Benet Catty is an award-winning theatre director and playwright, as well as a critically-acclaimed lighting designer and occasional teacher who has worked extensively in drama schools, where he is now focussing his career. He is also a freelance critic and journalist and much of his writing can be found on this site. His work has enjoyed 561 performances and been seen by almost 50,000 people over the last 15 years.
He has directed numerous acclaimed revivals, many new plays (several with first-time writers) variously in full scale productions, on tour and on the fringe or in staged readings or workshops; several musicals of different scales; plays of his own, five operas (including one for which he wrote the libretto) and several corporate films.
He is a regular reviewer for Whatsonstage.com and FringeReview.com amongst others and writes occasional articles for theatre programmes outside London. Many of these can now be found on this website.
Following a degree and a masters at the University of Warwick, Benet ran his own theatre company for three years, presenting revivals of modern classic American and British plays with casts of recent drama school graduates. Amongst others, he directed six productions at the Edinburgh Festival of which three won London fringe transfers and four featured on multiple Critics Choice lists.
He became a freelance director in 2002 when, following a recommendation from Mike Leigh, he was asked to direct A Handful of Rain at New End Theatre in London.
Benetís professional revivals include Boom Bang-A-Bang , Damages, Edmond, Howie the Rookie, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, The Maintenance Man, Popcorn, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, The Shawl, Shopping and F***ing, Speed-the-Plow and the musical Closer than Ever.
New plays he has directed include A Handful of Rain (New End), The Fury (Croydon), The Geezer (E15), I Really Must Be Getting Off (White Bear), Life After (New End), Next Big Thing (Old Vic), Sikhs in the City (UK tour, USA, DVD), Soul Sikher (UK tour), Still Waiting for Everything (Tour), Whatever! (Soho), Wildwood Park (Bridewell) and one-off performances of Single Fare to Zurich and Tabooed (New End), for which he won the 2009 Best Director Award from Lost Festival.
In 2014 he directed Bradley-Chelsea-Nameless for the ObamAmerica Festival at Theatre 503 in London, to which he returned later in the year to direct the long-awaited London premiere of Blind Eye, a play he had been involved in developing for over six years.
He recently directed James Martin Charlton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s short play Been on the Job Too Long for a one-off performance as part of the North London Literary Festival.
His critically acclaimed production of Romeo and Juliet at the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival closed at the end of July 2013 having been seen by more than 4,000 people. His recent critically-acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night\\\'s Dream played to nearly 5,000. His production of Twelfth Night was also much praised and was seen by 3,000 people before it closed in August 2014.
He previously directed Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night and As You Like it for the Shakespeare@Scoop Festival, and directed a staged reading of Measure for Measure on the fringe, and Phil Willmott\\\'s revised Fair Em, a play thought by some to have been written by Shakespeare, for Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
He has directed the operas Il Tabarro & Dido & Aeneas (the first of which he has also staged for two charity concerts) and the new opera The Silence of the Bees (for which he also wrote the libretto). His contemporary staging of Cosi Fan Tutte ran at the Arcola Theatre London, opening their 2013 Grimeborn Festival (for which it was the most successful production of the year).
He has directed the musicals Sweeney Todd, Sweet Charity, Chess and Closer than Ever, as well as workshop stagings of Carousel , Sunday in the Park with George and Assassins as well as numerous try outs of new work (referred to elsewhere).
Benet has worked in numerous drama schools, often multiple times.
For ArtsEd he has directed projects based on Carousel , Sunday in the Park with George (twice) and Assassins, as well as his own play Nothing Personal (for the School of Acting) and The Roald Dahl Project, created by himself. In 2015 he directed Moira Buffini\\\'s Loveplay with the graduating MA students, and is about to open The Angry Brigade in July.
For the Birmingham School of Acting he directed Timberlake Wertenbaker\\\'s Three Birds Alighting on a Field and, a year later, Howard Barker\\\'s The Castle. He directed Elizabeth Kuti\\\'s The Sugar Wife with final year students in Spring 2015, and returned in September to direct a spectacular new production of Arthur Miller\\\'s The Crucible.
At Bristol Old Vic Theatre School he directed a first reading of Phil Willmott\\\'s adaptation of Fair Em, a 1591 play thought by some to have been written by Shakespeare. He returned there in November to direct a first year text project based on Peter Shaffer\\\'s masterpiece Equus.
