Presidents & Associate Artists


Andrew Lloyd Webber

Show biography

When Sunset Boulevard joined School Of Rock, Cats and The Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway in February 2017,  Andrew Lloyd Webber became the only person to equal the record set in 1953 by Rodgers and Hammerstein with four Broadway shows running concurrently.   Other musicals he has composed include Aspects Of Love, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Love Never Dies.

His production of School Of Rock is the first British musical to have world premiered on Broadway.   He has co-produced his own shows including Cats and The Phantom Of The Opera and as a solo producer he presented the groundbreaking Bombay Dreams which introduced the double Oscar winning Bollywood  composer AR Rahman to the Western stage.  Other productions include the Olivier Award Winning Daisy Pulls It Off and La Bete, the record breaking London Palladium production of The Sound Of Music and The Wizard of Oz.

He is passionate about the importance of music in education and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has become one of Britain’s leading charities supporting the arts and music.

He was knighted in 1992 and created a life peer in 1997.    To mark his 70th birthday, his bestselling autobiography Unmasked was published by HarperCollins in March 2018.

Sharon D Clarke
Vice President
Show biography

Sharon has forged an exceptional career, garnering critical acclaim for dramatic and musical roles on stage and on screen. In 2019 she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her standout performance in Caroline or Change. In 2020, she won the Olivier for Best Actress for her sensational portrayal of Linda Loman in the Young Vic’s production of Death of a Salesman. The latter also made Sharon the first person to be nominated in all four performing categories of the Olivier Awards. In 2017 she was awarded an MBE for services to drama. 

David Grindrod
Vice President
Show biography

David launched David Grindrod Associates in 1998 and has been Andrew Lloyd Webber’s dedicated casting director on all Really Useful Group productions since then. As well as being our Vice President, David is a board member of Laine Theatre Arts, Watermill Theatre Newbury and the Council of Dance Education and Training, and he is a proud Associate Artist of the Old Vic Theatre.

Robert Powell
Vice President
Show biography

Robert Powell is an English actor and voice actor, best known for the title roles in Mahler and Jesus of Nazareth, and for his portrayal of secret agent Richard Hannay in The Thirty Nine Steps and its subsequent spinoff television series.

Associate Artists

Don Black OBE
Show biography

Lyricist Don Black has achieved global success and many glittering prizes. He has worked with many of the world’s leading composers, including Andrew Lloyd Webber. They first joined forces to write the song cycle Tell Me on a Sunday, which developed to form the basis of the stage show Song and Dance. They were reunited again for Aspects of Love and their most recent production, Stephen Ward. He was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008. He also received the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s honours list.

Sir Matthew Bourne
Show biography

Sir Matthew Bourne OBE is widely hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful choreographer and director. For over thirty years he has been creating and directing dance for musicals, theatre and film, as well as his own highly successful, award-winning companies. Matthew is the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production, and has been recognised with numerous international awards. He was knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2016 list for services to dance, and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award – one of the most coveted honours in the world of dance – in recognition of his outstanding services to the art of ballet.

John Brant
Show biography

Having worked extensively as a Director in New York after receiving the Jehlinger Award for Excellence at the American Academy of Arts in 2006, John Brant formed Smith & Brant Theatricals with Joseph Smith in 2013. Their first production as lead producers was the critically acclaimed The Pajama Game, directed by Richard Eyre at the Shaftesbury Theatre, in 2014.

Prior to this he was Associate Producer on the multi award-winning Sweeney Todd plus acclaimed new musical, Departure Lounge under his own independent company, Olive Theatre.

Whilst living and working in New York he produced Walking The Road by Dermot Bolger, Rum and Vodka by Conor McPherson and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness.

As Associate Director for Perfect Pitch Musicals from 2008 until 2013 he worked extensively on the development, showcasing and licensing of new British musicals and remains an enthusiastic champion of new work.

Chrissie Cartwright
Show biography

Chrissie appeared in the original west end casts of Billy, Irene, Evita, Barnum and Blondel and in variety at the London Palladium and Victoria Palace. Her television appearances include The One and Only Phyllis Dixey, The Morecambe and Wise Show and The Good Old Days. She appears in The Great Muppet Caper, Lassiter and Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.

