Phillip Breen was born in Liverpool and attended state school on Merseyside before studying Social and Political Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge. There, among many student productions, he directed Far Too Happy which was nominated for the 2001 Perrier Award. He trained on the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme under Terry Hands at Clwyd Theatr Cymru. As an assistant director he worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera, and Chichester Festival Theatre, assisting Gregory Doran, Nancy Meckler, Steven Pimlott, Martin Duncan and Elijah Moshinsky. He was given his professional debut by Philip Prowse at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow at the age of 22, directing and adapting Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Five further productions at the Citizens followed, the last of which True West by Sam Shepard was praised by the author who was instrumental in its transfer to the Tricycle Theatre in autumn 2014. Phillip has directed over 40 professional productions, all over the UK: at the Citizens’, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Clwyd Theatr Cymru (where he was director of new writing 2006-08), and most recently at Theatre Cocoon, Tokyo at the invitation of Yukio Ninagawa, off-Broadway; as well as in the West End of London. His work has played all over the UK, Tokyo, Osaka, New York, Los Angeles, the Sydney International Theatre Festival, Adelaide, Canberra, Dubai, and through the streets of Assisi. His eclectic range of work encompasses opera, theatre, comedy, musicals, jazz cabaret, community theatre projects, new work and classics - as well as an alternative Christmas lecture with Vivienne Westwood. He has directed and taught at conservatoires all over the world. His work has variously won or been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly the Perrier), Fringe First, Critics Association for Theatre In Scotland, TMA Awards, Time Out New York Awards, Off-Broadway Stonys, Stage Awards, The Holden Street Theatre Award. He made his Royal Shakespeare Company debut in 2012 with The Merry Wives of Windsor, in the RST, this was followed up with a production of Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday in the Swan, both of which were hits with audiences and critics alike. His production of Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams starring Shinobu Otake was a sell out hit in Tokyo and Osaka in 2015. He has created opening ceremonies for major cultural events at Windsor Castle, the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and in the United Arab Emirates. As a writer Phillip has written adaptations of Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald, Crime and Punishment and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. He has contributed extended essays on Shakespeare to two books on Shakespeare, and recently completed his own monograph on The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Walking in A Windsor Wonderland: Some Ramshackle Reflections on Directing Shakespeare’s Greatest Comedy. In 2016 he directed the York Mysteries in York Minster with a community cast of hundreds.
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Phillip Breen - Director
Forthcoming: The Hypocrite by Richard Bean (Royal Shakespeare Company, Hull Truck Theatre and Hull UK City of Culture 2017).
Selected Credits include Treasure Island (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Lady Chatterley's Lover (English Touring Theatre and Sheffield Theatres), the 2016 York Mysteries at York Minster with a community cast of hundreds, Cyrano de Bergerac (Theatr Clwyd), Jigoku No Orpheus / Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams (Theatre Cocoon, Tokyo); The Memory Of Water by Shelagh Stephenson (LAMDA); The Shoemaker’s Holiday by Thomas Dekker (Royal Shakespeare Company); True West by Sam Shepard (transfer to Tricycle Theatre); Holes by Tom Basden (Arcola Tent); Fast Labour by Steve Waters (LAMDA); As You Like It (Birmingham School of Acting); True West by Sam Shepard (Glasgow Citizens Theatre); Threeway by DC Jackson and Holes by Tom Basden (2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe); The Merry Wives of Windsor by Shakespeare (RSC); Sex With A Stanger by Stefan Golaszewski (Trafalgar Studios); A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg by Peter Nichols (Glasgow Citizens); Humphrey Ker Is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher! (Winner 2011 Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer), Lady Garden: A Sketch Show, (Edinburgh and tour), The Hard Man by Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle, Festival Theatre Edinburgh / Scottish Touring Consortium (2011 CATS AWARD Nomination for Alex Ferns (Best Performance)), I’m Hans Christian Andersen by Rachel Rose Reid (Edinburgh, Canberra Festival, Australia and Tour), The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman (LAMDA), Party (Sydney Festival, Australia and Arts Theatre, West End), The Stefan Golaszewski Plays (The Bush Theatre, London), Stefan Golaszewski Is A Widower by Stefan Golaszewski for the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Richard Jordan Productions, Party by Tom Basden, at the Assembly Rooms (Winner 2009 Fringe First), Dumb Show by Joe Penhall (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme and Richard Jordan Productions), Thoroughly Modern Millie by Scanlan, Tesori et al (Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama), All's Well That End's Well, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night by Shakespeare (Birmingham School of Acting), Vivienne Westwood's Alternative Christmas Lecture given by Vivienne Westwood (Royal Shakespeare Company, Wilton's Music Hall), The Caretaker by Harold Pinter (Glasgow Citizens), Stefan Golaszewski Speaks About A Girl He Once Loved by Stefan Golaszewski Edinburgh Festival 2008, Barrow St. Theatre, New York 2009 (Winner 2008 Fringe First, Nominated for The Stage Newspaper's Best Solo Performance Award. Design and Lighting by Phillip Breen), Measure for Measure by Shakespeare, Cariad by Sophie Stanton, The World Premiere of Two Princes by Meredydd Barker, Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams and The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter (All Clwyd Theatr Cymru, whilst Director of New Writing 2006-08), his own adaptation of Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and The Shadow of a Gunman by O'Casey (both for Glasgow Citizens), The Zam Zam Room: An Evening With His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley by Jake Broder and Lord Buckley (Ronnie Scott's Club, Off-Broadway as director/designer, 2005 Time Out New York Critics' Choice, 2005 Stony Award Nomination), Vote Dizzy! by Jake Broder and Lord Buckley (Soho Theatre, London), and The Promise by Arbuzov (Union Theatre, London).
Comedy work includes Lady Garden: Top Secret Gig (Edinburgh Fringe, London and Tour), Far Too Happy (Edinburgh Fringe, National Tour and West End, Nominated for the 2001 Perrier Comedy Award - Best Newcomer), the 2005 and 2006 Cowards stage shows by Tim Key, Tom Basden, Lloyd Woolf and Stefan Golaszewski (Edinburgh Festival and Canal Cafe London), A Few Idiots Who Spoil It For Everyone Else by Mark Watson and Tim Key (Canal Cafe Theatre, London), Stefan Golaszewski Speaks About A Girl He Once Loved by Stefan Golaszewski (Latitude Festival and Edinburgh Fringe). He curated the RSC's 2005 Laugh-In comedy festival, which included original work from Armando Iannucci and Ken Dodd, among other leading contemporary comics.
Writing credits include, stage adaptations of DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, script editor of the screeenplay of Stefan Golaszewski Speaks About A Girl He Once Loved, Past Imperfect (Shortlisted for Write2002 the Manchester Royal Exchange's New Writing Award), co-author of a stage adaptation of Black Snow by Bulgakov, and co-author of Directors' Shakespeare and Actor’s Shakespeare, published by Routledge. His first sit-com, Mr. Sweet co-written with Jonny Sweet is in development with BBC comedy.
Assistant director credits include The Royal Opera House, RSC (Stratford, West End and Tokyo), Chichester Festival Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru.
Trained at Clwyd Theatr Cymru as a recipient of a Channel 4 Director's award, and at Cambridge University.
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