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Stephen Daldry
Daldry in 2013
Stephen David Daldry

(1960-05-02) 2 May 1960 (age 64)
Dorset, England
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield
East 15 Acting School, University of Essex
Occupation(s)Director, producer
Years active1985–present
Lucy Sexton
(m. 2001)
AwardsFull list

Stephen David Daldry CBE (born 2 May 1960)[citation needed] is an English director and producer of film, theatre, and television. He has won three Tony Awards for his work on Broadway and an Olivier Award for his work in the West End. He has received three Academy Awards nominations for Best Director, for the films Billy Elliot (2000), The Hours (2002), and The Reader (2008).

From 2016 to 2020, he produced and directed the Netflix television series The Crown, for which he received one Producers Guild Award nomination, one Producers Guild Award win, two Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and one Primetime Emmy Award win for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Drama Series. Daldry joined an elite group of directors by receiving nominations for direction in theatre, television, and film.

Early years

Daldry was born in Dorset, the son of singer Cherry (née Thompson) and bank manager Patrick Daldry.[1] The family moved to Taunton, Somerset, where his father died of cancer when Daldry was aged 14.[2]

Daldry joined a youth theatre group in Taunton, Somerset.[3] and performed as Sandy Tyrell in Hay Fever for the local amateur society, Taunton Thespians. At age 18, he won a Royal Air Force scholarship to read English at the University of Sheffield, where he became chairman of the Sheffield University Theatre Group.[4]

After graduation, he spent a year travelling through Italy, where he became a clown's apprentice.[citation needed] He then trained as an actor on the postgraduate course at East 15 Acting School from 1982 to 1983, now part of the University of Essex.[citation needed]


Daldry began his career as an apprentice at the Sheffield Crucible from 1985 to 1988, working under artistic director Clare Venables. He also headed productions at the Manchester Library Theatre, Liverpool Playhouse, Stratford East, Oxford Stage, Brighton and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre from 1992 to 1998, where he headed the £26 million development scheme. He was also Artistic Director of London's Gate Theatre (1989–92) and the Metro Theatre Company (1984–86). He is currently on the Board of the Young and Old Vic Theatres and remains an Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre. He was the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre for 2002 at St Catherine's College, Oxford.[5]

Daldry made his feature film directorial debut with Billy Elliot (2000), which launched the film career of Jamie Bell. His next film was The Hours, which earned Nicole Kidman her first Best Actress win at the Academy Awards. He went on to direct a stage musical adaptation of Billy Elliot, and in 2009 his work earned him a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. He has also made a film version of The Reader (2008), based on the book of the same name and starring Kate Winslet, David Kross and Ralph Fiennes. The film won Best Actress at the Academy Awards for Kate Winslet. Daldry's fourth film was Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, an adaptation of the book of the same name written by Jonathan Safran Foer, starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Max von Sydow. The screenplay was written by Eric Roth. The film received a nomination for Best Picture at the 84th Academy Awards and a nomination for von Sydow for Best Supporting Actor.[6]

Daldry was initially slated to direct a Star Wars spin off film about the iconic Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi but the film was later scrapped due to the commercial failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story with Daldry saying the cancellation of the film crushed him and Hossein Amini. However, ideas from Daldry's originally planned film were repurposed for the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney + limited series directed by Deborah Chow and released in 2022 for which Daldry received credit as a consulting producer.[7] In July 2022, it was revealed that Daldry would work with Sonia Friedman to develop a play based on the hit Netflix television show Stranger Things.[8] The play entitled Stranger Things: The First Shadow premiered in December 2023 at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End.

Personal life

Daldry was in a relationship with set designer Ian MacNeil for 13 years.[9] They met at an outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland in Lancaster in 1988, and after settling in Camberwell, began collaborating on theatrical productions.[10][11]

Greatly impacted[clarification needed] by the September 11 attacks in the United States, Daldry decided he wanted to start a family and married American performance artist and magazine editor Lucy Sexton, with whom he has a daughter.[12][13] Despite this, he continues to refer to himself as gay because the public "[doesn't] like confusion"[14] although he has also suggested that they married so he could get health insurance.



Year Title Distribution
1998 Eight short film
2000 Billy Elliot Universal Pictures
2002 The Hours Miramax Films
2008 The Reader The Weinstein Company
2011 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Warner Bros. Pictures
2014 Trash Universal Pictures
2021 Together BBC Film / Bleecker Street


Year Title Notes
2012 Games of the XXX Olympiad Opening Ceremony "Isles of Wonder"
2012 Games of the XXX Olympiad Closing Ceremony "A Symphony of British Music"
2016–23 The Crown 5 episodes
2022 Obi-Wan Kenobi Consulting Producer



Year Title Theatre
1994 An Inspector Calls Booth Theatre
1999 Via Dolorosa
2008 Billy Elliot: The Musical Imperial Theatre
2015 Skylight John Golden Theatre
The Audience Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
2019-20 The Inheritance Ethel Barrymore Theater
2024-25 Stranger Things: The First Shadow Theatre TBA


Detailed theatreography

Awards and honours

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Stephen Daldry


  1. ^ "Stephen Daldry Biography". Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  2. ^ "ENTERTAINMENT | Stephen Daldry: From stage to screen". BBC News. 13 March 2001. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  3. ^ Kellaway, Kate (8 December 2002). "Stephen Daldry: He'll turn his hand to anything". The Guardian. London, UK.
  4. ^ Kellaway, Kate (8 December 2002). "Stephen Daldry: He'll turn his hand to anything". The Guardian. London, UK.
  5. ^ "St. Catherine's College Oxford | 2002". Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  6. ^ "THE 84TH ACADEMY AWARDS | 2012". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  7. ^ "'Obi-Wan Kenobi' was originally planned as a film trilogy, but 'Solo' disappointment killed the idea". 28 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Stranger Things spin-offs to include play made by British theatre duo". BBC News. 7 July 2022. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  9. ^ The Broadway League. "Stephen Daldry". IBDB. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  10. ^ "HOW WE MET: STEPHEN DALDRY AND IAN MACNEIL". 21 April 1996. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022.
  11. ^ League, The Broadway. "Ian MacNeil – Broadway Cast & Staff – IBDB".
  12. ^ Giltz, Michael (18 March 2003). "The golden Hours". The Advocate. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
  13. ^ "Stephen Daldry". Matt & Andrej Koymasky – The Living Room – Biographies. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
  14. ^ Wood, Gaby (14 June 2009). "How Britain became the toast of Broadway". The Observer. London.