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The Crucible (1990)

The Crucible


A play by Arthur Miller, performed at the Olivier, National Theatre, London, with its opening night on 31 May 1990.

Running time: 3 hours and 15 minutes (including interval)


The Crucible image #1 The Crucible image #2 The Crucible image #3 The Crucible image #4 The Crucible image #5 The Crucible image #6

The first photo shows Zoë Wanamaker in rehearsal.  The second photo shows Tom Wilkinson and Zoë Wanamaker in rehearsal.  The third photo shows Elizabeth Proctor (played by Zoe Wanamaker).  The fourth, fifth, and sixth photos show Elizabeth Proctor and John Proctor (Tom Wilkinson).


Written during the McCarthy 'witch-hunts' in the USA, The Crucible dramatises the Salem witch-trials of the late seventeenth-century, in which a community is slowly torn apart by fear and suspicion.


Oliver Cotton ... Reverend Parris

Sharon Howard ... Betty Parris

Mona Hammond ... Tituba

Clare Holman ... Abigail Williams

Carol Starks ... Susanna Walcott

Bridget Turner ... Ann Putnam

Seymour Matthews ... Thomas Putnam

Cory Pulman ... Mercy Lewis

Julia Ford ... Mary Warren

Tom Wilkinson ... John Proctor

Elizabeth Bradley ... Rebecca Nurse

Michael Bryant ... Giles Corey

David Burke ... Reverend John Hale

Zoë Wanamaker ... Elizabeth Proctor

Charles Simon ... Francis Nurse

Paul Moriarty ... Ezekiel Cheever

Peter Caffrey ... Marshall Herrick

Peter Stockbridge ... Hopkins

Mike Murray ... First Deputy

Judith Coke ... Martha Corey

Keith Bartlett ... Judge Hathorne

Paul Shelley ... Deputy-Governor Danforth

Clare Cathcart ... Rachel

Jennifer Hill ... Sarah Good


Director: Howard Davies
Designer: William Dudley
Lighting Designer: Chris Parry
Music: Peter Salem
Movement: Jane Gibson
Dialect Coach: Joan Washington
Staff Director: Christ Barton
Production Manager: Andrew Peat
Stage Manager: Ernest Hall
Deputy Stage Manager: Angela Bissett
Assistant Stage Managers: Paul Greaves and Emma B Lloyd
Sound: David E Smith
Assistant to the Designer: Annie Evason
Assistant to the Lighting Designer: Archibald Jenkins
Design Assistant: Annie Gosney
Costume Supervisor: Christine Rowland, assisted by Alistair McArthur
Musicians: Lynda Mayle/Laurie Paget (MD/Keyboard), Christopher Essex-Hill (violin), Katherine Sharman (cello), and Rosemary Tucker (flute)


Working on The Crucible, with its allusions to the Communist 'witch-hunts', provided Zoë with the opportunity to talk to her father, Sam Wanamaker, in detail about his being blacklisted during the McCarthy hearings.  'It wasn’t till I did The Crucible that we really talked about that period in his life', she has remarked (see her interviews in BOMB Magazine and the Jewish Chronicle).

For her portrayal of Elizabeth Proctor in this production, Zoë was nominated for the 1991 Olivier Award for Performance of the Year by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

Since her appearance in The Crucible, Zoe has performed in two other plays by Arthur Miller: The Last Yankee (1993) and All My Sons (2010), which was also directed by Howard Davies.

The Crucible is among Zoe's many productions as a member of the National Theatre Company.  She has also appeared in The Importance of Being Earnest (1982), The Bay at Nice and Wrecked Eggs (1986), Mrs Klein (1988), Battle Royal (1999), His Girl Friday (2003), The Rose Tattoo (2007), and Much Ado About Nothing (2007). 

Zoë has worked with four out of the five artistic directors at the National to date (i.e. Peter Hall, Richard Eyre, Trevor Nunn, and Nicholas Hytner).  Strong ties with the company have led to her becoming a National Theatre Associate, giving her the power to influence the theatre's artistic policy.

Press coverage

Zoë was 'excellent throughout at capturing the dessicated, disconsolate dignity of Elizabeth', declared Paul Taylor in the Independent.  His praise was echoed by The Sunday Times's John Peter, who called Zoe's performance 'one of the finest pieces of tragic character acting' he has seen in the Olivier.


The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Related links

The Crucible production photos - Photostage (search the website using the keywords 'Wanamaker' and 'Crucible' to view images)

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