Guy Masterson is an Olivier Award winning producer, actor, director and writer. An entertainer for 30 years, he has worked on over 150 live theatre shows. He is one of the most highly awarded independent presenters at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival over 23 seasons. As a theatre director, he is responsible for several of Edinburgh's biggest ever hits. As an actor, he is globally renowned for his award winning solo performances. He is also a succesful director of corporate events, a playwright, dramaturg and an acting, voice and corporate coach.
Born Guy Mastroianni to a Welsh mother and Italian/American father, he was educated at Christ's Hospital School, Sussex and then at University of Wales, Cardiff where, aged 20, he graduated BSc Joint Hons (Magna Cum Laude) in Biochemistry & Chemistry. In 1982 he emigrated to Los Angeles, USA where he worked in hotel restaurant management until 1984 when he became a carpenter to support acting tuition at UCLA.
Between 1985-89 he performed in over twenty plays in Los Angeles including 'The Caretaker' (Mick), 'City Gents', 'The Elephant Man' (Ross), 'Othello' (Iago), 'Hamlet' (Title), 'The Taming Of The Shrew' (Petruchio), 'Henry V' (Title), and 'Romeo and Juliet' (Mercutio). He - regrettably - 'anglicised' his name to "Masterson" in 1986.
In 1989 he returned to the UK to attend LAMDA where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Classical Theatre. In 1991 he formed "Boy's Own Productions" to present Peter Flannery's 'The Boy's Own Story' which toured throughout the UK until 1993. Also, in late 1992 he appeared in Cyrano De Bergerac (Bellerose/Ligniere) with Robert Lindsay at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, West End which ran for 9 months. In 1994, he renamed his company "Guy Masterson Productions" and in 2000 he created "Theatre Tours International Ltd" - a touring presenting company.
'Under Milk Wood' - "the show that changed everything" - a solo version of Dylan Thomas' masterpiece - opened to huge aclaim at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in Feburary 1994 and was then invited to the Assembly Rooms for the subsequent Edinburgh Fringe. Both 'Under Milk Wood' and his directorial debut, 'Playing Burton' (a solo play about his Great Uncle, Richard Burton starring Josh Richards) sold out their runs prior to opening and led to extensive UK tours. Guy then followed up with the first ever solo adapatation of George Orwell's 'Animal Farm', again opening at the Traverse Theatre and returning for the subsequent Edinburgh Festival. This show was also a huge critical and box office success and this launched Guy's reputation as an internationally renowned solo performer.
Thereafter, and for the next two decades, Guy pursued his career on four fronts - Performer, Director, Producer/Presenter and Writer. Working with like-minded professionals from all over the world, his company, Theatre Tours International, has since become the most highly awarded and nominated independent theatre company presenting at the Edinburgh Festival over 23 consecutive seasons.
Guy's first international tours were to festivals in Macedonia, Thessalonika, Wellington & Taranaki (NZ) and Jerusalem.
In 1996, Guy presented his two solo hits, 'Under Milk Wood' and 'Animal Farm' in repertory at the Edinburgh Fringe while also directing Norman Lock's 'The House Of Correction' for which Beth Fitzgerald was awarded the coveted Stage Best Actress Award. Guy then embarked on a 6 week, 17 city tour of India with both 'Animal Farm' and 'Under Milk Wood', during which he contracted Amoebic Dysenty!
1997 was a another year of international touring to New Zealand, Phillipines and the West Indies, and a West End run with 'Animal Farm' and 'Under Milk Wood' at the Arts Theatre. In Edinburgh, Guy presented only 3 shows; 'Playing Burton' with Josh Richards, 'Bye By Blackbird' with Beth Fitzgerald and 'The Ballad Of Jimmy Costello' with NZ actor Tim Balme. All three shows sold out, and both Balme and Fitzgerald won nominations for the Stage Award. Guy also appeared as Dad in Steve Martin's 'Wasp' featuring Adele Anderson (Fascinating Aida) and directed by the late Gerrard Murphy.
1998 saw Guy present 4 more shows at Edinburgh, winning his first Fringe First Award for 'Skin Tight' by Gary Henderson and a Stage Award nomination for his own performance in 'A Soldier's Song' together with a nomination for Gareth Armstrong in 'Shylock'.
The early part of 1999 was taken up with Guy getting married and spending his honeymoon on a three month working tour of New Zealand including a 5 week run in Auckland. At the subsequent Edinburgh Fringe, Guy presented 'Adolf' with Pip Utton, 'Berkoff's Women' with Linda Marlowe & Krishnan's Dairy' with Jacob Rajan each of which won Stage nominations. 'Krishan's Dairy' also received a Scotsman Fringe First.
