News: Jonathan O’Boyle Appointed as ArtsEd Director of the School of Musical Theatre

ArtsEd is delighted to announce the appointment of Jonathan O’Boyle to the role of Director of the School of Musical Theatre, effective November this year.

Jonathan, who is from Derbyshire, trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama and then went on to study directing at Birkbeck, University of London where he graduated with an MFA in Theatre Directing. He continued his training working with Jonathan Church at Chichester Festival Theatre and Daniel Evans at Sheffield Crucible. He has also held the position of Associate Director at Theatre503.

He won Best Director of a Musical and Best Musical Production at the 2021 Off West End Awards for his production of The Last Five Years (Southwark Playhouse). His 2017 production of Hair (UK Tour/The Vaults/Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester) won Best Off West End Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards and will continue to tour internationally when theatres reopen.

Jonathan’s extensive CV includes directing credits for Bill Kenwright (Cruel Intentions, Rain Man), This House, for Headlong and National Theatre, and a series of plays at Trafalgar Theatre; BASH, Rasheeda Speaking, and A Guide for the Homesick. He directed The View Upstairs (Soho Theatre) and for Southwark Playhouse, Pippin, and Aspects of Love. In 2019 he directed Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Cadogan Hall.

On his appointment Jonathan said: “I am truly thrilled to be joining the ArtsEd family as the Director of the School of Musical Theatre. As one of the leading drama schools in the country, with the UK’s premier training course in Musical Theatre, ArtsEd is firmly at the top of its game. I have always had the most joyous time working with the students at ArtsEd, and I can’t wait to continue that work and shape the future of the course.

We are entering a challenging time in the arts sector. As we begin the road to recovery after the devastation of COVID-19, drama training will continue to evolve and change with the times. I am looking forward to that challenge, being at the centre of a school that strives for excellence.”

In addition to his own directing career, Jonathan has worked with and assisted leading directors including Susan Stroman, Jonathan Church, Jeremy Herrin, Daniel Evans, Clare Lizzimore, and Jessica Swale. He assisted Christopher Wheeldon on An American in Paris at the Dominion Theatre and Neil Armfield on The Judas Kiss in Toronto and New York.

For ArtsEd, Jonathan directed Nice Work If You Can Get It (2019) and will direct The Wedding Singer later this year. His appointment starts in November, after the autumn half-term, as he is directing Top Hat at The Mill at Sonning in September. This production will be Jonathan’s last show for a while as he shifts focus to concentrate on this new, exciting role. Jonathan will succeed Chris Hocking, Principal of ArtsEd since 2017 and Director of the School of Musical Theatre since 2006.

Chris Hocking said: “I am delighted to confirm this fantastic appointment and welcome Jonathan to the ArtsEd family! His award-winning theatre career speaks for itself, and I’m certain he will add huge value to ArtsEd’s musical theatre training in what is an ever-changing landscape. I very much look forward to working with Jonathan as I hand over the School of Musical Theatre curriculum to him.”

Photo credit: Nick Rutter

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