Stephen Waley-Cohen
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Stephen Waley-Cohen

Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen

2009 photo of Waley-Cohen
Photo taken on 3 April 2009.
Stephen Harry Waley-Cohen

(1946-06-22) 22 June 1946 (age 73)
EducationEton and Magdalene College, Cambridge.[1][2]
OccupationTheatre producer
Pamela Doniger (?-?; 3 children)
Josie Spencer (2 children)

Sir Stephen Harry Waley-Cohen, 2nd Baronet (born 22 June 1946 in Westminster, London)[3] is an English theatre owner-manager and producer, following a career as a businessman and financial journalist. He manages the St. Martin's Theatre in London's West End and is the current producer of The Mousetrap, the world's longest running play.[4][5] He is Chairman of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) Council.[6]



Waley-Cohen was a financial journalist, at the Daily Mail from 1968-73,[3] and a founder director and publisher at Euromoney Publications (which later became Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC)[4][7] from 1969-83.[3]

He was involved with the insurance business, including as chairman of Willis Faber & Dumas (Agencies) (part of what became the Willis Group) from 1992-99,[3][8] director of the Stewart Wrightson Members Agency Ltd 1987-98[3] and chairman of Policy Portfolio plc from 1993-98.[3][9]

He was chairman of First Call Group plc from 1996-98 and of Portsmouth & Sunderland Newspaper plc from 1998-99.[3] He was a director of Exeter Preferred Capital Investment Trust plc 1992-2003.[3]


Waley-Cohen has been a theatre owner and manager since 1984 when he was Joint Chief Executive of Maybox Group, which managed the Albery (now named the Noël Coward), Criterion, Donmar Warehouse, Piccadilly, Whitehall (now Trafalgar Studios) and Wyndham's theatres, until it was sold in 1989.[3][4]

In 1989 he became managing director of the Victoria Palace Theatre,[3][4] and took on the management of the St. Martin's Theatre.[3][4] He managed the Vaudeville Theatre from 1996-2001[3][10] and the Savoy from 1997-2005.[4][11] In April 2007 he took over the Ambassadors Theatre.[3][4] In 2014, he sold the Victoria Palace to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.[12]

He became the producer of The Mousetrap in 1994.[3][5] During his time managing the St. Martin's Theatre, he had got to know The Mousetrap's producer, Peter Saunders. Waley-Cohen said, "When [Saunders] wanted to retire at the age of 80, he picked up the phone to me".[13] Mousetrap Productions, of which Waley-Cohen is the sole director, is licensed to produce the play by Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie's grandson, to whom she gave the rights to The Mousetrap when he was nine.[13]

In 1997, Waley-Cohen launched the education charity, Mousetrap Theatre Projects.[14] The charity brings disadvantaged young people into the West End to experience theatre, and runs access, education and audience development programmes. The charity had taken over 100,000 young people to the theatre by 2012.[14]


Waley-Cohen stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate in both the General Elections in 1974 for the Manchester Gorton constituency.

Appointments and honours

Waley-Cohen is Chairman of the RADA Council (a position to which he was elected in September 2007),[3][4][15] and Chairman of RADA's Development Board.[6] He was President of The Society of London Theatre from 2002-2005, having been a member since 1984 and a board member since 1993.[3][4][16] He was a Trustee of The Theatres Trust from 1998-2004.[3][4]

He is President of the JCA Charitable Foundation, which supports projects for education, agriculture and tourism in rural areas of Israel such as Galilee and the Negev.[3][17] In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.[18]

He was chairman of the British-American Project executive committee from 1989-92, and continued to have a role in its subsequent development.[3][19]

As a hereditary baronet, Waley-Cohen is styled Sir as part of his baronetcy - the title is not a knighthood.

Personal life

Waley-Cohen has three children by his first marriage, to Pamela Doniger, and two with the American sculptor Josie Spencer,[20] including the violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen,[21] composer Freya Waley-Cohen and the businessman Jack Waley-Cohen. His nephew is the successful amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen. His father, Bernard Waley-Cohen, was Lord Mayor of London.


1st a buck's head couped Argent attired Or holding in the mouth a rose slipped Gules the neck encircled by a wreath of oak Proper between four barrulets Gules (Cohen); 2nd out of a bush of fern a hind's head Proper in the mouth a rose Argent stalked and leaved also Proper (Waley).
Quarterly: 1st & 4th Argent on a chevron Gules cottised Azure between in chief two roses of the second barbed and seeded Proper and in base a buck's head couped also Proper three annulets Or (Cohen); 2nd & 3rd Argent a chevron Azure cottised Sable between in chief two eagles displayed of the last and in base on a mount Vert a hind trippant Proper (Waley).
All For The Best [22]
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bernard Waley-Cohen
(of Honeymead)



  1. ^ "Preview Family Record", Burke's Peerage. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Stephen Waley-Cohen Bt: Executive Profile & Biography", Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen, Bt Authorised Biography", Debrett's People of Today. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Victoria Palace Licenses AudienceView Ticketing Solution" Archived 18 January 2013 at, AudienceView Ticketing Company, 22 January 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen On ... Producing the Ultimate Long-runner",, 25 November 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  6. ^ a b "RADA Governance and Advisors", RADA. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  7. ^ Peter Truell, "Can 2 Magazine Cultures Find Happiness Together?", The New York Times , 6 September 1997. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Appointment At Willis Faber And Dumas", Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, 16 February 1992. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Bottom Line: Unsuitable Portfolio for investors", The Independent, 2 July 1993. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  10. ^ Mark Fox, "Theatres - Vaudeville Theatre", Nimax Theatres. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  11. ^ Alistair Smith, "ATG buys Savoy Theatre", The Stage, 12 October 2005. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  12. ^ Cameron Mackintosh buys West End's Victoria Palace and Ambassadors theatres
  13. ^ a b Valerie Lawson, "The Mousetrap a veritable money trap", The Australian Financial Review, 8 July 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Mousetrap Theatre Projects - History", Mousetrap Theatre Projects, 15 March 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  15. ^ "About RADA | Brief History" Archived 4 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine, RADA. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  16. ^ Nuala Calvi, "ATG's Squire elected SOLT president", The Stage, 28 June 2005. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  17. ^ "ICA In Israel", JCA Charitable Foundation. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  18. ^ "Five Outstanding Individuals Honored", Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Summer 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  19. ^ "Our History Cont'd", BAP. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  20. ^ Josie Spencer, biography
  21. ^ Tasmin Waley-Cohen, website
  22. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 2000.

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