She staged and choreographed the original West End productions of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Sherlock Holmes The Musical and the London premiere of Mack and Mabel. She choreographed The Entertainer, Devil’s Virtuoso, Annie, The Card, On The Twentieth Century, and Witches of Eastwick. For television she choreographed Kiss Me Kate, Alas Smith and Jones and Hit Dancing.

Chrissie was assistant director and choreographer on the London, New York and Australian productions of Five Guys Named Moe. She has re-created the direction and choreography of Cats for its UK and international tours mounting productions in Europe, South Korea, China, the London Palladium, Broadway and US tour. She was associate to Gillian Lynne on The Likes of Us, Brick by Bricusse and Dear World; was children’s director on Mary Poppins and resident director on Cats, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Sister Act and Wizard of Oz.

She is and Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and has staged for them Letters Home and This is The Hour – a celebration of the music of Claude-Michel Schönberg. In 2019, she directed and choreographed To Gillie With Love.

Anthony Cherry
Show biography

Anthony Cherry is a producer, writer and director at the BBC, and has been in charge of Friday Night Is Music Night for the last eight years. He became a producer in 1984 and has worked on numerous programmes, concerts, documentaries, dramas and series, both in radio and television. Notable amongst them is the award-winning Parkinson’s Sunday Supplement with Sir Michael Parkinson, which Anthony produced for 11 years.

Bill Deamer
Show biography

Bill is an Olivier award winning choreographer for film,television and theatre. Putting his previous acting training to work. His keen eye for the camera has served him well as the choreographer most notably for So You Think You Can Dance and the hit BBC Strictly Come Dancing series where he continues to contribute featured group professional routines and Charlestons.

Throughout his career, Bill has also become an expert on Fred Astaire, one of his dance idols. He directed and choreographed the first-ever tribute to Fred at the London Palladium, and has recently appeared in ITV Perspectives programme For the Love of Fred Astaire. He was a featured speaker at the V&A Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers exhibition in September 2015. He won an Olivier Award for his choreography in TOP HAT, in the West End and National Tour.

In 2017 Bill choreographed the revival of FOLLIES at the National Theatre, starring Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee, earning himself a 2018 Olivier nomination for Best Theatre Choreographer and Best Musical Revival.

Janie Dee
Show biography

Janie is an award-winning British actress, singer and musical theatre performer, characterised by her extraordinary versatility in acclaimed work on stage, film, television and radio. Janie won the three most prestigious awards in British theatre: the Olivier Award, the Evening Standard Award and Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Play. She has also won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in Nicholas Hytner’s acclaimed production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel at the National Theatre.

Mike Dixon
Show biography

Mike Dixon graduated from Trinity College of Music in 1979 and over the course of his varied career has established himself as one of the leading figures in the West End, television and radio as a Musical Supervisor, Musical Director, Conductor, Arranger and Composer. His work includes Aspects of Love, Dr Dolittle, Jesus Christ Superstar and We Will Rock You, and he has worked with icons such as Shirley Bassey and Lionel Richie.

Anthony Drewe
Show biography

For more than 30 years, Anthony has worked with composer George Stiles. Together they have written eleven shows. These include: Honk! (National Theatre, UK Tour & Worldwide), Mary Poppins (West End, Broadway, International and UK Tour), Cameron Mackintosh’s new version of Half A Sixpence (Chicester Festival Theatre and West End), Travels With My Aunt (Minerva Theatre, Chichester), The Wind in the Willows (UK Tour & West End), Betty Blue Eyes (West End & UK Tour), Just So (Tricycle Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and International), Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Birmingham Reportory Theatre, Royal Festival Hall & International), Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre and in concert at the Queen’s Theatre), The Three Little Pigs (West End, UK Tour & International Tour), Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Singapore Repertory Theatre), and The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Singapore Repertory Theatre).

Nigel Havers
Show biography

Nigel Havers trained at ArtsEd and is one of Britain’s leading television actors. He has starred in many outstanding productions including Upstairs Downstairs, The Glittering Prizes, Pennies from Heaven, Don’t Wait Up and The Charmer.  Other recent appearances include The Sarah Jane Adventures for the BBC and two seasons of the hit US series Brothers & Sisters. He has recently completed a second series of the BBC comedy Lunch Monkeys and reprised his role of Lewis Archer in Coronation Street.

