Simon Phillips began his career in New Zealand before emigrating to Australia in 1984 to take up a position as lecturer and director at the West Australian Academy for Performing Arts. In 1987 he joined the Melbourne Theatre Company as Associate Director and in 1990 he was appointed Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia. After freelancing nationally and internationally between 1994 and 1999, he returned to MTC as Artistic Director from 2000 to 2011, overseeing the design and construction of the company's new headquarters and the Southbank Theatre.
His directing credits range from new works to contemporary and Shakespearean classics, to musicals, to opera. He has directed works by most of the great contemporary writers: Albee (A Delicate Balance), Beckett (Happy Days), Brecht (Arturo Ui), Churchill (Cloud Nine/Serious Money), Hare (The Blue Room), McDonagh (The Pillowman), Orton (What the Butler Saw/Entertaining Mr Sloane), Shepherd (Buried Child, A Lie of the Mind), and Stoppard (Arcadia, Rock'n'Roll).
He has also directed the premieres of many new works by leading Australian writers, including David Williamson, Matt Cameron, Hannie Rayson, Stephen Sewell and Joanna Murray-Smith.
Simon's musical credits in Australia include Love Never Dies, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (which has had numerous international seasons including The West End and Broadway), The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Urinetown the Musical, Company, The Threepenny Opera, Cabaret, Muriel's Wedding - the musical, Ladies in Black, Dream Lover, An Officer and a Gentleman and High Society. In New Zealand he directed Oliver!, Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Pirates of Penzance.
Among his many classical productions, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, A Comedy of Errors and The Importance of Being Earnest all toured nationally in Australia. Simon's opera credits include: La Bohème, Falstaff, L'Elisir d'Amore and Lulu for Opera Australia, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni for Opera New Zealand and A Midsummer Night's Dream and Billy Budd for Hamburg State Opera.
Simon is the recipient of many Australian Theatre awards and has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Melbourne. He recently directed As You Like It for the Melbourne Theatre Company and has now turned his focus to Sydney with an adaptation of North By Northwest, and a thrilling new production of The Phantom of the Opera for Opera Australia; they take to the stages of the Lyric Theatre and Sydney Harbour. He discusses these exciting theatrical ventures, as well as his illustrious career, in this compelling episode of STAGES.
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