A very long ramble about casting. Make tea first.

Over the last few days I’ve told a few actor friends various bits of this and they have asked/ requested me to put it into a form that can be shared more widely. Apparently I’m interesting.. Who knew?.. After the 43rd page it may be less interesting. Here goes. I should probably start with the caveat that much of this is applicable mainly to smaller scale jobs, certainly the big musical casting machine operates in a big musical casting machineRead more

Thoughts. Notes. Our Prodigy team.

I am walking very slowly today. System shutdown due to having too many programmes open at once? We are about to start tech for Prodigy at the St James Theatre and the team have just returned from an intense and quite mind blowing week of rehearsals in Sevenoaks, with rewrites every day, up to five rehearsals happening at once and scheduling for the next 24 hours taking the entire lunch break. Here are some things I will want to remember..Read more


I’ve just spent a glorious weekend at the Imaginate festival in Edinburgh looking for new shows, creatives and collaborators for me and for SRT. Making theatre for children is something that I’m so proud to do and this weekend has inspired me all over again. That feeling of delight and amazement that you get in a perfect moment of theatre – seeing it multiplied a hundred times across the faces of tiny little people who often wouldn’t be able to articulate whyRead more


This summer I’m directing the National Youth Music Theatre’s new commission – a musical by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary called PRODIGY. It follows the ups and downs of five young musicians in a classical music competition – X Factor for instrumentalists! The NYMT has been going for nearly 40 years and offers young people aged between 11 and 23 the chance to develop their craft and work towards professionally led productions during their holidays. It’s amazing to be part ofRead more

Ten things you didn’t know about Jerry Herman

1) Jerry originally went to college to study design. Frank Loesser persuaded him to quit and enrol in a theatre course. 2) “Hello, Dolly” wasn’t supposed to be called “Hello, Dolly.” It was initially called “A Damned Insufferable Woman” until Louis Armstrong released a certain single which made number one and knocked the Beatles off the top spot – the world had heard the theme tune – “Hello, Dolly” was christened! 3) Mame paid back it’s entire investment in 24 weeks ofRead more

Jerry’s Girls Rehearsal Pictures

We had a visit from the lovely Darren Bell today who braved the oestrogen of the rehearsal room at the Menier Chocolate Factory to come and document some of the unfolding madness that is Jerry’s Girls. I don’t THINK Ria Jones was banging a massive drum or AJ Casey was sliding into splits at the time.. Though ‘SLY’ (Sarah Louise Young) was almost certainly treating us to an impromptu rendition of one of her many alter ego’s.. This is theRead more


I’m writing this from my apartment in Singapore, looking out over the river. It’s amazing and strange to have done the summer show, flown home for seven weeks (it felt like a weekend) and now to be back! The Nightingale played successfully in English for six weeks, and then in Mandarin for a further three weeks and I was thrilled to have been able to see the Chinese version 夜鶯 in its final week, as I returned to Singapore to begin rehearsal for Junior Claus.Read more


As if Christmas doesn’t last long enough (starting as it does, the day after Hallowe’en these days!), we are extending Christmas into February this year with a reading of the brilliant new musical CLAUS. Written by Andy Collyer and Simon Warne, Claus tells the incredible story of a human child brought up by immortals in a magical forest. But when Claus discovers there’s a whole world outside of the forest, inhabited by humans like him, his life takes a differentRead more

Stroke of Luck

I’m very excited to start rehearsal after Christmas for the World Premiere of Larry Belling’s brilliant play STROKE OF LUCK at the Park Theatre. Tim Pigott-Smith and I worked together on Educating Rita at the Trafalgar Studios and it’s fantastic to be working with him again. We have a stellar cast of actors on board and have our final script development session on Wednesday before going into rehearsal on 6th January.Read more

Packing Again

I can’t believe a year has passed since the last time – in fact, this time last year I was already out there exploring the temples of Cambodia and wandering through the largest casino in the world – but I’m leaving for Singapore in a few days time. This year the Singapore Repertory Theatre have commissioned a new adaptation of RED RIDING HOOD which I have been developing with Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary aka ‘jakeandpippa’ aka the next bigRead more

‘I would like to thank my agent…’

Okay, I’ve possibly jumped the gun a little. But I’m very excited and proud to have found out that The Road To Qatar is one of 12 musicals nominated for an MTN Award. From Whatsonstage.com: ‘These awards, previously known as the Musical Theatre Matters Awards, aim to highlight the best new musical theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe. Caroline Routh, executive producer for Musical Theatre Network said: “Here at MTN we are keen to broaden the conversation about what musical theatre can beRead more

Passport to Pimlico

Every so often a project comes along and turns your world view upside down, forcing you to expand your strategies and push your process into new and uncharted territory. This summer I was lucky enough to be asked to direct the premier of a new British musical adaptation of the classic Ealing comedy PASSPORT TO PIMLICO to mark the ten year anniversary of Arts Festival SouthWestFest. #p2pMusical as it became known was performed in the streets, gardens and public buildingsRead more


I’m so excited to be directing Jason Robert Brown’s musical Parade for London Studio Centre’s Seedtime company in June. It’s such an extraordinary piece of theatre based on the true story of the murder of Mary Phagan which took place on 26th April 2013, almost exactly 100 years ago today. We have the team from our amazing Spring Awakening last summer: Matthew Shaw as Musical Director, Ashley Nottingham as Choreographer, Becky Gunstone as Designer and David Phillips as Lighting Designer. We can’tRead more

How I became Emma Pillsbury

I’m currently working with MD extraordinaire Chris Whitehead and the graduating year of Trinity Laban’s musical theatre students whose third year showcase is approaching. I have mixed memories of my own third year showcase (hating my outfit, dreading the agent schmooze afterwards) and being on the other side has been really interesting – the sense of responsibility is huge and we have been very lucky to work with a group who are very generous, brave and unique. Alongside choosing materialRead more