Jan Sargent has had a long career as a writer/director in British television, film, and theatre; and has won awards for her films in Chicago, New York and Cattolica, Italy. A BAFTA nominated director, she has directed in major reps around the country and many prime-time series on TV.
In the sixties she appeared as Viola in Twelth Night, Anita in West Side Story and directed A Streetcar named Desire, the Skin of Our Teeth, Romanov and Juliet and many different kinds of theatrical ventures including "Happenings" in St Ives with "skins and greasers "
She graduated as a director from the Drama Centre London, formed her own fringe company directing 'Mosaic' at the Howff theatre ,a collection of Pinter short works, won an Arts Council bursary, then became associate director in major theatres, including Watford, Newcastle, Leicester, Bristol, Exeter, York, the Royal Opera House, and also directed plays at the Arts theatre, the Riverside, Highgate theatre and the Soho Poly and with Monstrous Regiment. After ten years in theatre during which she directed major classics and new work, such as The Three Sisters, the Devils, the Taming of the Shrew, a Taste of Honey, Hayfever, the Balcony, Death and Devil, Landscape, a Taste of Honey, the Bed Before Yesterday, Owners, Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf, the Seagull, Godspell, the Rock Nativity, Joseph and his Amazing Coat of Many Colours, Shakespeare's Sister, premiers of For One Performance Only, the Byker Wall, Blow on Blow, They Sleep Together and the Big Comeback, she won a scholarship to the National Film School for an MA in film direction, went on to do the BBC directors’ Course and then to direct a Play for Today, Fire at Magilligan.
She directed drama and documentaries including Where the Heart Is, Backup, Dangerfield, numerous episodes of the Bill, the Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Soldier Soldier, Casualty, Big Deal, Truckers, Black Silk, Big Deal, Perfect Scoundrels, King and Castle, Desmond’s, Births Marriages & Deaths and Small Change.
She directed and won prizes for films in Mystfest, and the Chicago film Festival with her film No Pity. She also won prizes for films made with Melrose, a company involved in training.
She directed King Lear at Bristol Old Vic and developed a screenplay to be made by her company Sandgate Films, which was sadly curtailed on the death of Bill Wallis. She has several drama projects in development including Mediation about a mediator, Troubled Children about the family courts, the Sealady by HG Wells, and Dirty Work about an industrial cleaning firm. Others in script form include Dark Matter, a film about elder rape , the Roadie, and The Other Three Sisters, concerning Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, daughters of Lear.
She was one of the subjects of research funded by the Centre for Leadership in Creativity, and runs courses for management. She has been drama consultant to the documentary/drama strand at the BBC and has run directing courses for the BBC, was responsible for training film directors at the RCA, the Drama Centre, the London Film school, Mountview , Bournemouth and worked in development with Aardman Animation.
She co-wrote a biography of Miriam Karlin called “Some sort of a life” and continues to write screenplays and develop series for television. She trained as a therapist and has a practice in Hackney.
She has directed over 100 films and plays