Matthew Warchus
Born (1966-10-24) 24 October 1966 (age 57)
Rochester, Kent, England
Alma materBristol University
  • Theatre director
  • filmmaker
  • dramaturg
Notable workSimpatico
The Lord of the Rings
Matilda the Musical
TitleArtistic Director of The Old Vic (2015–present)
SpouseLauren Ward

Matthew Warchus (born 24 October 1966) is an English theatre director, filmmaker and dramaturg.[1][2] He has been the Artistic Director of London's The Old Vic since September 2015.[3]

Early life and education

Warchus grew up in Selby, North Yorkshire where he attended Selby High School.[4] He majored in music at Bristol University and studied in the school's department of drama.[5][6]


Warchus has directed for the National Youth Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera in the West End and on Broadway. He won the Globe's Most Promising Newcomer Award for Much Ado About Nothing in the West End, the Evening Standard Best Director award, and Olivier Award nominations for Henry V and Volpone.[citation needed]

Productions include Sejanus his Fall (Edinburgh), "Master Harold"...and the Boys (Bristol Old Vic), The Suicide, Coriolanus (National Youth Theatre), Life is a Dream, Plough and the Stars(West Yorkshire Playhouse), True West, (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Donmar Warehouse, Broadway), Henry V, The Devil is an Ass, Hamlet (RSC), Volpone (RNT), Troilus and Cressida (Opera North), Rake's Progress (Welsh National Opera), Falstaff (Opera North & ENO), and Art (West End and Broadway).

His 1997 productions of Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre and Falstaff at the English National Opera have been nominated for several Olivier Awards including Best Director. Hamlet was also seen at the Brooklyn Academy in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.[citation needed]

Warchus directed Yasmina Reza's plays The Unexpected Man (RSC) and Life x 3 (National Theatre) in London and New York (at, respectively, the Promenade Theatre and Circle in the Square Theatre). In 1999, he completed his debut feature film – an adaptation of Sam Shepard's play Simpatico – which he co-wrote and directed, starring Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges, Albert Finney and Sharon Stone. In 2000 he directed Sam Shepard's True West starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly. In 2002 he directed Our House, at the Cambridge Theatre, a new musical written by Tim Firth featuring the music of Madness which won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

In 2007 he directed The Lord of the Rings, the stage adaptation of the novel The Lord of the Rings, which played at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane from May 2007 to July 2008 and which he wrote the music and book for. It was the most expensive stage production ever at the time of its debut. In 2008 he directed David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, starring Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum and Alan Ayckbourn's trilogy of plays The Norman Conquests at London's The Old Vic, and Boeing Boeing at New York's Broadhurst Theatre for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play.

During the 2009 Broadway season, Warchus directed two productions. One was the critically lauded, 2009 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Play transfer of his Old Vic production of The Norman Conquests, for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play. The other was the 2009 Tony Award winner for Best Play, Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage, for which Warchus won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play.[7]

In 2010, Warchus directed the acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company musical Matilda, with a book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, which transferred to the West End in October 2011 at the Cambridge Theatre, before opening at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway in March 2013. The musical has since gone on to tour the US, Australia and New Zealand, winning multiple awards with a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and Best Director for Warchus.[8]

Warchus's production of Ghost: The Musical, a stage adaptation of the Academy Award winning 1990 film Ghost, premiered at the Manchester Opera House in March 2011, and opened at the West End's Piccadilly Theatre in July 2011 and closed on 6 October 2012. The show transferred to Broadway beginning at the Lunt Fontanne Theater on 15 March 2012 and closed on 18 August 2012. Ghost The Musical was on tour in UK and USA in 2013 while also playing in Budapest. It opened in Korea in November 2013.

His film Pride was selected to be screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival,[9] where it won the Queer Palm award on 23 May 2014.

A film adaptation of Matilda the Musical based on the stage musical, also directed by Warchus with screenplay by Dennis Kelly and songs by Tim Minchin was released by Netflix on 23 November 2022 in the United Kingdom and 9 December 2022 in the United States.

Artistic director of The Old Vic (2015 to present)

In May 2014 Warchus was appointed Artistic Director of The Old Vic in London,[10] succeeding Kevin Spacey.

