Meet the team
Tim Rice Lyricist
Tim Rice was born in 1944. He began songwriting in 1965 when the first song he wrote, "That's My Story" (tune as well as words), was recorded by a rock group called the Nightshift, whose career never recovered. That same year he met fellow budding songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber whose musical amibitions were in theatre rather than rock or pop. They teamed up and wrote four musicals together from 1965 to 1978. The first, The Likes Of Us (1965-66) was performed for the first time in 2005 and became available on CD just 40 years after its creation. The other three, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968), Jesus Christ Superstar (1969-1971) and Evita (1976-1978) were more immeadiate successes. Feeling certain that they could never top this lot, the pair went their separate ways in the early 1980s, whereupon ALW immeadiately topped that lot with Cats. Tim Rice then wrote Blondel (1983) with Stephen Oliver, which ran for a year in London. This was followed in 1986 by Chess, in collaboration with ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. Chess had a healty run in the West End, but flopped on Broadway in 1988, the New York Times bloke being particularly forceful in his disapproval. In 1989 Tim translated the famous French musical Starmania (by Michel Berger and Luc Plamondon) into English, which merely resulted in a hit album - in France. In the 1990s he worked primarily and happily with the Disney empire, contributing lyrics to the movies Aladdin (music Alan Menken) and The Lion King (music Elton John and Hans Zimmer) and to the stage shows Beauty and the Beast (Alan Menken) The Lion King and Aida (both Sir Elton). Between Disney commitments he wrote the words for Cliff Richard's theatrical blockbuster Heathcliff (music John Farrar), which toured the UK in 1995-96. He lives in London and Cornwall and on the motorway between the two, has three children, his own cricket team and a knighthood.
Stephen Oliver Composer
Stephen Oliver wrote his first opera at the age of 12 in 1962, encouraged by his father Osbourne Oliver, a keen amateur musician. But it was in 1971 that Oliver launched his career with the staging of his opera The Duchess of Malfi whilst still in his last year at Oxford University. He was a prolific composer, creating works for over 90 theatrical productions (including the epic score for Nicholas Nickleby), and also for every type of media including film (Lady Jane Grey), dance (La Bella Rosina), radio (The Child From The Sea) and television (BBC's Shakespeare Series). Oliver has deservedly been hailed as one of the foremost British composers of opera and music theatre of his generation, with an enormous range of styles from musicals such as Blondel to full scale operas including Tom Jones. His final work, Timon of Athens was performed by the English National Opera in 1991 and described by Oliver as the work he was "made to write". Stephen Oliver died at home of AIDS-related illness on April 29, 1992.
Patrick Wilde Director
Patrick Wilde trained as an actor at the Webber Douglas Academy. On leaving drama school he worked extensively as an actor, parts played including Hamlet, Roderigo in Othello, Marquis da Posa in Schillerís Don Carlos, Doctor Faustus, Michael in Boys in the Band, Amnon in Tirso da Molinaís The Rape of Tamar at the Lyric Hammersmith and Antony in ATCís Antony and Cleopatra. As a director he also concentrated on classics, including the British Premiere of Schillerís Cabal and Love again at the Lyric. He directed shows several times at the Edinburgh Festival, including the cult show Sell Out! by Jonathan Rich in 1987 and 1989. In 1990 he directed a show for The British Council which toured Pakistan and caused a street riot (including gunfire) in Lahore for itís "scandalous" depiction of women in society. In 1993 he wrote and directed his first play, Whatís Wrong With Angry? which opened at the Lost Theatre to six people. Three weeks later it was selling out and subsequently transferred to Oval House, BAC and The Arts in Leicester Square and has toured Europe and played in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Patrick was commissioned to write the film version, Get Real, which won the Edinburgh Film Festival Audience prize, both audience and jury prizes at The Dinard Film Festival and The Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival. He has written another stageplay, You Couldnít Make It Up, and the feature film Things To Do Before Youíre Thirty, as well as several major TV series, including This Life, As If and Monarch Of The Glen. He has also taught drama in several British drama schools, as well as courses for UCLA and NYC. Patrick directed Blondel for the first time in 1987 at the Lost Theatre and has been looking for the opportunity to do it again. He considers The Pleasance to be the ideal space for this new version on which he has collaborated with Tim Rice.
Pete Shaw Producer
Pete Shaw was born in 1966, the last time England won the world cup. A curious fact about Pete is that every school he ever attended has since been demolished - this may just be a coincidence. His career has included Broadcaster on Capital Radio, Deputy Editor of Your Sinclair magazine, author of a slew of technical books, and Marketing Director of a video editing company. He cut his teeth in production in the unglamourous world of corporate marketing, where budgets are big, but the showbiz quota is low. This changed when he teamed up with Patrick Wilde in 2002 to produce Patrick's second play, You Couldn't Make It Up at the Gilded Balloon. The Gilded Balloon burnt down later that year. Pete also produced the London production of You Couldn't Make It Up at the New End Theatre in Hampstead in 2003. According to latest reports, The New End is still standing.
