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Drew McOnie appointed as new Artistic Director of Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 08

We are delighted to announce Drew McOnie as our new Artistic Director & Joint Chief Executive, joining Executive Director James Pidgeon.

Executive Director James Pidgeon and Artistic Director Drew McOnie
Photo: David Jensen

The award-winning Director and Choreographer will assume the role in January 2024, taking over from Tim Sheader following his appointment at the Donmar Warehouse, and will programme the 2025 season onwards. He joins the theatre having previously directed and choreographed On the Town which was Olivier Award nominated for Best Musical Revival, and choreographed their productions of Carousel and Jesus Christ Superstar, currently touring the US and UK and for which he received an Olivier Award Nomination for Best Theatre Choreography. He retains his position as Artistic Director of The McOnie Company, with its production of Nutcracker currently running at the new pop-up space, The Tuff Nutt Jazz Club at the Southbank Centre, and the forthcoming world premiere stage adaptation of The Artist opening at Theatre Royal Plymouth in May 2024.

Drew McOnie said today, "For me there is nowhere in London where the shared experience of live theatre is more electric than at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. It captured my imagination and stole my heart from my very first visit. I believe it’s because of the audience’s direct connection with the performers, each knowing equally that anything could happen and together they will experience something that its relationship with nature may make totally different the following day. It’s a magical setting to experience magical stories together.

Long before becoming a director and choreographer I was a dancer, and it was widely known within the performing community that Regent’s Park was THE place to work. This wasn’t just because of the exceptional standard of work being created but also because of the care and support for its artists. Under the inspiring leadership of Tim Sheader, I was able to become the artist I wanted to be, and I am committed to continuing that legacy of care and creativity for artists and audiences alike.

I am so excited to be joining forces with the brilliant James Pidgeon and can’t wait to begin writing the next chapter of this special venue’s story.”

Stuart Griffiths OBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees, added, “Following a rigorous and extensive recruitment process, we are delighted to appoint Drew McOnie as Artistic Director & Joint Chief Executive of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Drew is an outstanding and innovative artist whose work thrills and inspires a broad range of audiences. We are excited by the vision and passion he will bring to our unique and world-renowned venue, building on the legacy of Tim Sheader’s tenure. On behalf of the Trustees we are delighted to welcome Drew to the team.”

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Executive Director & Joint Chief Executive James Pidgeon commented, “Drew McOnie is an exemplary and well-respected artist who will continue the Open Air Theatre’s long-standing commitment to creating exceptional, enriching and unexpected theatre at scale whilst also bringing a new artistic vision and identity to the organisation that enhances our relevance and reputation. I very much look forward to working with him to lead the organisation and our incredibly talented team through this next exciting chapter of growth and development.”

Drew McOnie is a multi-award winning Director and Choreographer working across theatre and film.

His previous credits for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre include, as director/choreographer: On the Town (Olivier Award Nomination for Best Musical Revival), and as choreographer: Carousel and Jesus Christ Superstar (Olivier Award Nomination for Best Theatre Choreography - also Barbican Theatre, UK and US tours).

Other credits as director/choreographer include: The Wild Party (The Other Palace), King Kong (The Broadway Theatre, Broadway), Strictly Ballroom (Piccadilly Theatre, West End/Toronto/West Yorkshire Playhouse), Torch Song (The Turbine Theatre London) and CAKE (Lyric Theatre, West End and UK Tour).

Other credits as a choreographer include: In the Heights (Olivier Award Winner for Best Theatre Choreography, Winner of the Off West End Theatre Award for Best Choreography - Southwark Playhouse and Kings Cross Theatre), The Lorax (The Old Vic), Hairspray (BroadwayWorld Award Winner for Best Choreographer – UK Tour), Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith and UK Tour), Oklahoma! (UK Tour), Chicago (Curve Theatre, Leicester) and Tommy (European Tour).

His credits for The McOnie Company include: Nutcracker (The Tuff Nutt Jazz Club at Southbank Centre), Jekyll and Hyde (BroadwayWorld Award Winner for Outstanding Achievement in Dance – The Old Vic), DRUNK! (Curve Theatre Leicester/ The Bridewell Theatre London), Making Midnight (Jermyn Street Theatre/ Latitude Festival), Slaughter (Audience Choice Award Winner - The Place Prize) and Be Mine! (Robin Howard Theatre), and the forthcoming world premiere stage adaptation of The Artist opening at Theatre Royal Plymouth in May 2024.

Ballets include: Merlin (Northern Ballet National Tour), XYZ- (Classical Creative Project), Monochrome Suite (Sadlers Wells), The Old Man Of Lochnagar (Sadlers Wells and Hackney Empire), Little Red Riding Hood (Wimbledon Theatre) and To You (Sadlers Wells).

Film credits include: Greatest Days - The TAKE THAT movie musical, and Me Before You (Directed by Thea Sharrock).

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