IMPROBABLE THEATRE pomegranate arts
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IMPROBABLE: ARTISTS

Phelim McDermott
Phelim has been directing and performing for over twelve years. His first work was for dereck dereck Productions which he co-founded with Julia Bardsley. He performed in CUPBOARD MAN, a solo show for which he won a Fringe First. He then co-directed and performed in GAUDETE for which he won a Time Out Director's Award, going on to direct THE VINEGAR WORKS, THE GLASS HILL and THE SWEET SHOP OWNER. He has directed a number of shows in repertory theatre including: THE GHOST DOWNSTAIRS at Leicester Haymarket and DR FAUSTUS and IMPROBABLE TALES (a totally improvised two hour play which ran for four weeks) at Nottingham Playhouse. At The West Yorkshire Playhouse he has directed THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and, most recently, THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR. During 1996/97 he directed A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM for the English Shakespeare Company, which won a TMA Regional Theatre Award for Best Touring Production. Other projects include GET OFF MY FOOT a play he co-wrote and appeared in with Lee Simpson. Productions with Improbable Theatre include the multi award winning 70 HILL LANE, LIFEGAME, ANIMO, COMA, SPIRIT, STICKY and CINDERELLA. He recently co-directed SHOCKHEADED PETER with Julian Crouch, a junk opera collaboration with The Tiger Lilies, for Cultural Industry (Olivier Award, Best Entertainment, TMA Best Director Award, Critics Society Best Designer Award and a South Bank Show Theatre Award Nomination).

Julian Crouch
Julian is a director, designer, writer, maker and teacher whose career has spanned Theatre, Opera, Film and Television. Initially a mask and puppet maker, Julian designed CHARIVARI for Trickster Theatre Company, a company he toured the world with from 1985 to 1986. In the following years, Julian specialised in site specific design, including seventeen productions for Welfare State International. In 1992 he began a successful creative partnership with Phelim McDermott, for whom he designed DR FAUSTUS, IMPROBABLE TALES, THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (which earned him a T.M.A nomination for Best Designer of the Year). They also co-directed and designed THE QUEST FOR DON QUIXOTE which received a Best Design Nomination in the London Fringe Awards and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (TMA Best Touring Production Award) for the English Shakespeare Company. Along with Lee Simpson, Phelim and Julian formed their own company, Improbable Theatre, in 1996. Their productions of ANIMO, 70 HILL LANE, LIFEGAME, COMA, SPIRIT, STICKY and Angela Carter's CINDERELLA have gained far- reaching national and international recognition, winning several major awards. Julian and Phelim's most enduring collaboration to date has been SHOCKHEADED PETER for Cultural Industry (Olivier Awards - Best Entertainment, also nominated for Best Direction and Best Design, TMA Best Director Award, Critics Society Best Designer Award and a South Bank Show Theatre Award Nomination). This production, based on the Struwwelpeter book, has returned to the West End after four years of record breaking international touring. In 2000 they produced a German version, STRUWWELPETER for the Deutches Shauspielhaus, Hamburg. They returned in 2002 to mount EIN SOMMERNACHTSTRAUM. In 2000 Julian collaborated with Balinese puppeteers and musicians in THE THEFT OF SITA for the Adelaide Festival, which appeared in London as part of LIFT. Most recently Julian designed TINY DYNAMITE and ON BLINDNESS for Paines Plough and Frantic Assembly. He continues his work with Wolfgang Stange and the Suntera Foundation in the refugee camps of Sri Lanka.

More recently Julian was Designer and Associate Director on the multi award winning JERRY SPRINGER - THE OPERA by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee, for the National Theatre, and now in the West End at the Cambridge Theatre (Best Musical - Evening Standard awards, Olivier Award, Critics Circle). He is currently working at the National again, designing A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, and is in development with Vicky Featherstone and Neil Gaiman on the theatrical realisation of the latter's WOLVES WITHIN THE WALLS.

Lee Simpson
Lee grew up in Gt Yarmouth by the sea, where he found gainful employment cooking burgers in a Wimpy, as a croupier in a casino, and as a cinema projectionist.

Unable to get a proper showbiz job, he became an improviser. The money was bad but there was precious little hard work involved and the people seemed nice. Since then, apart from his work with Improbable, he's become a member of the Comedy Store Players; he's written plays; appeared in some sit-coms; acted in some proper telly drama and some films; performed a very poor poodle act at the London Palladium and spent six months as a Breakfast Show DJ.

It is this obvious lack of direction that he feels is the real essence of his work.

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