David Howe
Show biography

David Howe is a leading lighting designer & frequently works at ArtsEd.  His credits include:
West End:

Mischief Movie Nights, A Comedy about a Bank Robbery, McQueen, Quatermaine’s Terms, Bette & Joan, Birdsong, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, Sweet Charity, Mrs Warren’s Profession, Private Lives, A Christmas Carol, The Norman Conquests, The Last Five Years and Tick Tick Boom, Maria Friedman Re-Arranged, Rent, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Pageant, Forbidden Broadway, Sweet Charity, La Cage aux Folles, Take Flight and The Last Five Years.

Private Lives, The Norman Conquests Trilogy and Primo.
Off West End & Regional Work:

Starlight Express – Other Palace, The Life, The A to Z of Mrs P, Diary of a Teenage Girl – Southwark Playhouse. Richard III, The Cherry Orchard, The Lower Depths & Clarion – Arcola Theatre, London. All My Sons – Rose Theatre, Kingston, Alex Salmond Unleashed – Edinburgh Festival & UK Tour, An Audience With Jimmy Savile & Dead Sheep – Park Theatre, North London, Matchbox Theatre – Hampstead Theatre, The Curing Room – Edinburgh Festival & Pleasance, North London, Love Me Do – Watford Palace, Sisters – Crucible Theatre, Sheffield and Pantomimes across the UK.

Rachel Kavanaugh
Show biography

Rachel is a director working across the country. Her recent work includes Half a Sixpence (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (The Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park – Best Musical Revival Olivier Award Nomination).

Other productions at Regent’s Park include: The Sound of Music (Best Musical Revival, WhatsOnStage Awards;  Best Musical Revival, Olivier Awards Nomination),  Much Ado About NothingAs You Like ItCymbelineThe Taming of the ShrewA Midsummer Night’s DreamTwelfth NightLove’s Labour’s Lost.

Nigel Lilley
Show biography

Nigel Lilley is a musical director working primarily in musical theatre. He worked on several occasions with Victoria Wood. His West End credits include Spring Awakening, Piaf and La Cage Aux Folles. On tour and out of the West End he has musical directed The Bacchae and Acorn Antiques. He trained at King’s College, London and the Royal College of Music. He regularly teaches and has co-written a book with vocal coach, Mary Hammond. He has most recent work includes “Oklahoma!” at Chichester Festival Theatre, “Follies” at the National Theatre & “Caroline or Change” in the West End.

Lynette Linton
Show biography

Lynette Linton is a writer and director, and is the Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre. She was Associate Director of the Gate Theatre from 2016 to 2017 and the Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse until February 2018. In September 2017, she was nominated for Best Director at the Stage Debut Awards. She is also a co-founder of production company Black Apron Entertainment.

Lynette has commissioned and is curating Passages: A Windrush Celebration (Royal Court), a series of seven monologue films, one of which she has written.

Robert Lindsay
Show biography

Robert’s career began on the stage and he has played major roles in the West End. However, most plaudits were won for Me and My Girl, which eventually took Robert to Broadway for a year, and for which he won Olivier, Fred Astaire and Tony Awards. On television, Robert starred alongside Zoë Wanamaker in My Family. Robert has also worked on five of the BBC’s Shakespeare adaptations. He’s also played Tony Blair twice on the small screen, in A Very Social Secretary and The Trial of Tony Blair.

Lesley Manville
Show biography

Lesley Manville is a multi-award-winning stage, screen and television actress. In the theatre, she has been seen in Ibsen’s Ghosts at the Almeida Theatre, West End and New York, for which she won both an Olivier Award and the Critics Circle Best Actress Award. She recently appeared in Harlots, an eight-part US/UK series. Lesley was made an OBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Stephen Mear
Show biography

Two-time Olivier Award Winner Stephen Mear has been described by the Telegraph as “The Old-Style Master of the Modern Chorus Line.” Stephen’s prolific career has taken him in all directions from Musical Theatre on Broadway & the West End to Opera at the ENO, Paris & the MET in New York. His varied & sought after talent extends to well known TV programs such as “So You Think You Can Dance”, “The Tracey Ullman Show” and “The Victoria Wood Show”. He has also choreographed music videos for high profile artists “OASIS” & “Goldfrapp”. Stephen has had the privilege of working and learning from some of the best in the business and has had the opportunity to choreograph and direct many successful, beautiful and exciting productions not to mention achieving an outstanding collection of awards and nominations.

