Directors (stage/film)

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Hugh Hodgart

Hugh.jpg Hugh is Dean of Drama at the RSAMD.

His Academy productions include Wounds to the Face, The Seagull and The Jungle Book.

Liam Brennan

Liam Co-Directed Wounds to the Face with Hugh Hodgart in RSAMD.

His Academy productions include Wounds to the Face

Ashley Dean

Ashley trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Directorial credits include: The Marriage of Figaro and Peter Grimes for Surrey Opera, Twist and Sshout - a musical about the Beatles (tour of Italy), The House of Bernarda Alba, The Dog Beneath the Sskin (Cockpit Theatre), The Entire History of Britain in a Nutshell (UK tour), Hell and High Water and The Ooutlaw Fulke Fitzwaryn (Strangeface Mask Theatre Company). Ashley has worked on opera productions by Nicholas Hytner, Graham Vick, David McVicar, Jonathan Miller, Annabel Arden, Nikolaus Lehnhoff, Peter Hall and most recently Deborah Warner’s Death in Venice at English National Opera. He has been on the directing staff at Glyndebourne, ENO, Garsington and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Future plans this year include working on Graham Vick’s Eugene Oonegin (GFO), directing opera scenes at GSMD and for Glyndebourne’s Jerwood project, and reviving Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s Jenufa (GFO) for NBR New Zealand Opera,

His Academy productions include Ariadne auf Naxos

Freddy Wake-Walker

His Academy productions include Kaspar Hauser and Albert Herring

Alisdair Hawthorn

His Academy productions include Cinderella, Mother Goose, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Jack and the Beanstalk and Dick McWhittington.

Andrew Panton


Andrew is the creative director of Dundee Rep as of 2017. His Academy productions include Swinging Into Christmas 2009, Swinging Into Christmas 2010, West Side Story, Cabaret - The Musical, Chess the Musical and Spring Awakening.

Julie Taymor


Julie Taymor was born in Newton, Massachusetts on December 15th. (making her 55). Theatre was constantly in Julie's life from the age of seven she was drawing and staging shows of children's stories with her sister for her parents. Julie was often the youngest member of theatre groups and by time she was 16 she was winging her way to Paris to study under 'Jacque Lecoq' where she became 'exposed' to mime...

Further Information

Julie went on to study, in Ohio, Japan and Indonesia studying puppetry and direction… this is some what different line of work from what her family were used to her mother being a teacher of politics and her father a gynecologist….

Theatre Work

The Green Bird [Original, Musical, Fantasy, Puppets] :

Direction, Puppet Design and Mask Design by Julie Taymor Apr 18, 2000 -Jun 4, 2000

The Lion King [Original, Musical, Comedy, Drama, Puppets] :

Direction, Costume Design, Puppet Design, Mask Design and Additional lyrics by Julie Taymor; Additional music by Julie Taymor Nov 13, 1997 - ?

Juan Darien [Original, Musical, Puppets] :

Direction, Scenic Design, Costume Design, Puppet Design Mask Design by Julie Taymor. Based on the book by Julie Taymor

The Lion King

Opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1997. It won countless awards and critical acclaim all over the world. It didn’t come to London until 1999.

“This isn’t a cartoon brought to life this is an actual theatrical realization”

“People will recognize the original Disney characters mixed with my own sculptural style and also African style”

Tim Burton

Tim Burton was born in Burbank, los Angeles, on 25th of august 1958. From a young age it was quite apparent that he was gifted, although he was never very good in school, and it was obvious to those around him that he was not a book worm. Instead he found joy in painting drawing and movies. After high school in 19976, at the age of 18 Tim attended the California institute of the arts. Cal arts had been founded by Disney and used as a breeding ground for new animators, though they did offer other courses. Burton entered the Disney animation program in his second year thinking it would be a good way to make a living. 2 years later in 1979 he was drafted into the Disney animation ranks. Soon after the studio realized that his talent was not being used to its full extent, so they made him a conceptual artist which is a person who designs the characters for films. If you are familiar with burtons art work then you will realize that it is far from normal Disney animation so it didn’t go down too well. However he did get let loose on his own projects, these included a poem and artwork which years later would form the base for one of his most famous pieced, the nightmare before Christmas.

Alasdair Head

Tim Burton’s film history.

