Madeleine Renaud

1900 (Paris) – 1994 (Neuilly, France)

She had been Grémillon’s favourite actress. Barrault was her third husband; together they set up an influential theatre-company, giving premières to Beckett, Ionesco and Genet among others. The 21-year-old Boulez became their musical director for 10 years, Renaud treating him like a son. Beckett entrusted her with his work without at first really knowing her; she worked with him for weeks to get ‘Not I’ right. She also worked closely with Duras and Sarraute, both writing pieces specifically for her, and was directed by Wilson. Desnos wrote to a mutual friend from Terezin before he died, sending Renaud (and Barrault) a kiss.