Guest Director for 2019

27 November 2018

NSDF appoints James Phillips as Guest Director for NSDF19 and announces search for a new director.

The Board of the National Student Drama Festival today announces that James Philips will be the Guest Director for the 2019 Festival. A director and writer with more than 15 years professional experience, Philips has been involved with NSDF as a selector, writer and director for eleven years.

Phillips said: “NSDF is a unique and precious thing, that has helped generations of talented young people of all backgrounds find their home within the arts. I’m thrilled to have been asked to help safeguard and expand this legacy. This year the Festival will be brave, bold and brilliant: bringing together some of the most exciting and accomplished professionals working in the British Theatre and a vibrant new generation of emerging young artists, critics, technicians and audience members.”

Michael Brazier, Director of NSDF since 2012, will be leaving the Company on 30 November 2018 to pursue new opportunities. Announcing his departure, Brazier said “Having led six Festivals I am delighted to be handing over to the brilliant James Phillips. It’s been a privilege working for NSDF and a joy to work with the many artists and technicians who have given so much time and skill to make the Festivals so successful. I have seen work of such quality by so many young people; their drive and ambition is very impressive. The Festival offers so much - the opportunity to learn, share work, and really discuss theatre, in a full on immersive week of creativity. I wish James, the Board and everyone connected to the Festival, all the very best for the future.”

Donna Munday, Chair of the Board of NSDF said “The Company wishes to thank Michael for his valuable contributions over the years and wishes him every success with the future.”

NSDF will shortly begin the search for the new Festival Director for the 2020 Festival and beyond, with a view to appoint by Spring 2019. Munday said ““The appointment of a new Director could not be at a more important time for the future of NSDF, which continues to bring young people together from across the UK in a celebration of all that theatre can be. There will be a rigorous process to ensure we find the best possible person to fuel the ambition of this extraordinary organisation, which has kick-started so many successful careers. To have James’ amazing talent, creativity and expertise at NSDF for the 2019 Festival while we undertake that search is an incredible opportunity for us. He is a supremely talented director, writer and producer, with a long association with NSDF. It’s a very exciting time for the company.”

Philips’ first play, The Rubenstein Kiss (which he also directed) won both the TMA Award for Best Play of the Year and the John Whiting Award, and is about to be seen again in a brand new revival at the Southwark Playhouse in March. His 4 part epic show, Flood, was the centrepiece of the UK’s 2017 Capital of Culture, and was voted by Guardian Newspaper Readers as one of the Top 10 UK shows of 2017. Hull ’17 won The Stage’s Award for ‘Producer of the Year’, and Flood’s BBC2 Drama won an RTS Award.

His play City Stories had a Residency at St James Theatre, London from 2014-17 and also transferred to 59East59 Theater in New York City, where it opened to terrific reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere. His play McQueen: or Lee and Beauty, about Alexander McQueen, broke box office records at St James Theatre in London and then transferred to the West End. His recent play Camelot: The Shining City - which was produced with a cast of 150 - was named as one of the top 5 UK Theatre Shows of 2015 by The Guardian Newspaper.

Phillips is Associate Artist of the Oxford Playhouse and an Associate of Wilton’s Music Hall.