Born in North Wales and raised in Liverpool, John trained as a theatre director in New York, where he worked for a decade with legendary companies such as Mabou Mines and La Mama and was deeply influenced by the rich crossovers of artforms and media in the city. Returning to the UK, he opened the newly renovated Contact in Manchester in 1999, creating a vibrant and diverse space for up-and-coming artists, and gaining a global reputation for innovation and engagement with young people. Since 2009 he has been founding Artistic Director and CEO of National Theatre Wales – »one of the best things to happen to the stage in the past five years« (The Observer) – winning many awards and establishing the company as a world leader in site-specific and digital work. Directing work for the company includes the award-winning The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, and, most recently, a new version of Brecht’s Mother Courage in Merthyr Tydfil Labour Club. NTW is widely also celebrated for its engagement with a wide range of communities throughout Wales, and for its work with emerging artists – nurturing the independent theatre scene in Wales. John has published a seminal book on art in the surveillance age (Loving Big Brother, Routledge 2004), and honours include the NESTA Cultural Leadership Award, a Doctorate in performance studies from New York University and an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University. John McGrath’s recent international work includes directing the world premiere of The Opportunity of Efficiency at the New National Theatre in Tokyo, and he is regularly invited to give talks and lead workshops in cities ranging from Melbourne to Shanghai. John will leave NTW at the end of 2015 to take up the role of Artistic Director and CEO at Manchester International Festival.
Speaker at Open Academy, Munich