Jill Fraser MBE, 15 April 1946 – 10 February 2006, became the Artistic and Executive Director of The Watermill Theatre in 1981. Her strength and vision made that theatre what it is today.
Edward Hall first worked at The Watermill in 1995 when he directed OTHELLO at the invitation of Jill Fraser. HENRY V in 1997 was the production which inspired him to create Propeller and until 2010 all Propeller productions were produced, toured at home and abroad and were transferred to London by The Watermill.
The existence of a mill at Bagnor is recorded in the Domesday Book and the building has served as a corn mill and fulling mill for hundreds of years with its beautiful tithe barn alongside. It was converted into a theatre in the early 1960s and the first professional season opened in 1967.
In recent years the Watermill has progressed into the top league of British regional theatre and many shows produced by the company have had their full potential realised by transferring to London or touring throughout the UK or overseas – to more than 25 countries worldwide.
James Sargant, Jill's husband, worked alongside Jill at The Watermill and took over following her death in February 2006 before passing the baton on to Hedda Beeby. The current Artistic Director Paul Hart was an Assistant Director to Edward Hall at Propeller and the Watermill is now thriving under Paul's leadership.
“This dynamic little venue is a theatrical hot spot.”
“This rural idyll has quietly become one of the most admired and influential theatres in the country. In the past five years, it has transferred more shows to the West End than any other theatre in Britain.”