We’re delighted to have three multiple award-winning artists as our first Patrons: Sharon D Clarke, leading theatre and musical performer; Sir Richard Eyre, CBE, director of theatre, opera, film and television; Laurie Sansom, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland.
In 2014 Sharon D Clarke won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Amen Corner at the National Theatre, and appeared at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in Porgy and Bess. Her West End appearances have included We Will Rock You, Ghost, Once on this Island (performances which were all nominated for Olivier awards), Guys and Dolls, Mama I want to Sing, Rent, The Lion King, Chicago, Hairspray and Blues in the Night. She has appeared in a one woman show at the Bridewell Theatre/Lyric Hammersmith) and a number of productions in Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham. She has achieved chart success as a singer and has also worked as a musical director, recording and voiceover artist and radio DJ. She has worked extensively in television, including a long run in Holby City.
Sir Richard Eyre CBE was Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse 1973 – 1978 and Director of the National Theatre 1987 – 1997. Musicals he has directed include the first musical at the National Theatre, Guys and Dolls in 1982, Mary Poppins in the West End and on Broadway, Betty Blue Eyes and Stephen Ward in the West End, The Pyjama Game in Chichester and the West End. He has directed opera at the Royal Opera House and Metropolitan Opera. He has been the recipient of numerous directing awards, including five Olivier Awards, and in 2013 he once again won the Evening Standard Award for Best Director for Ghosts. He was both a director and a producer of BBC‘s Play for Today 1978 – 1980, returning to the BBC in 1988 to direct the Falklands War story Tumbledown, which won the BAFTA Award for Best Director and the Prix Italia. His films include The Ploughman’s Lunch, winner of the Evening Standard Award for Best Film, Iris and Notes on a Scandal. He has written adaptations of plays and several books.
Since March 2013 Laurie Sansom has been Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, where he has recently directed The James Plays at the Edinburgh Festival and the National Theatre in London. He was Artistic Director of the Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton 2006 – 2012, where his productions included The Bacchae, Blood Wedding and Hedda Gabler, which were presented as The Festival of Chaos, as part of London2012 Festival; Spring Storm and Beyond the Horizon which transferred to the National Theatre, for which he received the 2010 TMA Award for Best Director; Frankenstein (with Frantic Assembly) and Follies. At the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, where he was Associate Director 2002 – 2006, he directed over twenty new plays and a season of three new musicals. He has directed for The Traverse, Birmingham Rep, Salisbury Playhouse, Lyric Hammersmith, New Vic, Stoke, West Yorkshire Playhouse and the National Theatre.
We have also recently invited three individuals to be our first International Associates, to help us keep musical theatre in the UK connected across the globe. We’re delighted to be working with producer/director Pippa Bailey and writer/composer/director Felix Cross MBE (both currently based in Sydney) and Broadway producer Barbara Whitman, and over the coming months we anticipate making further appointments in the Far East, Europe and the Americas.
Pippa Bailey joined Performing Lines, which develops, produces and tours new and innovative Australian performing arts regionally, nationally and internationally, in Sept 2013. Starting her career in Australia as a performer and reporter/producer, in the UK she was Prior to that she was a UK based independent producer/director, Artistic Director for The Museum Of on London’s South Bank and oh!art@Oxford House, a community arts centre in East London. As an associate director with The World Famous – innovative company of pyrotechnicians 2002-12, she helped create large outdoor shows including signature events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She produced the Total Theatre Awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2007-12. Since 2007 she has been developing a new music theatre project: BiDiNG TiME, responding to economic and environmental crisis by imagining how creative processes can enable systemic social change.
Felix Cross MBE worked as a guitarist in rock and jazz bands, songwriter, stand-up comedian and music teacher before moving into music theatre. In 1996 he was appointed Artistic Director of Black Theatre Co-op, which became Nitro. Music theatre for which he has written book, music and lyrics includes Blues For Railton (Albany Empire); Glory! (Temba/Derby Playhouse – winner 1988 LWT Plays On Stage); Mass Carib (Albany Empire/South Bank/national no1 tour/Trafalgar Square/Greenwich & Docklands Festival) and Passports To The Promised Land (NITRO/Sheffield Theatres). He has written music and lyrics or books for many musicals, and music for plays for, amongst others, Albany Empire, Nottingham Playhouse, Tricycle Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, Tamasha, Talawa, National Theatre, Out of Joint, and for all 23 of Agatha Christie’s plays. He also has extensive credits as a director. In 2012 he was awarded an MBE for services to music theatre.
Barbara Whitman made her Broadway debut in 2004 producing A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs. She is currently represented on Broadway by Fun Home (winner of five Tony Awards in 2015) and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Tony and Drama Desk Awards, Best Musical Revival) and on tour, Murder for Two. Other Broadway credits include If/Then starring Idina Menzel, Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd, Hands on a Hardbody, Red (Tony and Drama Desk Awards, Best Play), Next to Normal (Pulitzer Prize), Hamlet starring Jude Law, 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda, Mary Stuart, Legally Blonde – The Musical,The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. In the West End, she produced Piaf, starring Elena Roger. In December 2014 she was honoured by Transport Group, the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and OBIE Award-winning theatre company, when she received its Transporting American Theatre award for her outstanding contribution to the American theatre.