Annabel Arden

Director Annabel Arden's distinguished career encompasses opera, theatre and broadcasting as well as acting and devising new work. 

In 1981 she left Cambridge University and went to train with Monika Pagneux and Philippe Gaulier in Paris.  She then toured internationally with Neil Bartlett and the remarkable performance collective ‘1982’.  In 1983 she joined forces with Simon McBurney and Marcello Magni to form Theatre de Complicité, now celebrated world-wide as the most consistently innovative, imaginative and popular theatre company of a generation.

For the next fifteen years Annabel was a central figure in Theatre de Complicité; acting, directing and teaching.  Her award-winning production of Dürrenmatt’s THE VISIT (1988-1990) was Theatre de Complicité’s first existing- text production and established their relationship with the Royal National Theatre.  She played in THE STREET OF CROCODILES which toured the world over a period of seven years, and was artistic collaborator on THE THREE LIVES OF LUCIE CABROL, OUT OF A HOUSE WALKED A MAN and more recently MNEMONIC.

Her landmark production for Theatre de Complicité of THE WINTER’S TALE (1991) resulted in an invitation from Opera North to direct THE MAGIC FLUTE (1993 and 1997).  Also for Opera North:  THE RETURN OF ULYSSES, 1995-1997, LA TRAVIATA 2001, ’02, ‘03 and ‘04 (also at Sadler’s Wells in London 1999) and THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN (also Barcelona 2001).  Her production of Beethoven’s LEONORE with John Eliot Gardiner toured to Salzburg, New York and the Albert Hall in London in 1996.  In that year she also taught masterclasses in Osaka, Japan and directed FAUST in Luzern.  In 1998 she directed Zemlinsky’s DER ZWERG in Florence with James Conlon and David Kuebler, a production which was revived with great success in Turin 2001.  In 2001 Annabel Arden made her English National Opera debut directing THE RAKE’S PROGRESS. In 2004 she directed Puccini’s GIANNI SCHICCHI and Rachmaninov’s THE MISERLY KNIGHT at Glyndebourne – televised by the BBC. She directed Aperghis’ LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD at the Almeida Theatre in 2005, and returned to Glyndebourne On Tour for L’ELISIR D’AMORE in 2007 - in 2009 this production was at the main Festival and then seen in Houston:  it was revived at Glyndebourne in 2011.

Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s she continued to train with Monika Pagneux and spent time at Jacques Lecoq’s Laboratoire de Mouvement.  In this period theatre directing included INDIA SONG (Duras) in a definitive production co-directed with Annie Castledine and THE WOMEN OF TROY also with Castledine for the RNT.  She toured as Sonya in UNCLE VANYA for Kenneth Branagh and built up an international teaching practice.

In 1998 she devised and directed a dance theatre piece for CANDOCO and translated and performed a one woman play, MICKEY LA TORCHE for The Royal Court Theatre.  In 1999 she translated and directed Durrenmatt’s FRANK DER FÜNFTE for BBC Radio and directed Diana Quick in PICASSO’S WOMEN at the RNT.  In 2002 she directed a radio adaptation of Thomas Bernhard’s AM ZIEL with Geraldine McEwan. She directed Stephen Jeffreys’ plays INTERRUPTIONS for the University of California in 2001 and THE ART OF WAR for the Sydney Theatre Company in 2007. In 2010 she co-directed HELDENPLATZ by Thomas Bernhard at the Arcola Theatre in London.

Most recently she directed concert performances of THE SOLDIER’S TALE with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Pierre Boulez in February 2012.

In 2012 Annabel Arden directed a higly-successful new production of La Bohème for Welsh National Opera and a staged evening of 20th century works with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski. She directed Lionboy, Theatre de Complicité’s first show for children, and narrated and directed Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream for Jurowski’s farewell concert at Glyndebourne. Recently she directed Café Kafka, a co-production between Aldeburgh, ROH2 and Opera North. Future plans include directing two major British opera productions.





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