Tom Morris OBE (born 22 June 1964) is an English theatre director, writer and producer. He was the Artistic Director at BAC (Battersea Arts Centre) from 1995 to 2004, he has been Associate Director at the National Theatre since 2004 and Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic since 2009.[1]

Early life and education

Morris was born in 1964. He is the younger brother of satirist Chris Morris. He was educated at Stonyhurst College, a Jesuit boys' boarding independent school in Lancashire in north west England, and then read English Literature at Pembroke College, Cambridge, from 1983 to 1986.[1][2]


From 1988 to 1994, Morris taught English Literature and worked in broadcasting and journalism, as a critic and feature-writer for The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Observer, and appeared on BBC television and radio programmes Kaleidoscope, Night Waves and The Late Show.[3]

During this period he also founded Stage of Fools with Nick Vivian and Nick Sweeting, writing, acting and directing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on tour.

In 1995, Morris became Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), staying until 2004 when he joined the National Theatre. While at BAC, Morris established the Scratch Programme,[4] The Sam Shepherd Festival, The Critics Up for Review, The British Festival of Visual Theatre, Playing in the Dark[5] (which marked the launch of Vanishing Point and Sound and Fury and included the first scratch version of Complicite's Mnemonic) and BAC Opera (which produced Jerry Springer: The Opera). While at BAC he also wrote Ben Hur, Jason and the Argonauts and World Cup Final 1966 all with Carl Heap.

In September 2009 Morris took over as Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic theatre, overseeing the theatre's revival with Executive Director Emma Stenning. Morris and Stenning expanded the Old Vic's Outreach Programme into every part of the City, set up the widely imitated artist development programme, the Bristol Ferment, and restored the theatre's national and international reputation with West End transfers and national & international touring for Swallows and Amazons,[6] A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jane Eyre[7] and Peter Pan (both of which were re-created for the National Theatre) and festivals such as Bristol Jam and Bristol Proms. in 2010, he directed the debut production of Helen Edmundson's Swallows and Amazons at Bristol Old Vic.[8]

In 2012 Morris & Stenning oversaw the first phase of a multimillion-pound redevelopment, which included the long-awaited refurbishment of the theatre's 250 year old auditorium and creation of new office and rehearsal spaces. The second phase of redevelopment of Bristol Old Vic commenced in November 2016, designed by Steve Tompkins. The plans included an overhaul of the front of house spaces and Studio theatre, and was completed in autumn 2018.[9]

As well as directing many theatrical productions, Morris has directed and produced several operas,[2] including The Death of Klinghoffer (ENO and the Met) and a staging of Handel's Messiah (Bristol Proms, 2013).[10]

In 2011 he won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for the Broadway production of War Horse, along with co-director Marianne Elliott. Morris was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to theatre.[11]

One interviewer said of Morris: "His tastes are catholic, and frequently risky, but they can produce some of the most inspired, inventive theatre in Britain today."[3]

Tom Morris is on the board of innovating British theatre company Complicite, and is the founding chair of The JMK Trust,[12] set up in honour of James Menzies-Kitchin to provide opportunities for talented young theatre directors.

Selected productions


  1. ^ a b Powell, Lucy (22 February 2010). "Tom Morris, the brother with the brass neck". The Times. London. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Tom Morris – Writer/Director/Producer". United Agents. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b Davis, Serena (16 March 2010). "Tom Morris interview". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  4. ^ Deli, Theatre. "Theatre Deli Podcast". Theatre Delicatessen/Curving Road. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  5. ^ Theatre in the Dark. "THEATRE IN THE DARK". Battersea Arts Centre. Battersea Arts Centre. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  6. ^ Spencer, Charles (8 December 2010). "Swallows and Amazons, Bristol Old Vic, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  7. ^ Spencer, Charles (21 February 2014). "Jane Eyre, Bristol Old Vic, review". the Telegraph. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Helen Edmundson on her stage version of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS". 27 January 2012.
  9. ^ "WATCH: Bristol Old Vic reveal time lapse video of major redevelopment". ITV News. 26 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Classic FM". Classic FM.
  11. ^ "Sonia Friedman in the Queen's birthday honours list".
  12. ^ "How the JMK Trust is supporting emerging directors | Features | The Stage". The Stage. 4 July 2015.
  13. ^ Clapp, Susannah (29 January 2006). "Theatre: Nights at the Circus". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "Bristol Old Vic and Edinburgh Lyceum announce casts for Touching the Void and Twelfth Night". Whats On Stage. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.