Director and Choreographer
Sir Matthew Bourne OBE is widely hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful choreographer and director. For 30 years he has been creating and directing dance for musicals, opera, theatre, film as well as his own highly successful, award-winning companies.
Matthew is the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production, a seven-time Olivier Award winner, and the only British director to have won the Tony Award for both Best Choreographer and Best Director of a Musical. He has been recognised by over 40 international awards, including following Dame Margot Fonteyn as only the second dance recipient of the Hamburg Shakespeare Prize for the Arts and being the first recipient, in the arts category, of The British Inspiration Award. He is also the proud recipient of the Evening Standard Award, South Bank Show Award, Time Out Special Award, Drama Desk Award, six Los Angles Drama Critic Awards and the Astaire Award for Dance on Broadway. In 2007 he received a Special Theatre Managers Association Award for services to dance touring and audience development and was awarded the OBE for Services to Dance in 2001.
Matthew started his dance training at the comparatively late age of 22. He studied Dance Theatre and Choreography at The Laban Centre (now Trinity Laban) graduating in 1985 and spending a further year with the college’s performance company Transitions. Matthew danced professionally for 14 years creating many roles in his own work.
As Artistic Director of his first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures from 1987 until 2002 Matthew created many award-winning works for the Company including Spitfire (1988), The Infernal Galop (1989), Town and Country (1991), Deadly Serious (1992), Nutcracker! (1992), Highland Fling (1994), Swan Lake (1995), Cinderella (1997) and The Car Man (2000). The most iconic productions have been revived for New Adventures, which was launched by Matthew and his Co-Director Robert Noble in 2002. Ground-breaking new productions were added to the repertoire including Play Without Words (2002 – a co-production with the National Theatre), Edward Scissorhands (2005), Dorian Gray (2008), Lord Of The Flies (2011 – Director Only), Early Adventures (2012 – a compilation of his early work), Sleeping Beauty (2012) and The Red Shoes (2016). New Adventures is now the most successful and busiest dance company in the UK and a major exporter of British dance across the world.
Matthew’s choreography for classic musicals includes Cameron Mackintosh’s productions of Oliver! (1994 and 2009 Olivier nomination), My Fair Lady (2002 - Olivier Award), and the National Theatre’s revival of South Pacific (2002). In 2004 Matthew co-directed with Richard Eyre and choreographed with Stephen Mear the hit West End musical Mary Poppins for which he won an Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer, and two Tony nominations when it opened on Broadway. Mary Poppins has recently returned and is currently touring throughout the UK.
His film work includes television productions of his stage work including Matthew Bourne’s Christmas (Channel 4, 2012), Swan Lake (1996 Emmy nomination and 2011 in 3D), The Car Man (2001 and 2015), Nutcracker! (2003) and Sleeping Beauty broadcast by the BBC for Christmas 2013 prior to worldwide cinema screenings. Original work includes the John Betjeman inspired Late Flowering Lust (1993) with Sir Nigel Hawthorne. Matthew was the subject of a South Bank Show in 1997, a BBC Imagine documentary in 2012 and a Channel 4 documentary, Bourne to Dance, which was broadcast on Christmas Day 2001. His production of Swan Lake features in Stephen Daldry’s hit film Billy Elliot. In 2015 his recent revival of The Car Man was broadcast on SKY TV and screened in cinemas worldwide throughout 2016. Matthew Bourne's Cinderella was recorded December 2017 and broadcast on the BBC on Boxing Day, it will be screened in cinemas worldwide throughout 2018.
Other theatre and dance work includes As You Like It (RSC/John Caird), Children of Eden (West End/John Caird), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Aix en Provence/Robert Carsen), The Tempest (NYT), Show Boat (Malmo Stadsteater, Sweden), Peer Gynt (Barbican/Yukio Ninagawa), Watch With Mother (NYDC), Boutique and The Infernal Galop (Images of Dance and The Sarasota Ballet), Watch Your Step (Irving Berlin Gala), French and Saunders Live in 2000 (UK tour), Dearest Love (Ballet Boyz), and Highland Fling (Scottish Ballet).
In 1999 Faber and Faber published Matthew Bourne and his Adventures in Motion Pictures, edited by theatre and dance writer, Alastair Macaulay, and a new edition was published in recognition of Bourne’s 25th Anniversary Celebrations in 2012.
In addition to being a prolific choreographer, Matthew supports the wider dance industry and its future. He is proud to be an Associate Artist and Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells where New Adventures have played record-breaking Christmas seasons since 2002. In 2008 he established Re:Bourne to increase opportunities to inspire young people with a passion for dance, and in 2010 he created the New Adventures Choreographer Award (NACA) to enhance opportunities and showcase the talents of emerging choreographers. In 1997 Matthew was made an Honorary Fellow of his former college, The Laban Centre, becoming a Companion of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2012. He has six Honorary Doctorates from The Open University, and the De Montfort, Plymouth, Kingston and Roehampton Universities, as well as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is also a Companion of Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and a proud patron of many organisations, including The Arts Educational School, Laine Theatre Arts, CREATE and Shoreditch Youth Dance.
In 2014 Matthew Bourne was awarded the prestigious De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement at the National Dance Awards and later that year saw the opening of the Matthew Bourne Theatre, named in his honour, at his old school in East London, Sir George Monoux College. In 2015 he became the first dance figure to be given The Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre presented by the UK Theatre Awards. He was knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2016 for services to dance and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award in recognition of his outstanding services to the art of ballet, which is one of the most coveted honours in the world of dance. In 2017 Bourne was presented with the inaugural Trailblazer in Dance and Theatre Award from The International Institute of Dance and Theatre.
In 2016, New Adventures presented the World Premiere of Matthew Bourne’s latest work, The Red Shoes, based on the classic Powell & Pressburger film with music by Bernard Herrmann. The Red Shoes has since been performed to sell out audiences across the UK and won two Olivier Awards in 2017 for Best Entertainment and Matthew Bourne for Best Theatre Choreographer.
Twitter: @SirMattBourne Instagram: @MatthewBourne13