Mathew Pritchard Musical Direction & New Musical Arrangements
Mathew trained at LIPA. Musical direction credits include: Aladdin (Pleasance Theatre, London) The Pierglass (Young Pleasance, Edinburgh), Maggie May, Chicago & The Dancing Years (for Guildford School of Acting) and Richard Stilgoe's Bodywork (for JYT). Mathew taught singing and musical theatre at the Poor School for 2 years where he devised and directed Hey There Good Times for their public season. Other credits include Larkrise (Workhouse Theatre) and Newsrevue (Canal Cafť Theatre). As a performer, Mathew appeared in 16 Gobs at the King's Head, Where You Are (Unity Theatre) and Marry Me a Little (the Little People). His own musical, Everybody Loves Jason was a recent finalist for the Cardiff Festival of Musical Theatre and workshopped at the Venue, London.
Leontine Ruette Associate Producer
Lee has worked as an executive and producer in film and television for twenty years. Her credits include Chromophobia (2004, a feature film), Things to Do Before You're Thirty (2003, a feature film), Ten Minutes Older (2002/2003, a compilation of ten minute films on the theme of time by leading international independent film directors), Saving Grace, (2001, a feature film), How Do You Want Me? (2000, a comedy drama for BBC2), Rosebud (a film for the British Institute), Work (a play for Channel 4), The Bearskin - An Urban Fairytale (an Anglo-Portuguese co-production for British Screen, Channel 4 and the Institute of Portuguese Cinema and The Zip (a short film for British Screen and Channel 4). She has worked as an executive for BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. This is her first foray into theatrical production.
Stewart Nicholls Musical Staging
Stewart has just co-ordinated Lunch With Christine and Neil Hamilton at the Edinburgh Festival! Immediately prior to that, he directed and choreographed Beatlemania at the Gothenburg Opera House in Sweden, before which he directed and choreographed South Pacific (starring Kim Medcalf, Maria Ewing, Alan Opie and Les Dennis) at Birmingham Symphony Hall with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The production was also broadcast by BBC Radio Two on Christmas Day 2005. He has recently choreographed: Maggie May (GSA Conservatoire, Guildford) and Kelly Brook’s tap-routine for a new short film In the Mood. Stewart has also directed and choreographed: Into Thin Air! (starring Wayne Sleep) at the New Players Theatre, and Over My Shoulder, at The Wyndhams Theatre, (after playing at Jermyn Street Theatre, The Mill at Sonning, Greenwich Theatre, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford and Theatre Royal, Windsor). The show was also recorded for CD. He has also directed and choreographed: Happy As A Sandbag (GSA Conservatoire, Guildford), Carousel (St David’s Hall, Cardiff) and the première of Charles Hart’s Love Songs (Bridewell Theatre, London). Stewart is a leading archivist of British Musical Theatre: directing and choreographing Love on the Dole, Popkiss and Noël Coward’s Sail Away (his restored version is published by Warner/Chappell Music). In 2000 he started an ongoing project with the Theatre Museum, Covent Garden, directing and choreographing ‘Forgotten British Musicals’ including: A Girl Called Jo (for which he revised the script), Follow That Girl, Zip Goes A Million, Vanity Fair, The Amazons (which he also restored), Grab Me A Gondola and Ann Veronica. He co produced CD’s of many of these productions, including The Amazons which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Stewart has lectured on the history, direction and choreography of Musical Theatre, is archivist for David Heneker and Julian Slade, is an Honorary member of the Noël Coward Society and an Honorary Theatre Associate of Mercury Musical Developments. Stewart has written sleeve notes for various CD’s and the editorial for four volumes of music books entitled Legendary Ladies of Broadway.
Jason Denvir Set Designer
Trained at Wimbledon School of Art under Malcolm Pride and has designed for stage, screen, museums, and exhibitions in UK, Japan, Singapore, and New York. His recent Designs include Last Call for Nefertiti; Arts Interactive Films, The Little Mermaid; Kazzum at Arts Depot, Aladdin; Pleasance Islington, The Countess; Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and The Criterion Theatre, Minor Irritations; Pleasance Edinburgh, Pinocchio; Kazzum at Arts Depot, Inside Out; RADA, Beyond the Door; Simane Regional Development Foundation, Huko Topia, Tokyo, Japan, Hardcore and New Boy; Pleasance Edinburgh and Islington for Guy Chapman Productions, Mother Goose, A Song at Twilight, Carousel, Cinderella, Annie, Oklahoma!, Mistress of the Inn and The Innocents; all for Perth Theatre, Into The Woods, The Threepenny Opera, Tin Pan Ali, Guys and Dolls, Oliver!; all for The National Youth Music Theatre, Just Remember 2 Things; The Queens Theatre, Barnstaple, Barber of Seville; European Chamber Opera, Robin Hood; Polka Theatre. Jason also lectures at Middlesex University, New York University, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and The City Literary Institute.
