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The Stage 100 2019: 31-40

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The Stage 100, in association with Spektrix, is intended to reflect who are the 100 most influential people working in the theatre and performing arts industry. It is considered from the point of view of The Stage, as a trade publication, and so focuses both on theatre as a business and an art form. Inclusion within the list and ranking is weighted towards achievements in the past 12 months, but also takes into account continuous achievement. We also aim to have a list that – as much as is possible and plausible – reflects the astonishing breadth of the theatre industry. However, we do not weight the list to attempt to make it gender-balanced or ethnically diverse: we believe the list should aim to reflect how the theatre and performing arts industry is, not what it aims to be, or we would like it to be.

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31. Emma Rice

Emma Rice. Photo: Steve Tanner

Wise Children

It can’t have been easy for Rice to bounce back after the Shakespeare’s Globe debacle, but last year she did, with her new company, Wise Children, finally swinging into action. Its debut was a production of the same name, based on Angela Carter’s novel, at the Old Vic in London. The Stage called it a return to “planet Rice”, labelling it “one huge love letter to theatre”. Rice’s charming Brief Encounter, made with her former company Kneehigh, also found its way back to the West End in 2018. Last year: 30

32. Jamie Lloyd

Jamie Lloyd. Photo: Marc Brenner
Jamie Lloyd. Photo: Marc Brenner


After a quiet year, Lloyd was back with a bang in 2018. At the Harold Pinter Theatre, he celebrated the late playwright with a season of his short plays, featuring some of the best actors in the country. Those taking part in the six-month event, which continues into 2019, include Janie Dee, Gary Kemp, Phil Davis and John Simm – and Lee Evans, who came out of retirement especially. All of it is testament to the respect Lloyd commands in the industry. This year, he concludes the season with a production of Betrayal starring Tom Hiddleston. New entry

Pinter Three and Pinter Four starring Tamsin Greig, Keith Allen and Meera Syal – review round-up

33. David Byrne

David Byrne. Photo: Jack Sallabank
David Byrne. Photo: Jack Sallabank

New Diorama Theatre

Byrne is one of theatre’s radical thinkers and, in 2018, the New Diorama rewrote the fringe programming model. The number of companies it programmes per year has been reduced from about 30 to seven. Each receives a £10,000 commission and takes a 50/50 box office split of profits above a certain level. He has worked with producer Underbelly to take emerging companies’ shows to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Productions at the New Diorama were equally bold, including the first bilingual production of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis. Last year: 79

34. Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis, Nick Salmon

Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis, Nick Salmon. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Playful Productions

Playful’s varied slate of work ranged from Kinky Boots in London and on tour to the West End transfer of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Imperium. Other productions included Quiz and The Moderate Soprano. The company is also general manager of several major musicals including Wicked in the West End and Dirty Dancing on tour. Last year: 31

35. David Jubb

David Jubb

Battersea Arts Centre

It was a momentous year for Jubb, as his beloved venue, Battersea Arts Centre, reopened its Grand Hall after it was ravaged by fire in 2015. It now embraces the after-effects of the devastation, with the hall incorporating elements of the fire damage into its new look. Jubb took it all in his stride, reopening with the aptly named Phoenix Season. It opened with Gecko’s Missing, the show that was midway through its run in the Grand Hall when the blaze broke out, and Bryony Kimmings’ new show I’m a Phoenix, Bitch. Jubb announced his departure in 2018, but he leaves behind a superb legacy. Last year: 78

BAC is back: How Battersea Arts Centre rose from the ashes of a devastating fire to renew its mission

36. Michelle Terry

Michelle Terry. Photo: Shakespeare's Globe/Sarah Lee
Michelle Terry. Photo: Shakespeare’s Globe/Sarah Lee

Shakespeare’s Globe

Terry was faced with something of an unenviable task taking the lead at Shakespeare’s Globe after Emma Rice. But she wasted no time in putting her stamp on the company, stating she wanted to “dismantle the triangle of hierarchy that is part of our culture, where there is too much responsibility on one person”. She announced a season that included taking on the title role of Hamlet herself, and playing Lady Macbeth alongside real-life husband Paul Ready in Macbeth, which received reviews ranging from two to five stars. It’s still early days though, and this year Emilia transfers to the West End. Last year: 60

37. Matthew Warchus and Kate Varah

Kate Varah and Matthew Warchus. Photo: Jeff Spicer
Kate Varah and Matthew Warchus. Photo: Jeff Spicer

Old Vic, London

In 2018, Old Vic executive director Varah and artistic director Warchus tried to shake off the troubles of 2017, when the theatre was rocked by the Kevin Spacey allegations. The venue marked its 200th birthday. Productions ranged from Fanny and Alexander to an adaptation of A Monster Calls, as well as hip-hop show Sylvia, which was plagued with problems, but ultimately proved, as Warchus said, “triumph over adversity”. Varah spearheaded the Guardians Programme to safeguard against workplace harassment. Last year: 36

The Old Vic Theatre at 200: a rich history peppered with periods of crisis

38. David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree

David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree

Selladoor Worldwide

Perhaps no company enjoyed more rapid growth in 2018 than Selladoor Worldwide, which announced a range of remarkable developments, including helping to bring Blackpool’s endangered Pavilion Theatre back into use. The company also launched a new-writing arm, took on the management of two theatres in North Devon and created pantomime company Prime Pantos. It also expanded its international reach, while its UK productions included Flashdance the Musical, Spamalot and The Wizard of Oz. Selladoor has quickly become a significant player. New entry

39. Tom Morris and Emma Stenning

Tom Morris and Emma Stenning. Photo: Jon Craig

Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic reopened in 2018, following a magnificent £26 million renovation project. It was overseen by artistic director Morris and chief executive Stenning, who announced her departure last year. The first show after the reopening was Touching the Void, directed by Morris, which won rave reviews. In addition, BOV teamed up with Leicester Curve, and the Lowry in Salford on the Naseem Khan Commissions programme, an initiative to create and tour new work by artists of colour. Last year: 64

40. Josie Rourke and Kate Pakenham

Josie Rourke and Kate Pakenham. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Donmar Warehouse

Artistic director Rourke announced that she will depart this year and executive producer Pakenham stepped down from the theatre in June 2018. But that didn’t stop the duo – the first female partnership to run a London theatre – programming some impressive work, including Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden in Measure for Measure. An adaptation of Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie marked the centenary of the author’s birth and the year ended on a high note with the superb Sweat by Lynn Nottage. Last year: 37

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