Marianne Elliott Career Timeline: From ‘War Horse’ to ‘Angels in America’ and beyond
Director Marianne Elliott is a leading visionary in the theatre world: she’s the brains behind contemporary greats such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and a gender-swapped Company. To date, she’s won three Oliviers, four Tonys and three Drama Desk Awards.
Take a look back at how Marianne Elliott became a leading 21st-century theatre director. Then book your tickets to see a Marianne Elliott production in the West End or on Broadway.
1995: Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
In the mid-1990s, Elliott began working at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. It was a career move that was almost a family rite of passage. Her father Michael Elliott was a founding artistic director at the Royal Exchange, alongside Braham Murray, Casper Wrede, Richard Negri and James Maxwell.
Elliott’s early professional career began with directing shows including J. B. Priestley’s I Have Been Here Before, Brad Fraser’s Poor Super Man and Terrence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea. She typically worked with theatre director Greg Hersov, who Elliott credits for her early success.
1998: Artistic director at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
After three years at the Royal Exchange, Elliott assumed her first artistic director position at the Manchester venue. While serving as artistic director, Elliott continued to collaborate with Hersov, notably on a 2001 production of Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry, starring Paterson Joseph.
2001: The Little Foxes in London
At the turn of the century, Elliott made her London directorial debut. She directed Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes at the Donmar Warehouse, starring Penelope Wilton and David Calder. Find out more about The Little Foxes in London.
2002: Port in Manchester
Before Elliott left the Royal Exchange Theatre, she directed the world premiere of Simon Stephens’ Port. The play follows a young woman who grows up in Stockport, England, and decides to find ways to enjoy a better life.
2002: Associate director of the Royal Court
In 2002, Royal Court artistic director Ian Rickson invited Elliott to take up a new position as associate director at the leading new-writing venue. Elliott directed plays including The Sugar Syndrome by Lucy Prebble (2003), Notes on Falling Leaves by Ayub Khan Din (2004), and Stoning Mary by debbie tucker green (2005).
2005: National Theatre directorial debut
In 2005, Elliott made her National Theatre debut directing Henrik Ibsen’s Pillars of Community. Damian Lewis and Lesley Manville starred in the acclaimed production – which impressed the then National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner. A year later, she directed the National’s adaptation of Therese Raquin.
2007: Saint Joan at the National Theatre
Elliott’s decade-long tenure as a National Theatre associate director began with George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan starring Anne-Marie Duff. The production went on to win the Olivier for Best Revival in 2008.
2007: War Horse at the National Theatre
Elliott co-directed War Horse at the National Theatre alongside Tom Morris. War Horse won two Oliviers from six nominations, and then transferred to the West End’s Gillian Lynne Theatre where it ran for seven years. War Horse also marked Elliott’s Broadway directing debut. The show opened on Broadway in 2011 and won five Tonys, including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play.
2012: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the National Theatre
The stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time premiered at the National Theatre in 2012. The thought-provoking play won seven Oliviers including Best New Play and Best Director. Although it was a challenging adaptation, with playwright Simon Stephens and director Marianne Elliott collaborating once more, the show’s success was all but assured. Since its premiere, the play has enjoyed two West End revivals, two years on Broadway and several international productions.
2013: The Light Princess at the National Theatre
In 2013 Elliott directed her first original musical: The Light Princess at the National Theatre. George MacDonald’s Scottish fairytale underewent the musical treatment, and Rosalie Craig played the ethereal princess who struggles to get her feet on the ground. Thankfully, though, this production hit the ground running, and saw Elliott praised for her inspired direction.
2015: Husbands & Sons at the National Theatre
In 2015, Elliott directed a stage version of D. H. Lawrence’s Husbands & Sons — a co-production between the National Theatre and the Royal Exchange in Manchester where she began her career. In a dramatic feat, Husbands & Sons combined three Lawrence stories: The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, The Daughter-in-Law, and A Collier’s Friday Night.
2016: Elliott and Harper Productions
Before Elliott left the National Theatre, she teamed up with theatre producer Chris Harper to create their own theatre company. Elliott and Harper Productions’ debut show was the West End premiere Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle by Simon Stephens at the Wyndham’s Theatre, starring Anne-Marie Duff and Kenneth Cranham.
2017: Angels in America at the National Theatre
Elliott’s final production at the National Theatre was the epic revival of Tony Kushner’s two-part play, Angels in America. The all-star cast included Nathan Lane, Andrew Garfield, James McArdle and Denise Gough. Angels in America received unanimous praise and subsequently became a must-see London show. It won Best Revival at the Oliviers, and the show found similar Broadway success in 2018, winning four Tonys including Best Revival of a Play.
2017: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at West Yorkshire Playhouse
In 2017, Elliott returned to the north of England for her latest stage adaptation. Elliott and Harper produced a new version of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at West Yorkshire Playhouse. After performances in Yorkshire, the play transferred to London’s Bridge Theatre in 2019.
2018: Company in the West End
With Stephen Sondheim’s blessing, Elliott directed the inaugural gender-swapped version of Company in the West End. Elliott reunited with Rosalie Craig, who played the lead character — now named Bobbie — a single woman questioning her relationship status in the zingy musical revival. The cast also saw Patti LuPone back in the West End for the first time in 25 years, playing Joanne. Company won four Oliviers, including Best Musical Revival, and, following plaudits for transforming the show for a new generation, went on to transfer to Broadway.
2019: Death of a Salesman in London
Elliott and Miranda Cromwell co-directed a sensational revival of Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic. The Loman family were played by an all-black cast, led by Wendell Pierce and Sharon D. Clarke. After a flurry of positive reviews, the production played to sold-out crowds. But its business didn’t end there and then, as Death of a Salesman transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre. Even a collapsing theatre roof during the show’s run didn’t stop their performances!
2022: Company on Broadway
Elliott’s gender-swapped adaptation of Company opened on Broadway in March 2022. The production was delayed by two years by Covid; it was originally due to open on what would have been Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday — March 22, 2020. Patti LuPone reprises the role of Joanne in the production, and Katrina Lenk is the new Bobbie. Elliott won Best Director of a Musical for Company at the 2022 Tony Awards. See Tony-winning shows on Broadway now.
Marianne Elliott directs the West End premiere of COCK at the Ambassadors Theatre. Company West End star Jonathan Bailey leads the cast. The production has become a must-see show thanks to its exciting combination of cast members and creative talent.
2022: Death of a Salesman on Broadway
Elliott returns to Broadway in 2022 with Death of a Salesmani. Sharon D. Clarke and Wendell Pierce will reprise their highly-acclaimed performances in the Arthur Miller play. They’re also joined by Hadestown star Andre D. Shields. Death of a Salesman is at the Hudson Theatre in fall 2022.