Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Stage 100 2019: 61-70

by -

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.

Top 5 6-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 Analysis

61. Dawn Walton

Photo: The Other Richard

Eclipse Theatre Company

Walton, the founder and artistic director of black-led touring company Eclipse, last year embarked on one of her most ambitious projects yet, Revolution Mix. Made up of seven new touring productions, it will deliver black British plays to regional theatres, plus a host of radio dramas, film work and events. Inspired by the mantra of “doing not talking”, its first production, Black Men Walking, toured the UK to near sold-out audiences, and shattered preconceptions around selling black work. Walton also announced a £10,000 award for black independent artists at the Edinburgh Fringe, in partnership with Summerhall. New entry

Eclipse Theatre: the UK company leading a black theatre movement across Europe

62. Michael Longhurst and Henny Finch

Photos: Mark Brenner/Amanda Taylor

Donmar Warehouse

The artistic director and executive producer designates of London’s Donmar Warehouse, Longhurst and Finch are poised to take on two of theatre’s biggest jobs in 2019. Yet they both had a busy year in waiting. Longhurst shepherded his production of Caroline, Or Change to Hampstead Theatre ahead of a West End transfer, while his revival of Amadeus enjoyed a second run at the National Theatre. Meanwhile, as executive director of Hofesh Shechter Company, Finch oversaw a year that included the large-scale piece East Wall at the Tower of London. Last year: 70 and 77

Steven Atkinson: Michael Longhurst’s appointment at the Donmar is a triumph for working-class directors

63. Michele Taylor

Ramps on the Moon

Taylor is director for change at disabled theatre consortium Ramps on the Moon, as well as a board member of UK Theatre. Ramps has continued to challenge the stories told about disabled people, staging annual integrated productions that tour to partner venues, and is supported by Graeae. Last year, it produced an acclaimed revival of Our Country’s Good. Taylor raises awareness of language and unconscious bias in the theatre and says it is not about access, inclusion or compliance, but about making UK theatre “the richest, most exciting, most innovative it can possibly be – and it can’t be that without disabled people’s contribution”. New entry

Michele Taylor: Touring is the best arena to prove disability is not a niche

64. Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood

Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood inside the purple cow event space. Photo: David Jensen
Photo: David Jensen


Underbelly celebrated 10 years of the big purple cow’s annual residency on the South Bank in 2018 with a bumper programme, highlights of which included Circus Abyssinia’s Ethiopian Dreams and the bathtime-themed acrobatic delight Soap. In Edinburgh, It hosted more than 200 productions, selling more than 400,000 tickets across the month. Its new Untapped Award, delivered with the New Diorama, supported companies that achieved significant success at the Edinburgh Fringe including Breach Theatre, Nouveau Riche and ThisEgg. It will return in 2019. Last year: 52

Underbelly’s Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam: ‘The fringe needs large venues. We take the risk on big shows’

65. Tamara Harvey

Theatr Clwyd

It felt like 2018 was the year that Harvey, artistic director of Theatr Clwyd since 2015, hit her stride, with programming that received national recognition. Highlights included Chris Bush and Matthew Winkworth’s UK Theatre award-winning musical The Assassination of Katie Hopkins and Harvey’s own production of Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling, which transferred to the National Theatre and moves into the West End this month. Harvey also set her sights on a £30 million revamp of the North Wales theatre. New entry

Tamara Harvey: ‘I want Theatr Clwyd to become a home for writers’

66. Jackie Wylie

Photo: Niall Walker

National Theatre of Scotland

Last year saw the culmination of a three-year collaboration between National Theatre of Scotland, Perth Theatre and the First World War project 14-18 NOW on The 306, a three-part piece about the 306 soldiers shot for desertion. After 2016’s Dawn and 2017’s Day came Dusk, marking the anniversary of the Armistice. NTS also took work to Trinidad, South Carolina and Brazil, and worked with seven international companies to create Edinburgh Fringe shows, including the Fringe First-winning First Snow/Premiere Neige with Quebecois companies Hotel-Motel and Theatre PAP. Last year: 75

Jackie Wylie: ‘The National Theatre of Scotland has an incredible responsibility to reach every person in Scotland’

67. Daniel Kramer and Stuart Murphy

Photo: Tristram Kenton

English National Opera

Kramer approaches his third year as artistic director of English National Opera alongside the new chief executive, Stuart Murphy, who joined in April. Kramer made an underwhelming directorial debut in February with La Traviata, but made up for it with a five-star rendition of Britten’s War Requiem, staged to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Elsewhere, successes included collaborations such as The Turn of the Screw, with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. New entry

Read our interview with Daniel Kramer

68. Daniel Evans and Rachel Tackley

Rachel Tackley and Daniel Evans. Photo: Tobias Key
Rachel Tackley and Daniel Evans. Photo: Tobias Key

Chichester Festival Theatre

Evans’ and Tackley’s year came to an end on something of a downer after Chichester Festival Theatre announced Tackley would be quitting as executive director, with the pair admitting their leadership styles had not gelled. On stage, the theatre had a more stable year, topped off with Laura Wade’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel The Watsons. Other productions included a starry revival of Me and My Girl, directed by Evans, and children’s show The Midnight Gang. Last year: 32

Daniel Evans: ‘I’ve not stopped acting, but there are no parts I want right now’

69. Rachel O’Riordan

Rachel O”Riordan. Photo: David Tett

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Artistic director O’Riordan began 2018 by picking up the regional theatre of the year prize at The Stage Awards, which credited her with reviving the Cardiff venue’s fortunes and rejuvenating its programme. Fitting then, that as the Sherman enjoyed another healthy year, O’Riordan announced she would be swapping Wales’ capital for England’s to take over at the Lyric Hammersmith. O’Riordan also made her West End debut and maintained the Sherman as one of Wales’ leading producing houses, teaming up with Theatr Clwyd for an all-female production of Lord of the Flies. Last year: 69

Rachel O’Riordan: ‘I see Sherman Cymru as the major producing theatre in Wales’

70. Sarah Brigham

Derby Theatre

Since being appointed artistic director of Derby Theatre in 2012, Brigham – also the organisation’s chief executive – has invested considerable efforts in developing it as a producing house. She closed last year on a high, directing the Christmas show Hansel and Gretel, which The Stage described as a “glorious” five-star production, and which was part of a Christmas line-up that staged more accessible performances than ever before. Derby is also founder of the East and West Midlands’ project In Good Company, which provides performance opportunities and resources to artists in the region. Last year: 83

Top 5 6-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 Analysis

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.