2000 saw the changing of the company name from Guy Masterson Productions to Theatre Tours International and a huge increase in ambition. Guy teamed up with John Clancy and David Calvitto of New York to present Brian Parks' legendary 'Americana Absurdum' at the Assembly Rooms. This too won a Fringe First Award, plus a nomination for Best Ensemble from the Stage. Guy's productinon of 'All Words For Sex' starring Jules Leyser also won a Stage Award Nomination for Best Actress as did Madelaidne Sami's 'Number Two' which also won a Scotsman Fringe First.
In 2001 'Fern Hill & Other Dylan Thomas' premiered at Edinburgh 2001 for which Guy won the coveted Stage Award for Best Actor. Guy's production of 'Resoultion' again starring Pip Utton also gained a Stage Best Actor Award nomination. Soon afterwards, Guy took the part of the Narrator in Theatr Clwyd's full cast production of 'Under Milk Wood', directed by Terry Hands, for their Centenary season.
In 2002 he produced and performed in an eight month 100+ performance tour of Oleanna co-starring Beth Firtzgerald, which opened at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. He also presented ten additional productions that year which won two Fringe First Awards ('Number Two' & 'Horse Country') a Stage Best Actor Award for David Calvitto in 'Horse Country' and a third Fringe First plus a further Stage nomination for Nancy Walsh in 'Cincinnati' who also won the Jack Tinker Memorial 'Spirit Of The Fringe' Award. Guy also co-wrote & directed 'Goering's Defence' starring Ross-Gurney-Randall and adapted 'Intimacy' by Hanif Kureishi, both ciritical and box office successes.
In 2003, Guy worked with composer and Rolling Stones collaborator Matt Clifford to add music & a soundscape to his acclaimed production of 'Under Milk Wood' for the Edinburgh Festival, then embarked on a major national tour to mark the 50th Anniversary of Dylan Thomas' death. His groundbreaking production of '12 Angry Men' (farmously starring 12 comeidans) became the biggest grossing drama of all time at the Edinburgh Fringe 2003. In recognition of this and of his outstanding contribution to the Fringe over 10 years, he was awarded The Jack Tinker Memorial, 'Spirit Of The Fringe' Award. He also received a third nomination for Best Actor from the Stage for his revamped performance of 'Under Milk Wood'.
In February 2004, '12 Angry Men UK' toured to International Festivals in Perth, Adelaide and the New Zealand International to huge acclaim and box office success. And later, for the Edinburgh Festival he originated the West End smash 'One flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' starring Mackenzie Crook and Christian Slater. He also directed 'Borge Again!' with Rainer Hersch - another sell out success at Edinburgh, Winnipeg and Montreal. Guy returned to Australia in September of the same year to direct an all-star Australian company of '12 Angry Men' - which played Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, again broke box office records and eventually won 3 prestigious Melbourne Greenroom Awards including 'Best Production' and 'Best Direction' and was nomintated for 'Best Play' at the Sydney Helpmann Awards.
Edinburgh 2005 saw Guy direct 'The Odd Couple' with Bill Bailey and Alan Davies and his company of comedians which this time smashed his own Edinburgh Fringe box office record. He also directed Swift - a monodrama about Jonathan 'Swift' with Jeffrey Mayhew.
In 2006 he presented 'Under Milk Wood' at the Adelaide Fringe and then directed with comedian Rich Hall in his first play 'Levelland' at the Melbourne Comedy Festival thence Edinburgh 2006 for which he also directed 'Cooking With Puccini' again with Jeffrey Mayhew.
2007 was equally busy. Extensive UK touring was followed by a return trip to the Adelaide Fringe with 'Fern Hill' and 'Under Milk Wood' and 'Animal Farm'. Later, for Edinburgh, he presented 7 shows; He directed 'Follow Me' with Ross Gurney-Randall and Beth Fitzgerald - which won a Herald Angel Award, an Argus Angel, and a nomination for The Stage Best Actress - and Arnold Wesker's 'The Mistress'. He also wrote/performed in 'American Poodle - Snowball'. Later, he directed the hugely successful 'The Eagle Dances', starring the acclaimed Native American ventriloquist Buddy Big Mountain and Ian Shaw for Theatr Mwydan in Cardigan which toured throughout Wales.
2008 saw another return to the Adelaide Fringe with Guy presenting 5 shows including his new solo show 'American Poodle' - together with his acclaimed productions of 'Playing Burton', 'Goering's Defence', 'Follow Me' and of course 'Under Milk Wood' - the latter which went on to the Gold Coast for two very popular performances. For Edinburgh he presented 3 World Premiere's and two European Premiere, directing 'Reasonable Doubt' with Australian star Peter Phelps, and 'Scaramouche Jones' with Justin Butcher. During the Autumn, he embarked on a major national tour of 'Oleanna', this time opposite the acclaimed Australain actress Joanne Hartstone.
