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The Original Creative Team  
Ben Elton 
Book and Lyrics
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Ben Elton has without doubt established himself as the leading figure in the generation of British comedy stars that emerged in the 1980’s.

He first achieved prominence when, at the age of 23, he co-wrote the ground breaking smash hit BBC situation comedy The Young Ones. This multi award-winning show became a world-wide cult and the 1984 book of the series was the biggest seller in Britain that year. Ben went on to write for all the principal comedians of his generation, including Lenny Henry, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson and Harry Enfield with hit series such as Happy Families, Filthy Rich and  Catflap.

In 1985 Ben began his phenomenally successful writing partnership with Richard Curtis. Together they wrote Blackadder 2, Blackadder The third and Blackadder Goes Forth, shows which were showered with awards, including four BAFTAs and an Emmy, and achieved vast audiences all over the world. Ben and Richard also wrote Rowan’s 1986 hit stage show The New Review.

In 1995, Ben wrote and produced The Thin Blue Line, which again starred Rowan Atkinson. It achieved record audience figures for a new sitcom and went onto win the British Comedy Award for the Best New Comedy Series, also picking up both the Public and Professional Jury Awards at Riems.

In 1988 Ben published his first novel, Stark. Written in Australia, Stark became an instant number one best seller and has gone on to sell well over a million copies. Two more novels followed, Gridlock in 1991 and This Other Eden in 1993. Both books also went straight to number one and are well on the way to equalling the phenomenal international sales figures of Stark. 1996 saw the publication of Ben’s fourth novel, Popcorn, which went straight to the number one spot in the best seller’s list and remained in the Top 20 for a further six months. The Crime Writers Association of Great Britain awarded Ben the Gold Dagger Award for Fiction in November 1996 and Popcorn was nominated as Book of the Year by the Booksellers Association. His novel Blast From The Past was released in September 1998 and his latest one Inconceivable was released in October last year.

Ben’s ambitions were originally theatrical, he studied Drama at Manchester University and, in 1990 he returned to the theatre with his first stage play, Gasping, which ran for nine and a half months at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket in the West End. This huge success was followed immediately by Ben’s second play, Silly Cow, which kept the Haymarket Theatre full for a further eight months.

The stage play of his novel, Popcorn, successfully premiered at the Nottingham Playhouse before transferring to the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Popcorn opened to rave reviews at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London in April 1997. Having won the TMA Barclays Theatre Award for Best New Play in 1997, Popcorn has since won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Popcorn toured nationally from September 1998 closing in May 1999. Blast From The Past successfully premiered at the West Yorkshire playhouse in March 1998.

In 1992 Ben began his acting career, starring in his own adaptation of his novel, Stark. This was co-produced by ABC and filmed entirely in Australia. It was directed by Nadia Tass. Also that year Ben appeared alongside Michael Keaton as Verges in Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed feature film, Musch Ado About Nothing. In 1999 Ben directed his first feature film, Maybe Baby, the screenplay being based on his novel Inconceivable.

Despite his many successes as a writer, it is as a stand-up comedian that Ben is best known. Starting at the London Comedy Store in 1981, he got his big break in 1986 when he began to host Channel Four’s cult hit Saturday Live. Ben of course writes all his own routines and has become one of the very biggest live acts in Britain. His 1994 UK tour lasted 112 dates during which Ben played to over a quarter of a million people while his second television series of The Man From Auntie achieved a regular audience of seven million viewers. Through April and May of last year The Ben Elton Show was broadcast on BBC1 and received excellent viewer ratings.

Ben’s latest UK tour began in November 1996 and finished 80 dates later at the end of March 1997. His tour of Australia and New Zealand started in Auckland at the end of April 1997 and was a complete sell out. Ben also hosted the BRIT Awards on 24 February 1997 and was asked back to present them the following year on 9 February 1998. His latest video, Ben Elton Live 1997, was released by Ovation Entertainment and Ben Elton Live is also available on audio book format from Penguin Audio books.

Robert Carsen 
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Robert Carsen was born in Canada and trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

His work includes Eugene Onegin (The Met), Dialogues Des Carmelites (Amsterdam), a Puccini cycle for Flanders Opera, a Verdi-Shakespeare trilogy for Cologne, Lohengrin, I Capuletie I Montecchi, Nabucco, Manon Lescaut (Paris), Cendrillon (WNO); Figaro (Bordeaux and Paris), Jerusalem (Vienna), Mefistofele, Faust (Geneva), Lucia Di Lammermoor (Munich and Zurich), Semele (ENO and Aix Festival), Alcina, Les Contes D’Horrmann (Paris) and Die Frau Obue Schatten (Vienna Staatsoper). Earlier successes at Aix include Die Zauberflote, Orlando and A Midsummer Night’s Dream which was also seen in seven cities in France, the Ravenna Festival and at ENO.