His first season began in September 2015 directing a new play, Future Conditional by Tamsin Oglesby, starring Rob Brydon. In 2016 he also directed The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen starring Ralph Fiennes, The Caretaker by Harold Pinter starring Timothy Spall, Daniel Mays and George Mackay, and the world premiere of the new musical Groundhog Day with book by Danny Rubin and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin.[11] The musical ran for 8 weeks from July to September 2016 before transferring to the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway from April to September 2017.

His second season saw him direct the 20th anniversary revival of 'Art' starring Rufus Sewell, Tim Key and Paul Ritter from December 2016 to February 2017 (followed by UK tours in 2018 and 2019). He also directed a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Jack Thorne starring Rhys Ifans as Scrooge for Christmas 2017, and returned for Christmas 2018 starring Stephen Tompkinson as Scrooge.

In 2019 he directed a revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter starring Andrew Scott, followed by Duncan Macmillan's Lungs starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith before a return of A Christmas Carol starring Paterson Joseph as Scrooge. His production of A Christmas Carol was also performed on Broadway over the 2019-20 festive season at the Lyceum Theatre starring Campbell Scott as Scrooge, with Andrea Martin and LaChanze.

In 2020, Warchus was planned to direct Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles starring Eileen Atkins and Timothée Chalamet in April to May 2020, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production has been postponed with the rescheduled dates to be announced. Also his production of Lungs which was due to transfer with Claire Foy and Matt Smith reprising their roles to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York in March to April 2020 was also cancelled due to the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic a series called Old Vic: in Camera began broadcasting performances from the empty auditorium of The Old Vic live to audiences around the world via Zoom, beginning with a social distanced version of Lungs with Claire Foy and Matt Smith returning. This was followed by a two new plays; Three Kings by Stephen Beresford starring Andrew Scott, Faith Healer by Brian Friel starring Michael Sheen, David Threlfall and Indira Varma followed by A Christmas Carol (which was due to return for a fourth consecutive season) starring Andrew Lincoln as Scrooge.

Personal life

Warchus is married to American actress Lauren Ward, who played the role of Miss Honey in the Stratford-upon-Avon, London, and Broadway productions of Matilda the Musical.[12] Ward and Warchus met when he directed her in the 2001 revival of Follies on Broadway.[13] They have three children.[14]


Theatre credits

Year Title Playwright Theatre
1992 Much Ado About Nothing William Shakespeare Queen's Theatre
1992 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee West Yorkshire Playhouse
1992 Fiddler on the Roof Jerry Bock
Sheldon Harnick
Joseph Stein
West Yorkshire Playhouse
1993 The Plough and the Stars Seán O'Casey West Yorkshire Playhouse
1994 Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller West Yorkshire Playhouse
1994 Betrayal Harold Pinter West Yorkshire Playhouse


True West Sam Shepard West Yorkshire Playhouse
Donmar Warehouse
Circle in the Square Theatre
1995 Henry V William Shakespeare Royal Shakespeare Company
Barbican Theatre
1995 Volpone Ben Jonson Royal National Theatre, Olivier
1995 Peter Pan J. M. Barrie West Yorkshire Playhouse
1997 Hamlet William Shakespeare Royal Shakespeare Company
US tour
Art Yasmina Reza Wyndham's Theatre
Whitehall Theatre
Royale Theatre
The Old Vic
2000 The Unexpected Man Yasmina Reza Royal Shakespeare Company
Duchess Theatre
Promenade Theatre
Life x 3 Yasmina Reza Royal National Theatre, Lyttleton
The Old Vic
UK tour
Savoy Theatre
Circle in the Square Theatre
2001 Follies Stephen Sondheim
James Goldman
Belasco Theatre
2002 The Winter's Tale William Shakespeare Royal Shakespeare Company
Our House Madness
Tim Firth
Cambridge Theatre
UK tour
2003 Tell Me on a Sunday Andrew Lloyd Webber
Don Black
Gielgud Theatre
UK tour
2004 Endgame Samuel Beckett Albery Theatre
2004 Buried Child Sam Shepard Royal National Theatre, Lyttleton
The Lord of the Rings A. R. Rahman
Christopher Nightingale