Tim Burton has been making films since 1971 and since then has made a lot of films, some small scale but well known such as peewee’s big adventure , some huge films like mars attacks! and even some which were never aired like Frankenweenie and lost in oz. In 1971 Tim Burton wrote and directed his first short film, called “The island of doctor agor” at age13. It was based on H.G. wells story “the island of doctor moreau, and starred himself and few of his friends. His second film was a short animation called “stalk of the celery” which he wrote directed and also animated. The film was done entirely in pencil. The film quickly caught the eye of his class at cal arts and also gained interest by Disney who then offered the young Burton a job as an animator. 1982 Burton made Vincent a 6 minute stop motion film done in black and white. Based on a poem he wrote about a young boy who (like Burton as a child) fanaticizes about being Vincent price. Price himself provided narration for the short. The next film he worked on was Beetlejuice, Burton originally wanted to cast sammy davis jr as the Bio-exorcist beetlejuice however after meeting Michael Keaton became convinced of him playing the part, referring to him as a “manic livewire”. The film was made on a relatively small budget of $11 million, but grossed $32 million within its first 2 weeks, it then went on to gross more than $73 million. Burtons ability to produce low budget films impressed studio executives and he was finally given his first big budget film, batman. There was some tension involved with making the film due to Burton wanting to cast Michael Keaton as batman, due to his successful last role as beetlejuice. Burton believed that batman should be an ordinary although wealthy ban who wears a bat costume to scare criminals, rather than casting a bulked up actor. He even cast jack Nicholson as the joker in a move to calm fan’s fears and also to interest the older generation who might not be interested in superhero films. When the film opened it was backed by the biggest marketing and merchandising campaign in film history at the time. And grossed over $400 million worldwide. Burton began to make the majority of his big films in the 90’s, making films such as Edward scissorhands, batman returns and the huge cult classic the nightmare before Christmas. Edward scissorhands was written by Burton and Caroline Thompson. Casting Wynona Ryder from her work in beetlejuice and also casting 80’s teen idol Johnny depp as Edward. Edward was the creation of an eccentric old fashioned inventor (played by burtons childhood idol Vincent price, in his last on screen appearance before his death) Edward looked human but due to the untimely death of his creator was left with scissors for hands. The film is widely seen as the autobiography of burtons own childhood. Vincent price is said to have remarked “Tim is Edward”. This has been considered his best film by both fans and critics. Despite the success of batman Warner bros. declined to make Edward scissorhands, and eventually Burton agreed to film the sequel, under the condition that he would be given total control. this led to the making of batman returns starring Michael Keaton as batman, Michelle Pfeiffer as cat woman and Danny de Vito as the penguin. Concerns were raised that the film was too scary for children, and audiences were uncomfortable with the overt sexuality of the film, personified by catwoman’s fetish inspired costume. Some of the fans loved the darkness and quirkiness while other felt it wasn’t true to the comics. Burton even made many changes to the penguin which would then be applied in both comics and cartoons, the penguin went from being a normal man with a pinstripe suit to being a small man with a long hooked beak-like nose, flipper like hands and even a penguin shaped body. The film grossed over $280million world wide. Burton then went on to write and produce, but not direct the nightmare before Christmas, the film was based on a poem written by Burton during his time at Disney, the film went on to have a massive cult following as well as renewing interest in in stop motion animation. One of the deleted scenes from the film is the vampires playing hockey with the decapitated head of Burton, the head was later replaced by a jack o lantern. The film was made with animatronic puppets and rather large scale sets. The largest animatronic was of the character Oogie Boogie the puppet of which stood between 2 & 3 feet tall and had a mould which weighed 200 pounds. The next film Burton made was Ed wood, a smaller scale film depicting the life of Ed wood jr, a man sometimes called “the worst director of all time” the film was a homage to the low budget sci-fi and horror films of Burtons childhood. Sleepy hollow has been marked as the return of vintage Burton, the supernatural setting, unique sets and an offbeat performance by Johnny Depp and another gothic score by Danny Elfman. Rather than Ichabod crane being a school teacher he is a detective with an interest in forensic science. The film was a tribute to old English hammer film productions. The film won an academy award for best art direction, and 2 BAFTAs for best costume design and best production design. The film was a turn around for Burton, in both his professional and personal life. He left behind his haunted forests and colourful outcasts to direct planet of the apes, a film which made a lot in the box office but was slated by critics. Since then Tim Burton has gone on to make such films as Big fish, Charlie and the chocolate factory, corpse bride, a film with a similar style to the nightmare before Christmas, however not as big. The film received an academy award nomination for best animated feature film. And Sweeny Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street.

