Drew McOnie has been named the new artistic director and joint chief executive of Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. He will start his tenure with the company in January 2024, joining Executive Director James Pidgeon.
McOnie succeeds Tim Sheader in the role, following the news that Sheader will take the reigns at London's Donmar Warehouse. The move will see McOnie taking on a larger role at the company with which he already has a long relationship. He directed and choreographed Regent's Park's Olivier-nominated revival of On the Town, and choreographed its Carousel and Jesus Christ Superstar, both directed by Sheader. The latter has been one of the company's biggest successes, later transferring to London's West End and currently touring both the U.S. and U.K.
"For me there is nowhere in London where the shared experience of live theatre is more electric than at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre," says McOnie in a statement. "It captured my imagination and stole my heart from my very first visit. I believe it’s because of the audience’s direct connection with the performers, each knowing equally that anything could happen and together they will experience something that its relationship with nature may make totally different the following day. It’s a magical setting to experience magical stories together.
"Long before becoming a director and choreographer I was a dancer, and it was widely known within the performing community that Regent’s Park was the place to work. This wasn’t just because of the exceptional standard of work being created but also because of the care and support for its artists. Under the inspiring leadership of Tim Sheader, I was able to become the artist I wanted to be, and I am committed to continuing that legacy of care and creativity for artists and audiences alike.
"I am so excited to be joining forces with the brilliant James Pidgeon and can’t wait to begin writing the next chapter of this special venue’s story.”
“Drew McOnie is an exemplary and well-respected artist who will continue the Open Air Theatre’s long-standing commitment to creating exceptional, enriching, and unexpected theatre at scale whilst also bringing a new artistic vision and identity to the organization that enhances our relevance and reputation," adds Pidgeon. "I very much look forward to working with him to lead the organization and our incredibly talented team through this next exciting chapter of growth and development.”
McOnie made his Broadway debut in 2018, directing and choreographing King Kong. He is an Olivier winner for choreographing the original West End run of In the Heights.