Marianne Elliott
Marianne Phoebe Elliott

(1966-12-27) 27 December 1966 (age 55)
London, England
OccupationTheatre director
(m. 2002)

Marianne Phoebe Elliott OBE (born 27 December 1966) is a British theatre director. She is the recipient of three Laurence Olivier Awards and three Tony Awards.

Early life and education

Elliott was born in 1966 in London, the daughter of Michael Elliott, theatre director and co-founder of the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester, and actress Rosalind Knight.[1] Her maternal grandfather was the actor Esmond Knight. The family moved to Manchester when she was eight years old and attended St Hilary's School, Alderley Edge, Didsbury Road Junior School in Heaton Moor and later Stockport Grammar School.

She has said she "hated" the theatrical professions as a child "and used to ask [her parents] not to talk shop".[2] Despite this early ambivalence, she studied drama at Hull University, but used "to sneak into English lectures because she found them more interesting".[3][4]

Elliott's father, Michael, died when she was a teenager. She said "I don’t think I would have gone into the theatre at all if my father had lived because he was so good at it. I didn’t make the decision to direct until I was in my late 20s, a good 10 years after he died."[4]


After leaving university Elliott was, initially, determined not to go into the theatre and had a number of different jobs including casting director and drama secretary at Granada Television. It was an assistant director role at Regent's Park that first moved her in the direction of a theatrical career.

Royal Exchange, Manchester, 1995–2002

In 1995 she began to work at the Royal Exchange, where her father had been a founding Artistic Director. She was nurtured by Greg Hersov, who she has described as her "biggest influence",[4] and she worked her way up including being appointed artistic director in 1998. In her own estimation, two stand-out productions from that period were a 2000 As You Like It and the world premiere of Simon Stephens' play Port.[4]

Royal Court Theatre, London, 2002-2006

In 2002 Elliott's career saw her move from Manchester to London, when she was invited by Artistic Director Ian Rickson to become an Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre. During this time, Elliott's productions included Notes on Falling Leaves by Ayub Khan Din, The Sugar Syndrome by Lucy Prebble, Stoning Mary by Debbie Tucker Green and Local as well as many new writing workshops and play readings.

National Theatre, 2006–2017

In 2006, she was invited by Nicholas Hytner, who Elliott has said "seemed to value [her] talent more highly than I did"[4] to make her National Theatre debut with Ibsen's Pillars of the Community, which led to her being invited back to direct Saint Joan, starring Anne-Marie Duff, which won the Olivier Award for Best Revival in 2008.[4] She became an Associate Director under Hytner, and directed a series of important, influential and highly successful productions including War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. She left the National Theatre in 2017.

Elliott & Harper Productions, 2016 –

In 2016 Elliott teamed up with theatre producer Chris Harper to set up theatre company Elliott & Harper Productions. Its first production was the West End premiere of Heisenberg by Simon Stephens, directed by Elliott at the Wyndham's Theatre (3 October 2017 – 6 January 2018) which garnered mixed reviews and poor houses; an inauspicious start to the collaboration. Elliott & Harper became co-producers of the National Theatre's Broadway transfer of Angels in America which opened in March 2018, also directed by Elliott.[5] The company's latest West End production was Company in which Bobbie was played by a woman. It opened at the Gielgud Theatre in September 2018 and the cast included Rosalie Craig as Bobbie and Patti LuPone as Joanne. Elliott commented that Stephen Sondheim "didn’t like the idea at first, but he agreed to let me workshop it in London. We filmed part of it and sent it to him in New York, and he said he loved it. He has agreed to the odd lyric change, but essentially I’m hoping to tweak it as little as possible. Reviving Company 47 years on, I think it actually makes more sense for Bobbie to be a woman." Elliott & Harper have also produced a new adaptation of C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with Catherine Schreiber and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Directed by Sally Cookson, it ran at the West Yorkshire Playhouse until 27 January 2018 and transferred to the Bridge Theatre in London for Christmas 2019. It is due to go on a UK tour in Christmas 2021. In 2019, Elliott co-directed Death of a Salesman alongside Miranda Cromwell, which starred Wendell Pierce and Sharon D. Clarke at the Young Vic Theatre with an all-black Loman family. In autumn 2019, the production transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre and performed to rave reviews and sold-out audiences, despite the ceiling collapse at the Piccadilly Theatre in November 2019. On March 2020, Elliott's Olivier-award winning production of Company opened at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre on Broadway on Stephen Sondheim's 90th Birthday Birthday. The production was forced to close, along with the rest of Broadway, after just 12 previews as a result of the spread of Covid-19. The production is due to return to Broadway in the Autumn of 2021. Elliott most recently directed Tamsin Greig and Harriet Walter in the new version of Talking Heads by Alan Bennett for the BBC in 2020. In 2022, the company produced Cock by Mike Bartlett starring Jonathan Bailey at the Ambassadors Theatre for a strictly limited run.