Sean McKenzie

Some of the work by Tim Burton work has of lately been transformed into works of beauty and bizarreness’

With the 2006 stage adaptation of Tim Burton's classic movie Edward Scissorhands, a hugely original gothic fairy tale that is simple and universal to tell through music and movement produced by Matthew Bourne who has previously has done adaptations of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker using the romantic score originally composed by Danny Elfman makes the backbone of the piece and the movement and vision by Bourne tells the story of Edward

Tim Burton and his team only gave the rights to Matthew Bourne as they felt he could tell the story in a way that could of not have been captured in film as ballet is movement and mainly based upon touch and with the main character having scissors for hands automatically makes him the ultimate expressing himself through movement rather than words.

In 2007 Burton's earlier work of his poem’s that where written in 1997 have been transformed and adapted for stage for the bizarre but fantastic play, Vivian Grouts Adventure in Another Metropolis which sold out at The Arches Theatre Glasgow and had successful performances in Fringe and The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall before hitting the Citizens' Theatre

"The one woman shows inspired by Burton's poem Voodoo Girl haunts the memory like a strange perfume: clinging, sinister and full of promise" Joyce McMillan the Scotsman

Of late Tim Burton has brought to life of the stage musical Sweeny Todd

Sweeny Todd opened at the Uris Theatre on March 1st 1979 and was written by Hugh Weeler with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It is set in mid 19th century London the story sees Todd sent to prison for a crime he doesn’t commit and returning to have his revenge.

Tim Burton keeps true to his work by turning the stage show in to a gothic and stunning work of art with familiar actors like Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham-Carter along with a new face of Jane Wisener a 4th year music theater student at the RSAMD who plays Todd's daughter Joanna.

Chris McMillan

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg became an international superstar with his 1975 film "Jaws", the film also started the tradition of the summer blockbuster. In 1982 Spielberg made "E.T.The Extra Terrestrial", probably his most famous film, became the highest-grossing film of all time up to that time. E.T. made Spielberg a pioneer of product placement when he infamously placed Reece's Pieces in E.T. He also became a pioneer of big-grossing special effect movies where a large emphasis was put on special effects for the first time on such a massive scale.

Spielberg was the brains behind the film "Gremlins". In 1985 Spielberg made his biggest production effortwith the blockbuster "Back to the Future". He also produced animation/live-action films in the late eighties such as "Who Framed Rodger Rabbit", "Animaniacs", "Pinky and the Brain", "The Land before Time", "Casper" and "The Flinstones" (both of which were live-action films). In 1993 "Jurassic Park" became, for a short period of time, the highest-grossing movie of all time.

Lynsey Rippon

Lee Blakeley

Lee Blakeley was born in Yorkshire, England and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Glasgow University.

His productions include LE NOZZE DI FIGARO for British Youth Opera at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, LA CALISTO at the Royal Scottish Academy; and projects for Opera North, for the English National / National Opera Studios and at the Coliseum; Handel's CLORI, TIRSI E FILENO in London's Heaven nightclub as part of the 2001 Covent Garden Festival .

Productions in 2003/04 include work with David McVicar at the Royal Opera House, at Glyndebourne and he revived CARMEN in Tenerife. He re-staged MANON for Houston Grand Opera and LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN for de Vlaamse Opera.

In 2005 he directed revivals of DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE at the Royal Opera House and FAUST in Monte Carlo, Lille and Trieste. The year ended with a new production of Judith Weir's THE VANISHING BRIDEGROOM for the Royal Scottish Academy.

The new 2005/06 season began with DON GIOVANNI for the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Further productions this season include DIE LUSTIGE WITWE for De Vlaamse Opera in 2006 and the British premiere of Tobias Picker's THERESE RAQUIN at the Linbury Theatre London given by Lee's new company Opera Theatre Europe.

He has directed DIE FLEDERMAUS for Scottish Opera Go Round and A TURN OF THE SCREW in Macedonia. He was Associate Director of AGRIPPINA for the English National Opera.

He directed RUSALKA for Wexford Summer Festival in 2007 and in 2008 a new production of A NIGHT AT THE CHINESE OPERA (Judith Weir) for Scottish Opera

Most recent productions include LOVE OF THREE ORANGES for RSAMD and Scottish Opera in 2009, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC for the Chatelet, Paris, MADAMA BUTTERFLY for Santa Fe Opera and ORFEO ED EURIDICE for Minnesota Opera all in 2010.

Lee Blakeley was awarded a 2007 Churchill Travelling Fellowship to study artist development and philanthropy in the USA.