2009 saw yet another return to Adelaide but with Guy presenting just 2 shows; 'Oleanna' and his solo 'Animal Farm'. But his subsequent Edinburgh season consisted of 6 shows with 3 world premieres including 'Morecambe' by Tim Whitnall and 'Austen's Women' with Rebecca Vaughan - both of which Guy directed, both becoming sell-out hits, with 'Morecambe' picking up a Fringe First Award and Best Solo Performance nomination. Guy also played in 'The Sociable Plover' also by Tim Whitnall. 'Morecambe' was also invited to play at the Royal Variety Performance for the Queen before opening at the Duchess Theatre in London's West End over the Christmas period.
2010: 'Morecambe' triumphed in London, winning the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and also recieving a nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Entertainment. Guy also set up CIT - The Centre For International Theatre in Adelaide - presenting 8 shows to critical acclaim at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe Festival where it won nominations for 3 Adelaide Fringe Awards, winning for Best Performance (David Calvitto in 'The Event'). Edinburgh 2010 was also critically successful presenting 6 shows and garnering two more Stage Awards for Best Solo Performance (Ansuya Nathan in 'Long Live The King' which Guy Directed, and Kristen Thomson in 'I, Claudia'. Guy Also directed Rebecca Vaughan in 'I, Elizabeth' to great acclaim while 'Morecambe' continued to tour the UK racking up over 220 performances during the year.
In 2011 Guy took on Gareth Armstrong's 'Shylock', opening at the Adelaide Fringe along with Pip Utton's 'Adolf', 'I, Elizabeth' and 'Goering's Defence'. He also directed 'The Diaries of Adam and Eve' for Edinburgh and presented 'Shylock' which garnered him a further nomination for Best Solo Performer from The Stage. Guy also celebrated his 50th birthday during the Edinburgh Fringe.
2012: Guy took on 'The Half' by Richard Dormer, premiering in Adelaide to universally good reviews alongside 'Imperial Fizz' which Guy directed. 'The Half' then opened in Edinburgh along with a remount of 'A Soldier's Song', starring the writer/ex-soldier Ken Lukowiak himself, and Rebecca Vaughan in 'Female Gothic', both of which Guy directed. In the Autumn, Guy directed and played the role of Oscar in a major production of 'The Odd Couple' in Belfast.
2013: Guy embarked on global return tour of 'Animal Farm' and a highly successful tour of the USA with 'Shylock'. He also remounted his acclaimed Belfast production of 'The Odd Couple' at The Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City prior to his 20th Edinburgh Fringe season - which - ironically - consited of only a single performance of 'Shylock' at the prestigous Assembly Hall. He then played John Kemble in the late Adrian Bunting's award winning play 'Kemble's Riot' at the NYC International Fring which won "Most Outstanding Production". Soon afterwards, he show-directed 'Samsung Unpacked 2013 Episode 2' at the Berlin Tempodrom which was broadcast live to 15 million people online. Finally, in December he wrote, directed and played Dame Dotty la Douche in his debut panto, 'Beauty And The Beast' at the Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn.
2014: In addition to touring with his various works, Guy adapted his solo 'Animal Farm' for 25 actors and directed it for Tumanishvili Film Actor's Theatre of Tbilisi in Georgia which then travelled to the Edinburgh Festival and won The Stage Award for Best Ensemble. He also co-wrote and directed 'Bill Clinton Hercules' with Rachel Mariner and premiered his latest solo work, 'Anthem for a Doomed Youth' at the Edinburgh Festival in August. At Christmas 2014, he directed 'Sleeping Beauty' for the Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City.
2015: He directed Justin Butcher's 'The Devil's Passion' and thence developed 'Dylan Thomas: the Man, The Myth' with Hannah Ellis, Dylan thomas' granddaughter for the Edinburgh Fringe. He also launched a 65 minute version of his perennial hit, 'Under Milk Wood' entitled 'Semi Skimmed'. The then directed 'Cinderella' for the Hawthorne Theatre.
2016: Guy toured to Perth & Adelaide in Australia and presented his first stand-up show, 'Love & Canine Integration' at Edinburgh along with 'Shylock' and 'Chopping Chillies' which he directed. In October, he will play Dunedin, Nelson, Hawkes Bay and Auckland New Zealand with 'Shylock' and 'Under Milk Wood'.
As a freelance critic and feature writer he has been published in The Herald, The Guardian, The Scotsman and The Stage, The Adelaide Advertiser, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Dominion (NZ), The Times of India, and The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong).
He is married to Brigitta and father to Indigo and Tallulah.
See also: THEATRE TOURS INTERNATIONAL COMPANY HISTORY