Key collaborations


Selected theatre productions


Elliott was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2018 Birthday Honours for services to theatre.[10]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2006 Evening Standard Theatre Award Best Director Pillars of the Community Won [11]
2007 Evening Standard Theatre Award Best Director War Horse Nominated [12]
2008 Laurence Olivier Award Best Director Nominated [13]
2011 Tony Award Best Direction of a Play Won [14]
Drama Desk Award Special Award Honouree [15]
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Director of a Play Won [16]
2013 Laurence Olivier Award Best Director The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Won [17]
2015 Tony Award Best Direction of a Play Won [14]
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Play Won [18]
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Director of a Play Won [19]
2018 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play Angels in America Won [20]
Best Direction of a Play Nominated [14]
Laurence Olivier Award Best Revival Won [21]
Best Director Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Play Won [22]
Outstanding Director of a Play Nominated
Drama League Award Outstanding Revival of a Play Won [23]
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Revival of a Play Won [24]
Outstanding Director of a Play Nominated
Evening Standard Theatre Award Best Director Company Won [25]
2019 Laurence Olivier Award Best Director Nominated [26]
Evening Standard Theatre Award Best Director Death of a Salesman Nominated [27]
2020 Laurence Olivier Award Best Revival Nominated [28]
Best Director Won
Drama League Award Founders Award for Excellence in Directing Honouree [23]

Personal life

Elliott married the actor Nick Sidi in 2002; they have one daughter.



  1. ^ Kellaway, Kate (29 October 2006). "Theatre: Kate Kellaway asks why is Marianne Elliott so little-known?". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Lisa O'Kelly "Marianne Elliott: 'Why do something that's run of the mill?'" The Observer, 3 February 2013.
  3. ^ Kate Kellaway "'When it goes well it is like falling in love. It gives you an incredible high'", The Observer, 29 October 2006.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Marianne Elliott, interview with theatre director who helmed War Horse". The Stage. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  5. ^ Chow, Andrew R. (27 November 2017). "Marianne Elliott to Direct Sondheim and Furth's 'Company,' With a Gender Twist". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Jonathan Bailey | Because Bravery Moves So Damned Well Across The Floor". Flaunt Magazine. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Poor Super Man", Royal Exchange Theatre. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  8. ^ Royal Exchange Past Productions
  9. ^ National Theatre Past Productions Archived 25 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Emma Thompson made a dame in Queen's Birthday Honours". BBC News. 8 June 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew (27 November 2006). "2006 Evening Standard Award Winners Announced". Playbill. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  12. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2007: the shortlist". 10 April 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Olivier Winners 2008". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  14. ^ a b c "The Tony Award Nominations". Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  15. ^ Cox, Gordon (24 May 2011). "'Book of Mormon,' 'Anything Goes' top Drama Desk awards". Variety. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  16. ^ "The Book of Mormon, War Horse and Anything Goes Top 2011 Outer Critics Circle Awards". Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Olivier Winners 2013". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  18. ^ Cox, Gordon (1 June 2015). "'Hamilton,' 'Curious Incident' Top the 2015 Drama Desk Awards (FULL LIST)". Variety. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  19. ^ Cox, Gordon (11 May 2015). "Outer Critic Circle Awards 2015 (FULL LIST): 'Curious Incident' Wins Big". Variety. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  20. ^ "The Tony Award Nominations". Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Olivier Awards 2018". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  22. ^ "SpongeBob SquarePants & More Win 2018 Drama Desk Awards". Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  23. ^ a b "Awards History - The Drama League". Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  24. ^ Millward, Tom (7 May 2018). "Outer Critics Circle Awards 2018... And the Winners are..." New York Theater Guide. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  25. ^ Thompson, Jessie. "Find out the winners of this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards". Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Winners list for the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard | Official Website". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  27. ^ "The 2019 Evening Standard Theatre Awards shortlist in full". 4 November 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  28. ^ "Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard - Theatre's Biggest Night". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 6 July 2021.