facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

25 February 1969: Dotrice opens Brief Lives at Criterion

First Published 23 April 2008, Last Updated 23 April 2008

Roy Dotrice took a step to Guinness world record fame on 25 February 1969, when the award-winning actor opened in Brief Lives at the Criterion. His 400 performances at this venue, combined with other touring credits, saw Dotrice claim a world record for most solo performances with a total of 1,782.

Brief Lives had premiered two years earlier at the Hampstead theatre and spent two seasons on Broadway before making its West End bow at the Criterion. Dotrice played 17th century gossip John Aubrey, who shared his views and titbits of information about many important Elizabethan figures with the audience. Among those remembered anecdotally were Oliver Cromwell, William Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh and even Elizabeth I. The piece was adapted by Patrick Garland from The Memoirs, Miscellanies, Letters And Jottings Of John Aubrey.

More than forty years after the production was originally seen, Dotrice, now into his 80s, has revived the show and is touring once more. Brief Lives can be seen in Richmond this March.

Dotrice, born in Guernsey in 1923, was introduced to the idea of performing when he was shot down during World War II, taken as a prisoner of war and found himself entertaining fellow POWs to lift spirits. On his release, he pursued his acting dream, working at various rep companies before joining the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (later to become the Royal Shakespeare Company) in 1957. He stayed with the company for nine years, honing his craft alongside actors such as Paul Robeson, Sam Wanamaker, Peter O’Toole, Charles Laughton, Albert Finney and Laurence Olivier. He also introduced baseball to the cricket-loving company.

Dotrice’s career has included award wins at the 1969 BAFTAs for Misleading Cases and the 2000 Tony Awards for his performance in A Moon For The Misbegotten on Broadway. More recently Dotrice returned to Hampstead in 2006 to star in Best Of Friends opposite Patricia Routledge and Michael Pennington, for which he received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. He was given an OBE in the 2008 New Year Honours List.



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.