Tracy Waller Costume Designer
Tracy trained in Theatre Design at Croydon College. Since 1999 she has worked with numerous companies, in many venues. She spent 6 years as a resident designer with Horla . Other works include You Couldn't Make It Up (The Wilde Justice Company) in Edinburgh and London, and a season with Tour De Force throughout Europe. Tracy also works designing and creating puppets and works within props and costume construction for major commercial promotions.
James Hamilton Lighting Designer
James trained in Theatre Design at Croydon College. On leaving he has worked and travelled throughout the world lighting theatre and live events designing for a wide variety of projects from dance to Formula One car launches. James’ Theatre background includes working for the Wild Justice Theatre company on You Couldn’t Make It Up at the Edinburgh Festival.
Mark Dunne Sound Designer
Mark was recently invited to design the sound for Tony Award winning composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown’s second run of concerts at the New Players Theatre, having originally designed the first run in 2004. Prior to this, he made his West End debut Sound Design for the musical Behind The Iron Mask (Duchess Theatre). Other design work includes Purlie (Bridewell Theatre), Burleigh Grimes (Bridewell Theatre), Notes From New York (Donmar Warehouse and Gala Production at Trafalgar Studios), and the workshop productions of Debbie Does Dallas (Old Fire Station, Oxford) and When Harry Met Barry (The Venue). Previously he worked as an operator on various West End Productions including Umoja, Closer To Heaven and Starlight Express. He has also worked with a wide range of artists from Sting to José Carreras.
Michael Roulston Assistant Musical Director
Michael trained at Middlesex University in Music & Performing Arts. From 1995 to 2000 he was half of Peter & Mike, a double act on TV and live comedy circuits. Since then, his credits as Musical Director and Assistant MD include Ruthless at Stratford Circus; When Harry Met Barry Upstairs at the Gatehouse; True or Falsetto? at the Pleasance, Edinburgh Fringe ‘02; Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens at the Albany, London and Edinburgh; The Very Worst of Varla-Jean Merman at Soho Theatre; Mack & Mabel and The Wizard of Oz at the Tower, Islington; Starting Here, Starting Now at the New End, Hampstead; Forever Plaid at Edinburgh Fringe ‘99 and on tour; Jermyn St. Jewels at Jermyn Street Theatre; Jack and The Beanstalk at The Empire, Consett; Sleeping Beauty in Radlett, Herts; I Pagliacci at Greenwich Theatre and The Magic Flute at the Cochrane and touring for Pocket Opera Company. Gutenberg! The Musical! at Jermyn Street. Also, Confessions of A Paralysed Porn Star and Dusty Limits is Heartless both Edinburgh ‘06. His acting/MD credits include Sophie Tuckers One Night Stand at The King’s Head, Islington Edinburgh ’06 and touring; When Florence Met Isadora at the Rosemary Branch, Islington; three productions with Time Of Our Lives Theatre; You've Never Had It So Good!, England Swings and The Best of Times all touring; Jonathan Kydd’s The Kondos at Jermyn Street; Over The Rainbow and Sister Mary Pops In, at The New End, Hampstead. Michael is a sought-after cabaret accompanist, regularly appearing around town with personalities such as Paul L. Martin, Dusty Limits and Valerie Cutko, with whom he also is currently writing a new musical play He also plays jazz, with renowned bass player Tom Mansi.
Louise Gray-Murray Public Relations
Louise is a partner at Bubble & Squeak, a PR and marketing communications agency with clients primarily in the broadcast (film and TV), production, post-production, CG and graphics industries as well as music design and new media. The Bubble & Squeak UK team is based in Central London and currently has five members of staff who have a wide range of mainstream media trade, business and consumer press experience. In 2002 the company launched offices in Boston and LA. Louise joined Bubble & Squeak in February 2003 from Granada TV where she worked as a producer on a range of projects. Prior to that Louise was a producer at the Moving Picture Company in both the commercials and film departments.
Keith Ducklin Fight Choreographer
Keith Ducklin divides his energies between acting and fight directing. After ten years as a founder member of the Royal Armouries Museum's actors' company, he returned to mainstream acting and has since appeared in, Henry IV Parts I & II (Principal Theatre Company) Romeo and Juliet (Young Shakespeare Company), Lady Windermere's Fan (Landor Theatre) and Lion of Punjab (Watermans Art Centre). Recent TV/ film includes The Explode Trilogy (Fantom Films), Halfway Hotel (Stonebeat Productions), Provocation (Legal Network), Gestures (Gestures Films) and In Your Dreams (Magnet Films). He has co-authored the best selling book Sword Fighting: A Manual for Actors and Directors and has just completed filming the first in a series of instructional DVDs on stage combat techniques.