Director / Actress
Maria’s work includes THE GIFT (Melbourne Theatre Company), AS YOU LIKE IT (Shakespeare Theatre Washington DC); QUARTERMAINE'S TERMS (Williamstown Festival); THE 39 STEPS (West End; Broadway; Australia; US National Tour) JAPES (Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbour); MAN AND BOY (Tour and Duchess Theatre, London); EASY VIRTUE (Chichester Festival); VITA AND VIRGINIA (Sphinx Theatre Company); LADY BRACKNELL'S CONFINEMENT (Vineyard Theatre, New York); THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (Theatr Clwyd); AS YOU LIKE IT (Regent's Park, London); THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP (Leicester Haymarket and Ambassadors, London); ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY (Watford Palace); THE RIVALS (Court Theatre, Chicago); AFTER THE BALL WAS OVER (Old Vic, London); PRIVATE LIVES (Oxford Playhouse) and HAPPY FAMILY (Duke of York's, London).
She has adapted and directed many plays and classic serials for BBC radio. In 2005 she won the Sony Gold Award, radio's Oscar, for her production of an adaptation of Nabokov's LAUGHTER IN THE DARK. Most recently she directed Sir Ian McKellen in Edmund White's play TERRE HAUTE for BBC 3.
She is a visiting teacher at the British American Drama Academy; the National Theatre Studio; The London Actors' Centre; the Juilliard School in NY; the Yale School of Drama; the graduate acting program at The Tisch School of the Arts at NYU; the NY Actors' Center and the Academy of Classical Acting in Washington DC. She co-produced (appearing with other masters such as Michael Caine and Simon Callow) a series of master-classes for BBC2 entitled ACTING, which are available on video and DVD.
Maria Aitken has appeared as a leading actress at the Royal National Theatre in BLITHE SPIRIT; BEDROOM FARCE and LARKINLAND. At the Royal Shakespeare Company she has played in TRAVESTIES; WASTE and THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE.
Her many starring roles in the West End include: HUMBLE BOY (Gielgud); SYLVIA (Apollo); HAY FEVER (Albery); OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY (Lyric); THE VORTEX (Garrick);THE WOMEN (Old Vic); SISTER MARY IGNATIUS EXPLAINS IT ALL FOR YOU (Ambassadors);DESIGN FOR LIVING (Globe, now Gielgud); PRIVATE LIVES (Duchess); A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Adelphi).
Other theatre appearances include THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY (Lyric Hammersmith); HRH (Glasgow Citizens); THE CHERRY ORCHARD (Theatr Clwyd); THE SEAGULL (Greenwich); THE DOCTOR'S DILEMMA (Greenwich); Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT (Bristol Old Vic).
Maria's many television appearances include LOVE ON A BRANCH LINE; THE GOOD GUYS; QUIET AS A NUN; POOR LITTLE RICH GIRLS; SHELLEY; RIPPING YARNS; BEDROOM FARCE. She wrote and presented the documentary GREAT RIVER JOURNEYS (AN AMAZON ADVENTURE), and had three series of her own BBC chat show PRIVATE LIVES.
Films include ASYLUM; JINNAH; FIERCE CREATURES, THE GROTESQUE; THE FOOL, A FISH CALLED WANDA; MELBA; MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS and DR FAUSTUS.
She is the author of two books: A GIRDLE ROUND THE EARTH and STYLE: ACTING IN HIGH COMEDY.
She lives in New York and London with her husband, the novelist Patrick McGrath. Her son is the actor Jack Davenport.