For Central School of Speech and Drama he has done workshops on David Mamet (several of whose plays he has directed) and developing a new musical based on the life of Mata Hari.
He staged the late Matt Parker\\\'s The Geezer for East-15.
For Year Out Drama Company in Stratford upon Avon he directed a revised version of The Roald Dahl Project followed by three American masterworks - The Laramie Project, Angels in America and Execution of Justice in successive years.
As well as working at top drama schools, Benet has also worked at the Poor School. He directed scenes for several short courses there as well as staging a first year showcase of contemporary scenes by major contemporary writers including Kevin Elyot, Lucy Kirkwood, Peter Nichols, Patrick Marber, Martin McDonagh, Frank McGuinness, Harold Pinter, Polly Stenham and Enda Walsh.
WORKSHOPS & READINGS
He has directed many workshops and semi-stagings of new musicals including City Lights at the Old Vic, Toys (for MTM:UK), Mata Hari at Central School, Knight on a Bike, Another Day in Vienna and Factor (all at Goldsmiths), and Circus A Go-Go (New End), as well as numerous staged/rehearsed readings including Blind Eye (Prince of Wales, receiving its world premiere in Lisbon in March 2014)); Histrionics/Black Dog Day (Tristan Bates); The Yellow Ticket (Giudecca); Eugene O\'Neill\\\'s Thirst and F Scott Fitzgerald\\\'s Porcelain and Pink (both at the Kings Head).
WORK WITH CHILDREN
As well as many workshops with children, Benet returned to his former school in 2008 to write and direct Making History, a multi-media play telling the story of the school in its 150th anniversary year. In his school days, he directed productions of Tom Stoppard\'s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Joshua Sobol\'s Ghetto and Peter Shaffer\\\'s The Royal Hunt of the Sun. He was the only student ever to run the drama society there, and the only one ever to direct more than once.
AS A WRITER
As a writer his plays include All Talk and Nothing Personal which he directed workshop productions of in 2005 and 2006 respectively, as well as an adaptation of Susan Hill\'s I\'m The King of the Castle which he was commissioned to write by Peter Wilson and Kenny Wax but for which the major tour (which Benet was also booked to direct) was put on ice.
All Talk won the award for Best New Writing from the Lost Festival in 2008, presented by Steven Berkoff.
His 5-minute play March was also staged as part of a festival of miniature plays.
DEAR MARJE, his biographical play about the life and letters of agony aunt Marjorie Proops, was commissioned in 2010 and received a staged reading of the play in December 2011 directed by David Grindley, with Lesley Manville, Lucy Briggs-Owen and Lloyd Hutchinson. He later adapted it as a television screenplay, which was shortlisted for a prize at BAFTA.
He is currently researching the first of three testimonial plays based around major moments in contemporary social history.
AS A JOURNALIST / THEATRE CRITIC
Benet has been a freelance theatre critic for several theatre website, particularly Whatsonstage and also Fringe Review, Broadway Baby, Gay Times and Attitude as well as for Places and Faces Magazine for which he has also written articles. He hopes to do much more of this.
He has also directed corporate films for Debenhams and the British Video Association and hopes to do more film work including his screen adaptation of All Talk.
Benet has also been the lighting designer for nearly all of his own productions as well as several for other people, frequently being cited in reviews for his work.
FACTS & STATS
His productions have been seen and admired by such luminaries of the theatre establishment as Mike Leigh, Steven Berkoff, Frank Gero, Jude Kelly, Bill Kenwright, Andrew Treagus, Jenny King, David Aukin, John Haynes, Beeban Kidron, Simon McBurney, Lee Menzies, and Nicolas Kent, plus representatives of Cameron Mackintosh, the Swansea Grand, the Tricycle, Riverside Studios, the BBC and the National.
Benet\'s work has been seen by a total audience of around 43,000 people in 561 performances to date, with 671 different actors and playing in 98 different theatres. These 79 projects comprise 59 different plays and 20 musicals/operas. Thirty of these have been British, European or world premieres, and forty-seven revivals.
Benet is always delighted to be approached about possible projects by producers and writers or to make himself available for more of his journalism work.
He also offers AUDITION COACHING to young actors approaching drama school entry or showcases. He looks forward to hearing from you.
His email can be found on his CV on this page.