met the director Michel Saint-Denis who was to have a profound influence on his career. He established the London Theatre Studio in 1936 with the help of Saint-Denis and others.  His career was interrupted by the war in which he was a captain in the Royal Artillery, stationed mostly in Burma. After the war, he resumed his career and his collaboration with Saint-Denis at the Old Vic Centre until it was closed down in 1952. He then turned to freelance directing, and in 1956, became artistic director of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre where he was committed to reviving British drama by encouraging and inspiring new writers, directors, and playwrights and giving them the opportunity to present their talents. He spent his final years with his former pupil, the designer Jocelyn Herbert.

Place of birth: Hendon, near London
Place of death: London




H.C. Matthew, B. Harrison et al. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004-2018.

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