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The Stage 100 2018: Theatre’s most influential (91-100)

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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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91 Alan Lane

Alan Lane

Slung Low, Leeds

Lane is artistic director and co-founder of Leeds-based Slung Low. During Hull’s spectacular year as UK City of Culture, the theatre company made adventurous work in the region, including the BBC commission Flood, a year-long “extraordinary floating drama” in two parts. The theatre company’s Hub space, where Lane ensures all workers including himself receive the same wage, has continued to run community events and shows throughout the year. Slung Low ended 2017 with The Siege of Christmas family show at Manchester’s Contact Theatre. New entry

Read our interview with Alan Lane

92 Jamie Wilson

Jamie Wilson. Photo: Lisa Maria Dawson
Jamie Wilson. Photo: Lisa Maria Dawson


At the age of just 29, Wilson has produced more than 50 shows in the UK and internationally. Work in the past year includes Nativity! The Musical, which returns for a second UK tour in 2018, and Crazy for You, which starred Tom Chambers. Wilson also produced the UK tour of Sister Act, which ran from August 2016 to September 2017. An advocate for new musicals, Wilson has announced a musical adaptation of An Officer and a Gentleman, which will open at Leicester’s Curve in 2018 before touring. New entry

Read our interview with Jamie Wilson

93 Kully Thiarai

Kully Thiarai. Photo: Alex and Janet Durasow

National Theatre Wales

Having joined National Theatre Wales as artistic director in May 2016, Thiarai announced her first full season in November 2017. This will include a month-long festival to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS in 2018. The season features a co-production of Sisters with Junoon, created by Thiarai and other female artists of Indian heritage. Important work at NTW in 2017 included We’re Still Here at Byass Works, about the Port Talbot steelworks crisis, and a collaboration with the residents of Rhyl called Lifted by Beauty: Adventures in Dreaming. Last year: 72

94 Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie Sells

Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie Sells

Musical theatre writers

The Feeling’s Gillespie Sells and screenwriter MacRae created one of the feel-good productions of the year: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. The musical, which tells the story of a 16-year-old drag queen, premiered in Sheffield before transferring to the Apollo in London’s West End. Marking Gillespie Sells’ theatre debut, the show led to him winning best composer at The Stage Debut Awards 2017. It went on to win two UK
Theatre Awards. New entry

Dan Gillespie Sells: ‘Some stories get told less often – they’re the ones I’m interested in’

95 Paul Miller

Orange Tree artistic director Paul Miller. Photo: Richard Davenport

Orange Tree Theatre, London

Despite losing its Arts Council England funding on the day Miller started as artistic director in 2014, the Orange Tree Theatre has flourished. London’s only permanent in-the-round theatre is shortlisted for fringe theatre of the year in The Stage Awards 2018. Work in 2017 included Ned Bennett’s staging of An Octaroon, which will transfer to the National Theatre, Clare McIntyre’s Low Level Panic, and Roland Schimmel­pfennig’s experi­mental Winter Solstice. Other works include revivals of George Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance and David Storey’s The March on Russia, as well as the UK premiere of Lot Vekemans’ Poison. New entry

96 Selina Thompson

Selina Thompson won The Stage Edinburgh Award for her show Salt. Photo: Alex Brenner
Selina Thompson won The Stage Edinburgh Award for her show Salt. Photo: Alex Brenner


In February 2016, Thompson boarded a cargo ship and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle, from the UK via Ghana to Jamaica and back. This resulted in her solo show Salt, which explores grief, ancestry, colonialism and forgetting. Salt took the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by storm, winning The Stage Edinburgh Award, the Total Theatre Award for experimentation, innovation and playing with form, and the Filipa Braganca Award for best female solo performance. Thompson also spoke frankly and honestly about her experiences of racism at the fringe. New entry

Salt review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘moving, personal journey’

97 Bunny Christie

Bunny Christie. Photo: Craig Sugden
Bunny Christie. Photo: Craig Sugden


In a particularly busy year, Christie worked her design magic on major shows in London, including Ink by James Graham and Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle. Her work on these, as well as 2016’s The Red Barn, earned her the award for best design at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards. People, Places and Things, which she designed, opened in New York, while an international tour of A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, featuring her work, continued. In 2018 she will design Company, starring Rosalie Craig, and Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre. New entry

98 Tim Wilson, Mat Burt and Andy George

Vault Festival directors Tim Wilson, Mat Burt and Andy George
Vault Festival directors Tim Wilson, Mat Burt and Andy George

Vault Festival, London

Wilson is creative producer and founder, Burt creative producer and George head of production at the Heritage Arts Company, which stages London’s Vault Festival. With more than 200 events over six weeks, it is now one of London’s most significant arts festivals. Highlights from the 2017 event included an immersive Great Gatsby and James Rowland’s A Hundred Different Words for Love. Ticket sales for the festival, which runs in the Vaults beneath London Waterloo station, totalled 47,000 – its most successful year to date. New entry

99 Joseph Houston, William Whelton and Katy Lipson

Joseph Houston, William Whelton and Katy Lipson
Executive producer William Whelton, producer Katy Lipson and artistic director and programmer Joseph Houston, Photo: Hope Mill Theatre

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

The pairing of producer Lipson’s Aria Entertainment and the Hope Mill (run by Houston and Whelton) has been very fruitful. In 2017, they teamed up for Hair, which transferred to the Vaults in London. Their production of Yank! also went to London, as will Pippin, which is coming to Southwark Playhouse. They also staged the European premiere of musical Little Women in 2017. New entry

Read Katy Lipson’s top tips for producers

Hope Mill Theatre: a Manchester musical powerhouse

100 Jay Miller

Jay Miller
Jay Miller

The Yard Theatre, London

Miller is artistic director of the Yard Theatre, which he founded five years ago. Housed in an empty warehouse, it has since become an increasingly important venue, winning the 2017 Empty Space Peter Brook Award for “telling exhilarating contemporary stories in contemporary ways”. Highlights of 2017 include hit romance This Beautiful Future, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by National Youth Theatre, and Removal Men, a play addressing the refugee crisis. The Hackney venue has also continuously engaged with young people in its community through a variety of projects. New entry

Shaping This Beautiful Future, the Yard Theatre’s hit post-Brexit romance

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