I have loved theatre and opera since I was a child, and started directing as soon as I had the chance, working on classic, new, and filmed operas, Shakespeare, new plays, drag fusion shows, sketch, improv, and standup comedy, and cabarets written by victims of the Holocaust.
I’ve had the pleasure of working on productions at the Bloomsbury Theatre, Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Grimeborn, as well as training at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. My work has been nominated for an Offie Award and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.
I used to struggle to define my 'style', and I still believe that every piece deserves its own approach. But a few things are starting to become common:
1. Start with the world. By picking out the themes of a show, what it says, and identifying what its roles need to make sense - a code of honour, strict social rules, for magic to be real - you can build a world for performers and collaborators to thrive in and be creative with.
2. A grand scale: roles tend to be broad archetypes, not detailed studies in psychology. Especially in opera, that approach allows larger-than-human characters who can magnify different aspects of humanity. But, being honest, this attitude is more rooted in my starting out in comedy.
3. Use of space: I really like productions that use space to help them build the world. Sometimes this is ensuring the production moves from setpiece to setpiece, though more usually it's looking at a venue and thinking 'how can we bring the audience into this world?'
4. It has to be live. It's really easy to film stuff nowadays, and usually cheaper - so one of my core rules is that anything onstage has to be a truly live experience. That might be due to interactivity, use of space, or any number of other things. But it should feel 'live', and be impossible or near-impossible to film in a way to convey the experience of being there.
But the subtext to the question 'what sort of productions do you do' is always ‘do you do, y’know, those weird productions?’
To which I have to answer ‘sometimes’. This is because of strand 5:
5. It has to do something for the audience.
I always want the work to work for my audience today, not the composer’s centuries ago. Sometimes that does mean modernising and reworking a well-known piece, or doing abstract, conceptual work that will move them, even if they don’t understand why. But it can also mean doing a period production on a tight budget, or a slapstick comedy about a camel.
If I'm using a strange language for the production, I'll be sure to teach it to the audience in the first few scenes. But it will always be in a language that they can understand, or learn quickly. Because if only I can understand it, why would I go to all the effort of sharing a piece of work with them?
Every show's different, so my work’s always going to be different. Take a look at the productions below, and see what you think.
If you're interested in my approach, I wrote a few blogs about it here.
“an original, atmospheric, immersive role-play opera with real promise.” (Four stars)
Come Bargain With Uncanny Things
"A very serious attempt to conquer the comic opera genre."
- The Wee Review,
The Perfect Opera
"Punchy, effective staging"
- Opera Magazine,
The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken
"Fresh... unlocked the mysteries"
- The Guardian,
The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken
“A privilege to behold”
- Savage Magazine,
Theatre In The Theresienstadt Ghetto
Festival of Early Jewish Cinema
A festival exploring early Jewish cinematography, in collaboration with academics from UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies. Read More >>
A cyberpunk production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, surrounding the audience with a world of lurking menace, growing corruption, and dreadful loss. Read More >>
Theatre in the
A set of cabarets written by inmates of the Theresienstadt Ghetto during World War Two, recreated in collaboration with academics from the University of York and University College London. Read More >>
Come Bargain With Uncanny Things (2022)
The finished version of Come Bargain With Uncanny Things, an interactive immersive opera in which you come and bargain with uncanny things. Read More >>
Come Bargain With Uncanny Things (2021)
An interactive, immersive opera in which the audience tried to save their local area through rituals of bargaining with a supernatural creature. Read More >>
The Perfect Opera (2019)
Love! Death! Macbeth! And a pantomime camel! With everything you want shoved into this hiphop foxtrot operatic sketch comedy opera at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe. " a very serious attempt to conquer the comic opera genre." - The Wee Review Read More >>
The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken (2016)
A rare presentation of Kurt Weill's comic opera, presented with University College London academics. "One of the most creative and effective opera productions I've ever seen." - Audience feedback. Read More >>
At the Break of Dawn
A new play that toured through Germany and the UK, nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. Telling the tale of three revolutionaries on the eve of the great event. Read More >>