Katie Mitchell
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Katie Mitchell

Katie Mitchell
Katie Mitchell, 2016.jpg
Katie Mitchell in 2016
Katrina Jane Mitchell

(1964-09-23) 23 September 1964 (age 55)
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford
OccupationTheatre director

Katrina Jane Mitchell (born 23 September 1964), better known as Katie Mitchell, is an English theatre director.

Life and career

Mitchell was born in Reading, Berkshire,[1] raised in Hermitage, Berkshire, and educated at Oakham School. Upon leaving Oakham she went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, to read English. She is particularly inspired by Eastern European theatre and by choreographers such as Pina Bausch and Siobhan Davies.[2]

She began her career behind the scenes at the King's Head Theatre in London before taking on work as an assistant director at theatre companies including Paines Plough and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).[2] Early in her career she directed a number of early productions under the umbrella of her company Classics On A Shoestring.

In 1997 Mitchell became responsible for programming at The Other Place, the RSC's now defunct black box theatre. While at the RSC her productions included The Phoenician Women which won her the Evening Standard Award for Best Director in 1996.

In 2004 she was an Associate of the Royal National Theatre.[3]

Her frequent collaborators include writer Martin Crimp, composer Paul Clark and designer Vicki Mortimer.

She wrote The Director's Craft. A Handbook for the Theatre, a book in which she outlines her methods of directing.[4]The Director's Craft was published by Routledge in 2009.

Mitchell staged a new production of Luigi Nono's Al gran sole carico d'amore for the Salzburg Festival in 2009,[5] and a new production of James MacMillan's and Michael Symmons Roberts' Parthenogenesis at the Royal Opera House in June 2009.[6]

The Department of Theatre and Performance at the Victoria and Albert Museum invited Mitchell and Leo Warner of 59 Productions to conceive and produce a video installation exploring the nature of 'truth in performance'.[7] Taking as its inspiration 5 of the most influential European theatre directors of the last century, the project examines how each of the practitioners would direct the actress playing Ophelia in the famous 'mad' scenes in Shakespeare's Hamlet. This multiscreen video installation, launched at the Chantiers Europe festival at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris on 4 June, and opened at the V&A on 12 July 2011.[8]

According to general manager Peter Gelb, Mitchell was scheduled to direct a future production of Mozart's opera Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera House.[9]


Mitchell has been described as "a director who polarises audiences like no other" and "the closest thing the British theatre has to an auteur".[10] In 2007, the artistic director of the NT accused the British press of affording Mitchell's productions "misogynistic reviews, where everything they say is predicated on her sex".[11]

Her productions have been described as "distinguished by the intensity of the emotions, the realism of the acting, and the creation of a very distinctive world"[12] and accused of "a willful disregard for classic texts",[2] but Mitchell suggests that "there's a signature in every director's work"[12] and that it is not her intent to work to a "strong personal signature".[10]

Mitchell's process involves long and intensive rehearsal periods[13] and use of the Stanislavski's system.[14] She regularly involves psychiatry in looking at characters, and in 2004 directed a series of workshops on Stanislavski and neuroscience at the NT studio.[15] Since her 2006 play Waves, she has also experimented with video projections in a number of productions.[2]

In January 2011 she was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.[16]

Personal life

She has a daughter Edie, born 2006.[17]


A former associate director at the Royal Court Theatre, Mitchell was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.[18]

In September 2017, she was awarded the President's Medal of the British Academy "for her work to enhance the presentation of classic and contemporary theatre and opera through innovative new production".[19]

Selected directing credits


  1. ^ "Gemeinsame Normdatei". dnb.de. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Higgins, Charlotte (24 November 2007). "The cutting edge". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ Heather Neill (June 2004). "NT Associates" (Web). Go Backstage: Department Profiles. National Theatre. Retrieved 2008.[dead link]
  4. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (14 January 2016). "Katie Mitchell, British theatre's queen in exile | Charlotte Higgins". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Salzburger Festspiele / Oper". archive.salzburgerfestspiele.at.
  6. ^ Christiansen, Rupert (22 June 2009). "Opera Parthenogenesis Britten Sinfonia/ROH2 at Linbury Studio, review". telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 September 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "Five Truths - 59 Productions". Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "Five Truths". vam.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ "August 2012". This Month at the Met. 6 August 2012. Sirius XM. Metropolitan Opera Radio.
  10. ^ a b "Katie Mitchell: 'I'd hate to hang around making theatre when they're tired of it'". The Independent. London. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 2010.
  11. ^ Hoyle, Ben (14 May 2007). "Dead white men in the critics chair scorning work of women directors". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Time Out interviews Katie Mitchell, Director of 'Women of Troy' at the National Theatre". Time Out London. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (30 October 2006). "From heroine to villainess". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010.
  14. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (14 January 2016). "Katie Mitchell, British theatre's queen in exile". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ http://unitedagents.co.uk/film/directors/bijan-shebani/[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Private Passions - BBC Radio 3". BBC. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ Durrant, Sabine (27 November 2010). "On the children's menu". theguardian.com. Archived from the original on 28 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 11.
  19. ^ "From popflock.com resource to Roman coins: British Academy recognises excellence in the humanities and social sciences". The British Academy. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ The Seagull review by Michael Billington, The Guardian, 28 June 2006

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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