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The Stage 100 2018: Theatre’s most influential (61-70)

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The Stage 100 is the definitive list of theatre’s most influential people and partnerships. Each year, a crack team of leading industry figures is polled before senior editorial figures at The Stage consider business success, vision and ability to affect change for the better. Rankings are based on ongoing success, weighted towards achievements in the past 12 months. In terms of diversity, the list aims to reflect the way the theatre and performing arts industry is, not what it aims to be, nor what The Stage would like it to be.

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61 Tamara Rojo

Tamara Rojo
Tamara Rojo. Photo: Jeff Gilbert

English National Ballet

Since being appointed a CBE in 2016, the Spanish dancer and head of ENB has spread her influence well beyond her own company, especially as a staunch advocate for the arts and arts education. Rojo is a patron of the Ipswich-based DanceEast and recently joined the board of arts lobbying organisation the Creative Industries Federation. Within ENB, she continues to produce work that pushes the boundaries of the form, and picked up an Olivier award last year for expanding the ballet repertoire with a programme championing female choreographers, She Said, and Akram Khan’s version of Giselle. Last year: 69

Read our interview with Tamara Rojo

62 Amber Riley

Amber Riley
Amber Riley at The Stage Debut Awards. Photo: Alex Brenner


Despite only making her West End debut little over a year ago in Dreamgirls, American performer Riley has become a major name in musical theatre in the UK, thanks to her Olivier-winning performance as Effie White in the show. Riley, who prior to her London debut was best known for her part in the US musical TV show Glee, won best actress in a musical for Dreamgirls, in which she performed for a year. She also uses her influential voice to highlight issues she feels are important, speaking out about areas including body image in the industry, diversity and inspiring young black girls to become musical theatre performers. New entry

Dreamgirls’ Amber Riley: ‘I’m giving young black girls permission to be in musicals’

63 Drew McOnie

Drew McOnie. Photo: Gabriel Mokake
Drew McOnie. Photo: Gabriel Mokake


McOnie made a marked shift into directing in 2017, taking both the directorial and choreographic reins of a new production of On the Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and The Wild Party at the Other Palace. Across the pond, he is also directing and choreographing a major new stage adaptation of King Kong, which is due to open on Broadway in the autumn. Before then, his staging of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom hits the West End, having transferred from West Yorkshire PlayhouseLast year: 81

Read our interview with Drew McOnie

64 Tom Morris and Emma Stenning

Tom Morris and Emma Stenning. Photo: Geraint Lewis
Tom Morris and Emma Stenning. Photo: Geraint Lewis

Bristol Old Vic

As Bristol Old Vic approaches the end of its six-year redevelopment, artistic director Morris and chief executive Stenning are rightly looking to how theatre can thrive in a landscape in which public funding, particularly at a local level, is ever more sparse. Facilities in the revamped building have been designed to create additional income for the theatre, which also presented a strong artistic programme in 2016, its 250th-anniversary year. Morris’ production of new musical The Grinning Man secured a West End transfer, as did Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Last year: 62

65 Katie Mitchell

katie mitchell
Katie Mitchell. Photo: Stephen Cummiskey


Mitchell directed one of 2017’s standout new plays at the Royal Court, Alice Birch’s Anatomy of a Suicide. Now a mainstay on the European directing circuit, Mitchell’s name still carries significant weight in British theatre, as well as in opera. Last year saw her revive her 2016 production of Lucia Di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House, where she is slated to create a new work in 2018 – Lessons in Love and Violence – an opera by composer George Benjamin and playwright Martin Crimp. New entry

Read our interview with Katie Mitchell

66 David Greig

David Greig
David-Greig. Photo: Aly Wight

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Well into his second year in charge of the Royal Lyceum, Greig is amassing consistently good notices for his artistic programming, and won three awards at last year’s Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland, including for Zinnie Harris’ A Number. Greig’s adaptation of The Suppliant Women concluded a successful UK tour, while 2018 will see the start of a major 10-year play cycle, created by the Lyceum in partnership with several other venues, exploring the UK’s changing relationship with Europe. Last year: 61

Edinburgh Lyceum amasses 15 nods ahead of Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland

67 Sean Holmes and Sian Alexander

Sean Holmes and Sian Alexander
Sean Holmes (photo: Helen Maybanks) and Sian Alexander

Lyric Hammersmith, London

The duo behind the Lyric Hammersmith have balanced strong artistic work with an effort to foster community relationships and support arts education. On stage, Simon Stephens’ reworking of The Seagull was a fresh take on a classic, while the theatre explored themes of morality in Terror and subverted age stereotypes in Seventeen. The Lyric launched a master’s degree in creative performance with London South Bank University and set up a partnership with local schools. Last year: 67

68 Indhu Rubasingham

Indhu Rubasingham
Indhu Rubasingham. Photo: Mark Douet

Tricycle Theatre, London

The Tricycle remains closed while it undergoes a major £5.5 million transformation. It will reopen in the spring with a bigger auditorium and revamped facilities – and an expanding creative learning programme. In the past 12 months, Rubasingham directed Lindsey Ferrentino’s technologically impressive Ugly Lies the Bone at the National Theatre. She has also secured the Tricycle’s first co-production with the National, The Great Wave by Francis Turnly, which opens in the spring. Rubasingham will also direct the US transfer of Handbagged in Washington DC. Last year: 29

Read our interview with Indhu Rubasingham

69 Rachel O’Riordan

Rachel O’Riordan
Rachel O’Riordan. Photo: Kirsten McTernan

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

One of the leading producing houses in Wales, the Sherman Theatre has had a particularly exciting year on stage. O’Riordan’s fruitful partnership with playwright Gary Owen began with Iphigenia in Splott, a runaway success, in 2015. The past year has seen two more memorable productions written by Owen and directed by O’Riordan: Killology and an adaptation of The Cherry Orchard. In 2017, the Sherman also staged the world premiere of a Welsh-language opera, demonstrating its commitment to nurturing artists working in Welsh. New entry

Read our interview with Rachel O’Riordan

The Cherry Orchard review at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff – ‘gently heartbreaking’

70 Michael Longhurst

Michael Longhurst
Michael Longhurst. Photo: Marc Brenner


The director continued to be prolific in 2017. Longhurst’s production of Caroline, Or Change at Chichester Festival Theatre – starring the inimitable Sharon D Clarke – was one of the most talked about musicals of the year. It is now bound for London, and a run at Hampstead Theatre beckons in 2018, where Longhurst also directed Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Gloria to much acclaim. He finished the year with Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse, starring James Norton and Imogen Poots, topping off a strong 12 months. Last year: 83

Read our interview with Michael Longhurst

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