Neil Bartlett


With his kindred spirit Simon McBurney he performed as part of the clown act The Beech Buoys. They appeared together at the first London International Festival of Theatre in 1981, and also (memorably) as support act to the Goth band Bauhaus at the Hammersmith Palais. In 1985 he worked as a director for Simon McBurney's theatre company Complicite, helping to create More Bigger Snacks Now, the show that won the company the Perrier Award and first brought them to national attention. In 1982, Bartlett formed The 1982 Theatre Company. A year later, working as an administrator for gay community theatre company Consenting Adults in Public, he helped to stage and tour Louise Parker Kelley’s Anti Body, the first play produced in Britain to address the AIDS crisis. That same year, he also created his first original theatre project, Dressing Up, a triptych depicting three centuries of London’s gay subculture. In 1988, he set up the collective company Gloria, together with long term colleagues producer Simon Mellor, composer Nicolas Bloomfield and choreographer Leah Hausman. The company created and toured fourteen projects over ten years, ranging in scale from the first intimate version of Night after Night (1993), a solo show staged upstairs at the Royal Court to an audience of fifty a night, to their final show Seven Sacraments (1998) at Southwark Cathedral, a performance-oratorio featuring  a choir, a children’s chorus, a company of dancers and a full orchestra alongside Bartlett himself.  As a director, Bartlett staged new productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court and the National Theatre. In 1994 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith. Over a ten year period, he managed to transform the previously run-down venue into one of the most adventurous, respected theatres in London. After leaving the Lyric in 2005, he staged theatre and opera performances at the Manchester International Festival, the Brighton Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, The Abbey in Dublin and with the Handspring Theatre Company. As well as a theatre director, Bartlett is also an acclaimed author. He debuted as a writer in 1988 with Who was that Man?, a personal re-appraisal of his long-time hero Oscar Wilde. He made a name for himself as a novelist with Ready To Catch Him Should He Fall (1991) and Mr Clive and Mr. Page (1996), followed by his third novel Skin Lane in 2007. His fourth and most recent novel, The Disappearance Boy, earned him a nomination as Stonewall Author of the Year in 2014. Stella marks Neil Bartlett's debut at the Holland Festival.