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The Stage 100 2019: 51-60

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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51. Sam Mendes and Caro Newling

Sam Mendes and Caro Newling. Photos: Matt Holyoak
Sam Mendes and Caro Newling. Photos: Matt Holyoak

Neal Street Productions

The success of 2017’s standout new play, The Ferryman [1], continued in 2018, as the show – co-produced by Mendes and Newling’s Neal Street Productions – picked up three Oliviers [2]: best director for Mendes, best actress for Laura Donnelly and the new play prize for writer Jez Butterworth. Elsewhere, Neal Street co-produced another Mendes-directed success, The Lehman Trilogy [3] at the National Theatre, which transfers to New York this year before returning to the West End. Last year: 38

52. Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov

Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov. Photo: Alex Brenner

PIPA

Parents and Carers in Performing Arts has been at the forefront of improving working conditions for carers in the industry, driven by its founders Raine and Ehnold-Danailov. The organisation released the PIPA Best Practice Charter [4] this year and launched a ‘game-changing’ childcare scheme. Lisa McGrillis, Hadley Fraser and Rufus Norris signed up as ambassadors in 2018. Last year: 88

53. David Ian

David Ian. Photo: BBC/Trevor Leighton

Producer

A former number one in The Stage 100, Ian continued to take his popular big-name shows around the UK and further afield. In 2018, these included co-productions of Annie and Chicago in the West End and on tour. Other UK touring shows included Quartet and Sunset Boulevard. Internationally there, was Evita, The Sound of Music and The Bodyguard. A recent head-turner was transforming London’s Hippodrome stage into a strip club with Magic Mike Live, adapted into a stage show from the films. Last year: 25

Magic Mike Live review at London Hippodrome – ‘a money-maker shaking hit’ [5]

54. David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers 

Dafydd Rogers and David Pugh. Photo: Phil Treagus
Dafydd Rogers and David Pugh. Photo: Phil Treagus

Producers

The producing team brought out a few old favourites early in the year with a tour of Art, starring Nigel Havers, and Emma Rice’s Brief Encounter [6] at the Empire Cinema in London’s West End. The Band [7], the pair’s collaboration with Tim Firth and Gary Barlow using Take That’s music, opened in 2017. It has been box office gold on tour and runs until March 2019 including a stint at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket. Last year: 44

55. Jenny Sealey

Jenny Sealey. Photo: Micha Theiner

Graeae

Sealey, artistic director of Graeae, continues to be a force for change and a strong champion of D/deaf and disabled theatremakers. In 2018, she directed the extraordinary work This Is Not for You at the Greenwich Docklands Festival [8] with 24 disabled war veterans, and also And Others at the National Theatre, with the voices of pioneering women lost to history put on stage alongside those of D/deaf and disabled women today. Last year also marked a celebration of her theatre company with the publication of Reasons to Be Graeae: A Work in Progress, a history of the company, extracts from shows and memories from collaborators. Last year: 48

56. Nadia Fall

Nadia Fall. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
Nadia Fall. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Theatre Royal Stratford East

After her appointment the previous year, 2018 marked Fall’s first season as artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, and a confident one it was too.

Read our interview with Nadia Fall [9]

Her reign, in which she is promising a “theatrical revolution” in Stratford, opened on stage in September with The Village [10] and was followed by The Wolves [11], both of which were well received by critics. Since her arrival, the theatre has had a facelift and Fall has overseen a significant shake-up behind the scenes. She hopes the venue and her programming speak to young audiences – anyone under 25 can buy a ticket for £10 – and in doing so is already stamping her mark on the venue. Last year: 82

57. Phyllida Lloyd

Phyllida Lloyd. Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Director

Best known for Mamma Mia!, Lloyd is a sure hand on the tiller when it comes to steering a West End hit, and Tina, the musical about the life story of pop star Tina Turner, was no different.

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical review at Aldwych Theatre, London – ‘a belting performance from Adrienne Warren’ [12]

The production saw her nominated for best director at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and the show proved a sell-out, extending to this July. Lloyd has continued to speak out against the cuts to the arts in education and last year recordings of her female Shakespeare trilogy, staged at the Donmar Warehouse [13], were made available to schools. She also won the chair award for the WOW Women in Creative Industries Awards at the Southbank Centre. New Entry

58. Timothy Sheader and William Village 

William Village and Timothy Sheader. Photo: Alex Brenner
William Village and Timothy Sheader. Photo: Alex Brenner

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

After a slightly lukewarm 2017, it has been a strong year for Sheader and Village at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. On stage successes came in the form of a revival of Little Shop of Horrors [14] and The Turn of the Screw, its first collaboration with English National Opera. Its production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which comes to the Barbican this year, played a season at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The Turn of the Screw review at Open Air Theatre, London – ‘palpable dramatic charge’ [15]

The venue opened new rehearsal studios, meaning its own productions can rehearse there and it can hire them out. All of this work was done with more than 90% of the financing from its own reserves. New entry

59. Fiona Allan

Fiona Allan. Photo: Pamela Raith
Fiona Allan. Photo: Pamela Raith

Birmingham Hippodrome

It has been a solid year for the artistic director and chief executive of Birmingham Hippodrome [16], which culminated in the Arts and Culture award at the Birmingham Awards for work on its main stage and in the Patrick Studio. Touring shows that brought in the punters included Matilda and Wicked. The award also highlighted its work with the wider community. As president of UK Theatre, Allan didn’t shy away from the big issues. In the wake of the #MeToo and #NoGreyAreas campaigns, she told her own story of harassment [17] and called on the industry to put its house in order. Last year: 40

60. Tamara Rojo

Tamara Rojo. Photo: Jeff Gilbert

English National Ballet

ENB continues to thrill under artistic director Rojo [18], with a programme that questions traditions: a version of Giselle, with Akram Khan, re-imagined the title character as a refugee. She had to defend her relationship with an ENB dancer and faced criticism of the company’s culture, with unnamed dancers saying they felt pressured into working while injured. On stage, the quality was good with standouts including Voices of America [19] and The Sleeping Beauty [20]. This year heralds a move into new headquarters and Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella in-the-round. Last year: 61

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