Sir Trevor Nunn
Show biography

From 1968 to 1986, Trevor Nunn was the youngest ever Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, directing over thirty productions, including the West End’s longest-running musical Les MisérablesHe has also directed the legendary musical CATS, working with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Dame Gillian Lynne. From 1997 to 2003, he was Director of the National Theatre, where his productions included Troilus & Cressida, Oklahoma!, The Merchant of Venice, Summerfolk, My Fair Lady, The Coast of Utopia, A Streetcar Named Desire, Anything Goes and Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Arlene Phillips
Show biography

Arlene Phillips, CBE is an English Choreographer, theatre director, talent scout, television judge and presenter, and former dancer, who has worked in many fields of entertainment. For many years, she was most noted as the choreographer of numerous West End and Broadway musicals, films, and television shows, but she later achieved mainstream fame as a judge on television talent shows including Strictly Come Dancing & So You Think You Can Dance.

George Stiles
Show biography

For more than 30 years, Stiles has worked with lyricist Anthony Drewe. Together they have written eleven shows. These include: Honk! (National Theatre, UK Tour & Worldwide), Mary Poppins (West End, Broadway, International and UK Tour), Cameron Mackintosh’s new version of Half A Sixpence (Chicester Festival Theatre and West End), Travels With My Aunt (Minerva Theatre, Chichester), The Wind in the Willows (UK Tour & West End), Betty Blue Eyes (West End & UK Tour), Just So (Tricycle Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and International), Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Birmingham Reportory Theatre, Royal Festival Hall & International), Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre and in concert at the Queen’s Theatre), The Three Little Pigs (West End, UK Tour & International Tour), Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Singapore Repertory Theatre), and The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Singapore Repertory Theatre).

Ian Talbot
Show biography

Ian was Artistic and Managing Director of The Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park from 1987 until 2007. For Regent’s Park he directed Babes In Arms; The Fantasticks; Lady Be Good; The Card; Kiss Me Kate; A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum; Oh, What A Lovely War; H.M.S. Pinafore; ( all nominated for Olivier Awards ), The Pirates Of Penzance ( Olivier nomination for best director 2000 ), Much Ado About Nothing; Androcles and the Lion; Look Here Old Son; The Two Gentlemen Of Verona; Twelfth Night; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; A Connecticut Yankee; The Comedy Of Errors; Paint Your Wagon; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; The Music Man; Where’s Charley?; Camelot and The Boyfriend. His other directing credits include: The Secret Garden ( Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Yeoman Of The Guard ( Savoy Theatre ), Peter Pan ( Royal Festival Hall), High Society ( Shaftesbury Theatre and national tour ), The Pirates Of Penzance ( West Yorkshire Playhouse and national tour ), Anything goes ( national tour ), Kiss Me Kate ( Brisbane Festival ) Lend Me A Tenor The Musical ( Gielgud Theatre ), Doctor In The House ( national tour), The Invisible Man and Charlie’s Aunt ( The Menier Chocolate Factory), Love Letters ( Dubai Festival ), Third Finger Left Hand ( Trafalgar Studios ), A Midsummer Night’s Dream ( The Old Globe, San Diego ) Million Dollar Quartet(National Tour),Eugenius (The Other Palace), The Mousetrap(St. Martins Theatre),and many overseas tours and pantomimes.

Ian was awarded the O.B.E. in 2007 for his work at The Open Air Theatre.

Roy Williams
Show biography

Roy Williams is an English playwright, Williams has many awards including the George Devine Award for Lift Off, the 2001 Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright for his play Clubland, the 2002 BAFTA Award for Best Schools Drama for Offside and 2004 South Bank Show Arts Council Decibel Award. Most recently for his play Sucker Punch was nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Best New Play and the Olivier Award for Best New Play 2011. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours and sits on the board of Trustees for Theatre Centre. In 2018, he was made a felow of The Royal Society of Literature.