Sean Foley is an actor, writer and director – a multi Olivier Award winner, he has uniquely been nominated for the UK’s most prestigious theatre awards in all three categories. His most recent credits include his Olivier Award winning production of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, (Duke of York’s – Best New Comedy 2014). His RSC debut in 2013, adapting and directing Thomas Middleton’s A Mad World My Masters, (Swan Theatre), was a critical and popular hit, and will be revived on tour and at The Barbican in 2015. He directed the new musical comedy I Can’t Sing!, (London Palladium 2014); his successful West End revival of The Ladykillers (Vaudeville 2013), followed his original production at the Gielgud starring Peter Capaldi – the show was a commercial and critical smash hit, gaining 5 Olivier nominations, including Best Director and Best New Play. It also won the Whatsonstage Award for Best New Comedy 2013. In 2012 he adapted and directed the world premiere of The Painkiller, starring Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon.
Sean made his directorial debut whilst working with Harold Pinter on Pinter’s People at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2007. Later that year he played Sigmund Freud in a major revival of Terry Johnson’s farce Hysteria at Birmingham Rep. He played opposite Mark Rylance in I Am Shakespeare at Chichester in 2008, before returning to directing with Joan Rivers on her autobiographical show Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress. He wrote and directed Arturo Brachetti’s Change, Garrick Theatre 2009, which was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment 2010. He starred in and co-directed The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound at Chichester in 2010 – the hit of their season – before directing Armstrong and Miller Live, a sell out UK-wide live tour of the BAFTA winning comedy duo. In 2012 he directed Joe Orton’s black farce What the Butler Saw at the Vaudeville Theatre, and a four person version of Ben Hur at The Watermill, Newbury.
As founder and co-Artistic Director of the The Right Size, 1989 – 2006, he originated, co-wrote and starred in a series of self-produced shows – Que Sera, The Bath, Flight To Finland, Moose, Penny Dreadful, Baldy Hopkins, Stop Calling Me Vernon, Hold Me Down, Do You Come Here Often? and Bewilderness – creating a style that mixed European physical theatre, physical comedy, and British Variety, to produce nationally and internationally acclaimed comic theatre. The Right Size toured to over 25 countries, winning many international awards. Their 1999 co-production with the Almeida Theatre of Mr Puntila And His Man Matti by Bertolt Brecht in a new version by Lee Hall and directed by Kathryn Hunter played sold-out runs at the Traverse, Edinburgh, and the Almeida Theatre before transferring to the Albery Theatre. Do You Come Here Often? (Vaudeville Theatre) won the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment 2000. He also co-wrote and starred in The Play What I Wrote at Wyndhams Theatre which won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy 2002 and was directed by Kenneth Branagh. Sean was also nominated with Hamish McColl for the Best Actor Olivier Award. The show transferred to Broadway for a five month run at the Lyceum Theatre and was nominated for aTony Award in 2003. Ducktastic at the Albery Theatre was also directed by Kenneth Branagh and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment 2006.
As an actor he has appeared in a number of TV comedies, including People Like Us, The Fitz, Wild West, Brass Eye, and Foley and McColl – This Way Up. He was ‘The Man’ in Karel Reisz’s last film, Act Without Words, a cinematic treatment of Samuel Beckett’s short play (RTE/C4).
On radio: The Government Inspector, The Goldfish Bowl, Book of the Week. He voiced Reynard the Fox in the recent Harry Hill movie and, amongst a number of still-to-be-announced projects, Sean is directing Around The World In 80 Days, a multi-media ‘event’ theatre show based on the Jules Verne classic. It is opening in San Francisco in 2015 before touring major U.S cities.