His theatre work includes Rosenctrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead (Roundabout Theatre, New York) and Lady Windemere’s Fam (Bristol Old Vic).

In 1996, Robert Carsen was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. His plans include Mefistofele, (The Met), Dialogues Des Carmelites (La Scala) and The Ring Cycle (Cologne).

Meryl Tankard 
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Meryl Tankard has enjoyed an unprecedented career. Her visionary style of dance theatre has placed her at the forefront of dance in Australia and has resulted in accolades around the world. Beginning her career as a member of the Australian Ballet, Tankard later moved to Europe where she performed for six years as a soloist with the acclaimed Pina Bausch Tanztheater, creating roles in Cafe Muller, Kontakhof, Arien, Keuscheitslegende, Walzer and Bandoneon.

In 1980 she played the lead role in Quak Fur Donald Mit Lieben Gruss on ZDF TV filmed in Munich and Disneyland and in 1982 she co-wrote and performed Sydney An Der Wupper, a 45 minute film which was awarded the Gold Film Band at the ’83 Berlin Film Festival. In 1983 she performed with the Lindsay Kemp Company touring Genoa, Bara and Caracas.

Tankard returned to Australia in 1984 and worked creatively in a variety of areas including film and television – she appeared in the ABC TV series Dancing Daze and in Robyn Archer’s TV production Pack Of Women. From 1984 to 1988 she performed as a guest artist with the Pina Bausch Tanztheater in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Stockholm, Athens and throughout Germany.

In 1989 she became the Artistic Director of her own company, the Meryl Tankard Company, based in Canberra. In 1993 Tankard was appointed Artistic Director of Meryl Tankard Australian Dace Theatre in Adelaide. Since 1984 she has created – Echo Point, Travelling Light, Two Feet, VX 18504, Banshee, Nuti, Kikimora, Court of Flora, Chants De Mariage I & II, Songs With Mara, Furioso, Aurora, O Let Me Weep, Rasa, Inuk, Seulle and Possessed. As well as extensive touring in Australia, Tankard took her Canberra company to Tokyo, Indonesia, Italy, China and Germany.

She was awarded the 1993 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award, the 1994 Green Room Awards in the dance categories of Direction and Design for Nuti and Kikimora, the 1994 Betty Pounder Award for Original Choreography for Nuti and The Age Performing Arts Award Best Collaboration for Orphee Et Eurydice with the Australian Opera in 1995.

In 1995 Meryl Tankard was the subject of a one hour ABC TV documentary The Black Swan which was awarded Best of Show for the Dance on Camera Film Festival in New York and has consequently been shown extensively throughout Europe. Meryl’s work continues to be enthusiastically embraced by international audiences as 1996 saw Tankard and her company invited to perform Furioso at the prestigious New York Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the Next Wave Festival, followed by performances in Minneapolis and Toronto. 1997 commenced with an incredibly successful six week European tour with sold out performances of Furioso and Songs With Mara in eleven cities throughout Germany, Belgium and Denmark.

Inuk, a major new work for the company premiered in Adelaide during June/July and as a result of its critical success toured to the Internationales Sommertheater Festival in Hamburg during August where it was awarded the 1997 Mobil Pegasus Award for Best Production in the Festival combining excellence and innovation in performance. A new work – Seulle, choreographed by Meryl Tankard – premiered at the International Barossa Music Festival. The company performed their internationally acclaimed work Furioso in Adelaide prior to their debut in France at the Cannes International Dance Festival and in La Rochelle, La Mans and Angers during December.

1998 commenced with the company performing a major new production of Possessed accompanied by the Balanescu Quartet at the Adelaide Festival of Arts. The company then embarked upon an extensive international tour taking their acclaimed productions Furioso and Inuk to Lyon, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Ludwigsburg, Zurich and Zug in Switzerland (Steps ’98 Festival), Tel Aviv and Norway (Bergen International Festival). The second half of the year the company performed a final season in Adelaide, a retrospective from 13 of Meryl’s greatest choreographic works followed by a season of Furioso in Tokyo.

1999 began with a triumphant season of Possessed performed at the Sydney Festival in an open-air venue, the Domain. During 1999 the company performed an overseas tour visiting the US, Europe and UK. The company was invited to perform at the Biennalle de la Danse du Val de Marne in France and at the Weimer Cultural Capital of Europe 1999 in Germany where they performed Furioso and Possessed.

