Peter Saunders (theatre)

Peter Saunders (theatre)

Infobox Person
name = Sir Peter Saunders

caption =
birth_name = Peter Saunders
birth_date = birth date|1911|11|23|mf=y
birth_place = Swiss Cottage, London, England
death_date = death date and age|2003|02|06|1911|11|23
death_place = Hampstead, London, England
other_names =
known_for = Producing and promoting "The Mousetrap", 1952–1994
occupation = Theatrical producer
spouse = Ann Stewart ( –1976);
Katie Boyle (1979–2003)
relatives = Charles Saunders (brother)
website =
Sir Peter Saunders (born November 23 1911, Swiss Cottage, London; died February 6 2003, Hampstead, London [ [ Dates and places of birth and death] : website. Retrieved on February 27 2008.] ) was an English theatre impresario, notable for his production of the long-running Agatha Christie murder mystery, "The Mousetrap".

Early life and career

Saunders' father died in a swimming accident (with the boy on his back), and he was subsequently educated at Oundle School and in Lausanne, Switzerland, thanks to the sponsorship of an aunt. Although his mother advised him to get a job with Harrods after completing his education, he instead followed his older brother, the film director Charles Saunders, into showbusiness, working at a film studio as a cameraman and director. Following spells as a newspaper reporter and press agent (to Harry Roy, among others), he served in the Second World War as an Army Captain in the Intelligence Corps, and following the end of hostilities, he moved into theatre production. [ Sir Peter Saunders] : obituary at the The Times website. Retrieved on February 27 2008.]

Saunders purchased the Vaudeville Theatre in 1969. Prior to his most famous adaptation of a book, by the same author, he saw the value of Agatha Christie's writing as suitable for theatre during his UK tours with "Murder at the Vicarage" and "Black Coffee", and his staging of "The Hollow", which ran in the West End of London for almost a year. In 1968, he took out a long lease on London's St Martin's Theatre, in West Street near Charing Cross Road.

The Mousetrap

Saunders' most notable production was "The Mousetrap", adapted for the stage by Christie, from her novel "Three Blind Mice". It began its run at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End on November 25 1952, switched once in 1974 to St Martin's Theatre next door, and continues there to this day, making it the longest unbroken sequence of performances in world theatre history. After reliquishing his direct involvement in the production of the play, he spent many years casting for roles annually, and also promoting it at every opportunity. He finally cut his ties with the play upon his retirement in 1994.

Personal life

Until her death in 1976, Saunders was married to Ann Stewart. In 1979 he re-married, this time to TV personality Katie Boyle (real name Catherine Bayliss), who survived him. He had no children. In 1972 he had published his autobiography "The Mousetrap Man", and in 1982, he was knighted. [ [ Further biography] : "Oundle Society" website. Retrieved on February 27 2008.] In 1992, his life was celebrated during his appearance on the long-running TV series "This Is Your Life". [ [ "This Is Your Life (TV series)"] , subject appearance: website. Retrieved on March 6 2008.]


External links

*imdb|1427848|Sir Peter Saunders

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