Although you may not know his name, you certainly know his work. English film and stage director and producer Stephen Daldry has worked on a number of critically-acclaimed and award-winning pieces, including Billy Elliot, The Hours–starring Meryl Streep–and Netflix’s The Crown. He has directed plays that have opened in London’s West End, the Royal National Theatre, and on Broadway. Daldry even created elements of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for 2012 London Olympics and is even slated to direct the film adaptation of the hit musical, Wicked. This prolific artist is also highly recognized for directing the revival of the famous play, An Inspector Calls, which is coming to ArtsEmerson this spring.
Daldry got his start in theatre at a young age, performing in a number of youth groups in his hometown of Somerset, England. His love of theatre only become more prevalent as Daldry got older, even serving as the chairman of the Sheffield University Theatre Group. After graduation, he trained as an actor for a short time before beginning work at the Crucible Theatre, launching him into the English theatre scene. Daldry began directing for the stage in the late 1980s at the Gate Theater in London, where he earned incredible reviews for his production of Damned in Despair. The critical success of this show eventually led to Daldry becoming the Artistic Director of both the Gate Theatre and world-famous Royal Court Theatre.
In 1992, Daldry received international acclaim for his restaging of J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton Theatre. Daldry took a new artistic approach to this show–referencing the 1940s, when the play was written, as well as the early 1900s, when the play is set–a decision that won him a number of awards and honors, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Revival in 1993 and a London Critics Circle Award. Since An Inspector Calls was so well-received in London’s West End, the show was moved to Broadway in 1994, where it won additional awards such as the Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play and the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
His successful career as a stage director eventually brought Daldry to the film industry and in 2000, he directed his first feature-length film, Billy Elliot. The movie was hugely successful among audiences and critics alike and earned Daldry an Academy Award nomination for Best Director and a BAFTA Award for Best British Film. In 2009, Daldry directed a stage version of his film, earning him yet another Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.
Stephen Daldry’s film career continued with movies like The Hours and The Reader, both awarding him Academy Award nominations for Best Director, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which was nominated for Best Picture at the 2012 Academy Awards. In 2017, Daldry directed a number of episodes for Netflix’s hit series The Crown and also serves as a producer for the show. His involvement with this show earned him yet another directing accolade–the Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series–as well as a Golden Globe for Best Television Series Drama.
There is no doubt that Stephen Daldry has made a name for himself as one of the most outstanding stage directors and filmmakers in the last few decades. Audiences around the world should be prepared to see much more of this creative director, writer, and producer–whether it is on stage or perhaps, on screen with the new Wicked movie. Until his next project comes out, be sure not to miss Daldry’s world-renowned revival of An Inspector Calls, playing at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre from March 14-24, 2019.