The company performed together for the final time at Sadler’s Wells in London.

Michael Levine 
Set Design
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Michael Levine is Canadian and trained at Central School of Art and Design in London. He has worked internationally in theatre, opera, dance and film.

Theatre and Dance: Mnemonic (Theatre de Complicite, Salzburg Stadtkino, Riverside Studios); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tectonic Plates with Robert LePage (RNT); Designated Mourner (Tarragon Theatre, Toronto) and Possible Worlds (Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto) with Daniel Brooks; The Revenger’s Tragedy with Di Trevis (RSC); Marathon 33, Arms and the Man, Heartbreak House, The Women, Skin of Our Teeth, (Shaw Festival, Canada); The Housekeeper, Torquato Tasso, Impresario from Smryna, Custom of the Country (Glasgow Citizens Theatre with Robert David MacDonald); Hothouse (National Ballet of Canada); C’est Beau Çà La Vie (Dancemakers Toronto).

Opera: Michael Levine has collaborated with Robert Carsen on the following projects: Les Contes d’Hoffman (Paris Opera), Die Frau ohne Schatten, Jerusalem (Vienna State Opera), Eugene Onegin (Metropolitan Opera), Nabucco (Paris Bastille), La Bohème (Flanders Opera), Cendrillon (WNO), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Aix-en-Provence Festival, Lyon Opera, ENO), I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Geneva Opera, Paris Bastille), Mefistofele (Geneva Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Chicago Opera, San Francisco Opera, Metropolitan Opera), Dialogue des Carmélitese (Netherlands Opera and La Scala), Regina (Scottish Opera), A Night at the Chinese Opera (Santa Fe Opera). Other work includes: Rigoletto with Monique Wagemakers (Netherlands Opera); Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung with Robert LePage; Wozzeck, Idomineo, Mario and the Magician; Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms with Francois Girard (Canadian Opera Company); Mahogonny Songspeil (ENO); Don Giovanni with Tom Cairns (Belfast Opera); première of Gavin Bryer’s Dr Ox’s Experiment with Atom Egoyan (ENO).

Film: Production designer for September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill.

Awards: 1997 Toronto Arts award; Canada’s Gemini award for Best Production Design for September Songs; nominated for an Olivier award and a Tony award for Best Design with Voytek for Strange Interlude; Dora awards for Best Set and Costumes for Spring Awakening and for Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms in Toronto; Paris Critics’ Prize for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Aix en Provence); Edinburgh Festival Music and Arts award for Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung (Canadian Opera Company).

Jean Kalman 
Lighting Design
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Born in Paris, Jean Kalman has worked as a lighting designer for theatre and opera since 1979 in France, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Italy, United States and Japan.

Theatre: Credits include: Peter Brook’s The Cherry Orchard, The Mahabharata, Woza Albert, The Tempest; Pierre Audi’s Tourist Guide, Undivine Comedy, Jacob Lenz, Golem (Almeida Theatre); Richard Eyre’s Richard III, White Chameleon, Night of the Iguana, Macbeth, Prince’s Play, King Lear (RNT); Deborah Warner’s The Good Person of Setzuan, King Lear (RNT), Elektra, Hedda Gabler, Coriolanus (Salzburg), The Waste Land (Paris, New York, London); David Leveaux’ Romeo and Juliet (RSC); Robert LePage‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RNT); Sir Peter Hall’s Julius Caesar (RSC); Adrian Noble’s Little Eyolf (RSC).

Opera: Work with Robert Carsen includes: Turandot, La Bohème, Madame Butterfly, Trittico (De Viaamse Opera, Antwerp); Semele (Aix-en-Provence Festival, ENO), Nabucco, Alcina, Les Contes d’Hoffman (Opera National de Paris), Eugene Onegin (Metropolitan Opera, New York), Dialogue des Carmélites (Amsterdam Opera, La Scala), Salome (Lyon Opera), Regina (Scottish Opera).

Other work includes: Peter Brook’s Impression de Pelléas and Don Giovanni; Richard Eyre’s La Traviata (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden); Deborah Warner’s Wozzeck (Opera North), Don Giovanni (Glyndebourne), set and lighting for The Turn of the Screw (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden); Pierre Audi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Orfeo ed Euridice, La Bohème and the set and lighting for Alceste; Nicholas Hytner’s La Clemenza di Tito (Glyndebourne), Don Giovanni (Munich), The Cunning Little Vixen (Paris); Jonathan Miller’s Der Rosenkavalier (ENO); Francesca Zambello’s Dialogue des Carmélites (Saito Kinen Festival and Opera de Paris); Adrian Noble’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (Aix-en-Provence Festival)

Installations: Collaborations with the composer Heiner Goebbels: Schwarz auf Weiss, Eisler’s Matériel, Où le Débarquement Désastreux; Winterreise with the artist Christian Boltanski (Paris, Berlin, New York), Alltage (Dresden and Lisbon); and with Christian Boltanski and Ilya Kabakov Der Ring – Der Tag Danach (Berlin).

