GUY MASTERSON - Biography

Download Guy Masterson Headshot (Image by Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni)Guy Masterson is an Olivier Award winning producer, actor, director and writer. An entertainer for 30 years, he has worked on over 150 shows. He is one of the most highly awarded independent presenters at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival over twenty seasons. As a theatre director, he is responsible for several of its biggest ever hits. As an actor, he is globally renowned for his solo performances. He is also a succesful director of corporate events, a playwright, dramaturg and 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 in Biochemistry & Chemistry.

In 1982 he emigrated to the USA and 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 Theatre. In 1991 he formed "Boy's Own Productions" (later Guy Masterson Productions) to present Peter Flannery's The Boy's Own Story on tour 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.

From mid 1993 until the present, he has produced and performed in several solo shows including Under Milk Wood, Animal Farm, A Soldier's Song and Fern Hill & Other Dylan Thomas, American Poodle, Shylock and The Half all of which have toured extensively in the UK and on international circuits.

In 2001 Fern Hill premiered at Edinburgh 2001 and won the coveted Stage Award for Best Actor. Soon afterwards, he took the part of the Narrator in Theatr Clwyd's full cast production of Under Milk Wood, directed by Terry Hands, for their Centenary Celebration 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 and garnered multiple awards and nominations.

In 2003, he worked with composer (and Rolling Stones collaborator) Matt Clifford to add music & soundscape to his acclaimed production of Under Milk Wood for the Edinburgh Festival that year and then embarked on a major national tour to mark the 50th Anniversary of Dylan Thomas' death. His production of 12 Angry Men also 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 second nomination for Best Actor from the Stage for his revamped Under Milk Wood.

In February 2004, 12 Angry Men UK toured to International Festivals in Perth, Adelaide and New Zealand to huge acclaim and box office success. And for the Edinburgh Festival 2004 he directed originated the West End smash hit One flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest with 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 - 12 Angry Men OZ - which played Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, again broke box office records and eventually won three prestigious Melbourne Greenroom Awards including Best Production and Best Direction and was nomintated for 3 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 Perrier Award winner 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. Later, for Edinburgh, he presented 7 shows of which he performed in 2 and directed 4! Immediately afterwards, 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.

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 and Scaramouche Jones. During the Autumn, he embarked on a major national tour of Oleanna alongside Joanne Hartstone.

2009 yet another return to the Adelaide Fringe with Guy presenting just 2 shows; Oleanna and his solo Animal Farm to great acclaim. His Edinburgh season consisted of 6 shows including 3 world premieres including Morecambe with Bob Golding and Austen's Women both of which he directed. Both became sell-out hits with Morecambe transferring to the West End over the Christmas period.

2010: Morecambe triumphed in London's West End winning the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and being nominated for Best Actor in a Musical or Entertainment. Guy Masterson's Centre For International Theatre presented 8 shows to critical acclaim at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe Festival garnering 26 out of a possible 30 stars from the Adelaide Advertiser, winning nominations for 3 Adelaide Fringe Awards and winning for Best production. Edinburgh 2010 was critically successful presenting 6 shows and garnering two more Stage Awards for Best Solo Performance. Morecambe played over 220 times on tour through the year!

2011: Guy took on Gareth Armstrong's Shylock, opening at the Adelaide Fringe. He directed The Diaries of Adam and Eve for Edinburgh 2011. Shylock garnered him a further nomination for Best Solo Performer from The Stage.

2012: Guy's new work The Half by Richard Dormer, opened to universally good reviews at the Adelaide Fringe alongside Imperial Fizz which he directed. The Half then played at the Assembly Rooms at Edinburgh 2012 along with a remount of A Soldier's Song, starring Ken Lukowiak which Guy Directed. He also directed Rebecca Vaughan in Female Gothic. All three shows were received to great acclaim. In the Autumn, Guy directed and played the role of Oscar in a production of The Odd Couple in Belfast.

2013: Guy embarked on global return tour of Animal Farm and a highly successful tour of the US with Shylock. He also remounted his acclaimed production of The Odd Couple at his base theatre, The Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City prior to his 20th Edinburgh Fringe season with a single performance Shylock at the Assembly Hall. He also played John Kemble in the late Adrian Bunting's award winning play Kemble's Riot in NYC which won "Most Outstanding Production" Award at the NYC International Fringe Festival. Soon afterwards, he show-directed Samsung Unpacked 2013 Episode 2 at the Berlin Tempodrom which was broadcast live to 15 million people online! In December he wrote, directed and played Dame Dotty la Douche in his debut panto, Beauty And The Beast at the Hawthorned Theatre.

2014: In addition to touring with his various works, Guy ws writing his second panto, Sleeping Beauty, which he will direct for the Hawthorne Theatre in December. He has also adapted his solo Animal Farm for 25 actors and directed it for Tumanishvili Film Actor's Theatre of Tbilisi in Georgia which traveled 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 new solo work, Anthem for a Doomed Youth at the Edinburgh Festival in August. He continues to tour his solo works domestically and internationally and will direct his own adaptation of Sleeping Beauty in December.

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He is very proud of his extensive ties with Australia & New Zealand: Since his first appearances in NZ at Downstage Theatre in Wellington and at the Taranaki International Festival with both Under Milk Wood and Animal Farm in 1997 he has maintained a fruitful association with a full tour of NZ in 1999 and visits to the Adelaide International Festival in 2004 and 8 visits to the Adelaide Fringe from 2006 through 2012. He has also very successfully presented many award winning international works at the Edinburgh Fringe including Fringe first winners Skin Tight (1998), Krishnan's Dairy (1999), No. 2 (2000) Americana Absurdum (2000), Horse Country (2002) and Cincinnati (2002)

Directorial credits include: Animal Farm, Bill Clinton Hercules, Beauty And The Beast, The Odd Couple (2012 & 2013), Female Gothic, A Soldier's Song, Imperial Fizz, The Diaries of Adam & Eve, Long Live The King, Morecambe, Austen's Women, Reasonable Doubt, Scaramouche Jones, The Eagle Dances, Follow Me, Arnold Wesker's The Mistress, Levelland, The Odd Couple (2005), Swift, 12 Angry Men (UK & OZ productions), Borge Again! Goering's Defence, A Slight Tilt To The Left, Resolution, Adolf, Mom I'm Not A Lawyer, All Words For Sex, Playing Burton (UK & NZ productions), Bye Bye Blackbird, The House Of Correction and The Private Ear & The Public Eye.

His extensive theatrical committments have largely prevented him working in other media however, notable televisual work in the UK includes Dennis Potter's Cold Lazarus and Dirty War for the BBC, several commercials and improvised comedy in Brass Eye with Chris Morris. He is currently the "Franziskaner Monk" advertising Franziskaner Weissbier in Germany, Switzerland and Austria! And he show directed Samsung's global product launch Samsung Unpacked 2013 Episode 2 in Berlin, seen by 13.5M viewers on the internet!

As a freelance critic and feature writer he has been published in The Herald, The Guardian, The Scotsman and The Stage, The Advertiser (Aus) The Sydney Morning Herald (Aus) 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.


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