Shaun McKenna
Matthew Warchus

Princess of Wales Theatre
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Boeing-Boeing Marc Camoletti Comedy Theatre
Longacre Theatre
2008 Speed-the-Plow David Mamet The Old Vic
God of Carnage Yasmina Reza Gielgud Theatre
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
The Norman Conquests Alan Ayckbourn The Old Vic
Circle in the Square Theatre
2010 La Bête David Hirson Comedy Theatre
Music Box Theatre
2010 Deathtrap Ira Levin Noël Coward Theatre
2010 to present Matilda the Musical Dennis Kelly
Tim Minchin
Royal Shakespeare Company, Courtyard Theatre
Cambridge Theatre
Shubert Theatre
Ghost Dave Stewart
Glen Ballard
Bruce Joel Rubin
Manchester Opera House
Piccadilly Theatre
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
2015 Future Conditional Tamsin Ogleby The Old Vic
2016 The Master Builder Henrik Ibsen The Old Vic
2016 The Caretaker Harold Pinter The Old Vic


Groundhog Day Danny Rubin
Tim Minchin
The Old Vic
August Wilson Theatre

Princess Theatre

2017 to present A Christmas Carol Jack Thorne The Old Vic
Lyceum Theatre
Comedy Theatre
2019 Present Laughter Noël Coward The Old Vic
2019 Lungs Duncan Macmillan The Old Vic
2025 Oedipus Ella Hickson The Old Vic

Awards and nominations

Olivier Awards

Year Category Nominated work Result
1996 Best Director Volpone and Henry V Nominated
1997 Art Nominated
1998 Hamlet Nominated
2012 Matilda Won
2017 Groundhog Day Nominated

Tony Awards

Year Category Nominated work Result
1998 Best Direction of a Play Art Nominated
2000 True West Nominated
2008 Boeing-Boeing Nominated
2009 The Norman Conquests Nominated
God of Carnage Won
2013 Best Direction of a Musical Matilda Nominated
2017 Groundhog Day Nominated

Drama Desk Awards

Year Category Nominated work Result
2001 Outstanding Director of a Play The Unexpected Man Nominated
2008 Boeing-Boeing Nominated
2009 The Norman Conquests Won
2013 Outstanding Director of a Musical Matilda Nominated

Outer Critics Circle Awards

Year Category Nominated work Result
1998 Outstanding Director of a Play Art Nominated
2009 The Norman Conquests Won
2017 Outstanding Director of a Play Groundhog Day Nominated

British Independent Film Awards

Year Category Nominated work Result
2014 Best Director Pride Nominated


  1. ^ Profile of Matthew Warchus in The New York Times
  2. ^ "Matthew Warchus Biography (1966-)".
  3. ^ The Old Vic's new artistic director Matthew Warchus on succeeding Kevin Spacey, Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard, London, 1 September 2015. Retrieved: 6 October 2016.
  4. ^ Maxwell, Dominic (26 January 2024). "Matthew Warchus: meet the young man in charge of the Old Vic". Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  5. ^ Wolf, Matt. "THEATER; A Miniaturist Fitting a Gem Into a Smaller New Setting". NY Times. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  6. ^ Koltès, Bernard-Marie. "University of Bristol Drama Department puts on Roberto Zucco". BBC. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  7. ^ IBDb profile Archived 9 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Olivier Winner Bertie Carvel to Reprise Role as Evil Headmistress Miss Trunchbull in Matilda on Broadway".
  9. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (22 April 2014). "Cannes Directors' Fortnight 2014 lineup unveiled". Screendaily. Screen International.
  10. ^ "Matthew Warchus to replace Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic". The Stage. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Groundhog Day musical: Tim Minchin to write lyrics with Matilda collaborators also attached". The Independent. 6 April 2015. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  12. ^ Billington, Michael (10 December 2010). "Matilda – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  13. ^ Wolf, Matt. "THEATER; Wanted: American Actors With a Taste for Fish and Chips". NY Times. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  14. ^ Healy, Patrick (22 July 2009). "After the Tony, Two Musical Encores". NY Times. Retrieved 26 January 2024.