Awards: Laurence Olivier award for Richard III and nominated for White Chameleon and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Martin Levan 
Sound Design
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Theatre: After 10 years as a recording engineer and record producer, Martin Levan began his theatrical career in 1982 when he supervised the sound for Song and Dance in London. Since then Martin has been responsible for designing the sound for many worldwide productions including Cats, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera, Little Shop of Horrors, Carrie, The Baker’s Wife, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber concerts, Requiem, Aspects of Love, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Show Boat, Sunset Boulevard, Whistle Down the Wind and Lautrec.

Recording: Recordings include the original cast albums for many of the above productions including the original Broadway album of Cats which won him a Grammy award.

Awards: Martin’s awards include the NAACP Theatre award for Best Sound Director for The Phantom of the Opera; LA Drama Critic’s Circle award for Best Sound Design for Sunset Boulevard, The Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for Outstanding Design Team Ahievement for Show Boat.

Martin and his wife Karen live in Buckinghamshire and in Wales where Martin enjoys spending time in his private recording studio.

Simon Lee 
Musical Supervision
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Simon began his musical career as chorister at Ripon Cathedral. This was followed by music scholarships to Winchester and the Royal Northern College of Music and further piano studies with Aliza Kezeradze-Pogorelich.

Theatre: Musical Supervisor for Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyceum Theatre, UK and European tour and Broadway), Romance Romance (Geilgud Theatre); production musical director of Out of the Blue (Shaftesbury Theatre), Hot Mikado (Queen’s Theatre), musical director of Cats (New London Theatre), Starlight Express (Apollo Victoria Theatre), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Labatt’s Apollo Theatre. Hammersmith and UK Tour); musical director of West Side Story, The Rocky Horror Show, Annie Get Your Gun (European Tours), Starlight Express (Bochum), Cats (Hamburg), musical supervision of Pygmalion and The Apple Cart (both starring Peter O’Toole); I’m Just Wilde About Oscar, Jeanne, Judy, The Old Man of Lochnagar.

Workshop: The Beautiful Game (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sydmonton Festival at the Cambridge Theatre); Casanova; Ratcatcher; How Green Was My Valley.

Concerts/Galas: Musically directed numerous galas, including the opening ceremony of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan, Kiri Te Kanawa at Sydmonton Festival, Sir John Mills’ 90th Birthday Celebration, the 1995 Brit Man of the Year award honouring Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Film: Musical director and conductor for Jesus Christ Superstar (Really Useful Films); musical director and conductor for Cats, starring John Mills and Elaine Paige.

Recording: Jose Carreras’ True Passion and tracks with Boyzone and Sir Cliff Richard; conducted Erkan Aki’s debut album Here’s to the Heroes, Vincenzo La Scola’s album Vita Mia; soundtrack recording of Disney’s Hercules; cast album recordings of Out of the Blue, Hot Mikado and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Composition: Music for the new musical Casanova.

Joan Bergin 
Costume Design
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Theatre: A Long Day’s Journey into Night directed by Karel Reisz; Brian Friel’s Translations directed by Howard Davies (Broadway); HMS Pinafore; The Pirates of Penzance; Riverdance (world tour and Broadway); Aristocrats (Lincoln Centre, New York).

Television: David Copperfield with Sally Field a four part series for American television; Family, a four part series for BBC.

Film: Everlasting Piece directed by Barry Levinson with Anna Friel and Billy Connelly; The Mammy directed by and starring Angelica Huston; A Bright Shining Life; Dancing at Lughnasa with Meryl Streep and Michael Gambon; The Boxer directed by Jim Sheridan with Daniel Day Lewis and Emily Watson; Sweeney Todd directed by John Schlesinger; The Winter Guest directed by Alan Rickman; The Devil’s Own directed by Alan J Pakula with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt; Some Mother’s Son with Helen Mirren; In the Name of the Father directed by Jim Sheridan with Daniel Day Lewis and Emma Thompson; The Field with Richard Harris; My Left Foot directed by Jim Sheridan with Daniel Day Lewis.

Architecture: Heritage awards 1986/89

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