Winner 2001

Orla O'Loughlin

Production: The Fire Raisers by Max Frisch

orlaweb_565Orla is now the Vice-Principal and Director of Drama at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Prior to Guildhall, Orla was the Artistic Director of the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (2012-18), the Artistic Director of the award winning Pentabus Theatre and International Associate at the Royal Court Theatre.

Her previous directing work for the Traverse includes acclaimed productions such as Mouthpiece, Locker Room TalkGrain in the BloodMilkGirl in the MachineSwallow (Scotsman Fringe First and Scottish Arts Club award-winner), Ciara (Scotsman Fringe First, Herald Angel and CATS award-winner); Spoiling (Scotsman Fringe First award-winner); Meet Me at Dawn (Herald Angel award-winner); Milk (Tom Erhardt award-winner); The Artist Man and the Mother Woman, and the Herald Angel award-winning, Dream Plays (Scenes from a Play I'll Never Write).

Directing work also includes: For Once (Hampstead Theatre Studio); Kebab (Dublin International Festival/ Royal Court Theatre); How Much is your Iron? (Young Vic); The Hound of the Baskervilles (West Yorkshire Playhouse/ National Tour/ West End); Tales of the Country, Origins (Pleasance/ Theatre Severn); Relatively Speaking, Blithe Spirit, Black Comedy (Watermill Theatre); Small Talk: Big Picture (BBC World Service/ ICA/ Royal Court Theatre); A Dulditch Angel (National Tour); The Fire Raisers, sob stories, Refrain (BAC).

She has also directed two ground-breaking large-scale site-specific productions: Shuffle with the National Youth Theatre at Merry Hill, one of Europe's largest shopping centres and Underland, performed 200 feet below ground at Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean. Orla was also the recipient of the Carlton Bursary at the Donmar Warehouse.

The JMK Award gave me a unique opportunity to develop as an emerging director. I had ambition and a sense of theatrical vision but no obvious way of testing my ideas in a professional context. The Trust gave me the time, space and support to put on my first proper show. It put my work in the spotlight and gave me the confidence to believe I might have a future in the industry. I have no doubt that it is as a direct result of the Award that my career has progressed as it has. It gave me the start I needed and a direct route into the profession - Orla O'Loughlin

Orla O'Loughlin offers a strikingly fresh take on The Fire Raisers, the 1956 Max Frisch classic about willed bourgeois complacency and the dangers of trying to propitiate evil-doers. O'Loughlin's biting production proves that its concerns are still a burning issue. It would be a great shame if this fine production did not play to full houses - Paul Taylor in The Independent on Sunday

With O'Loughlin's update to contemporary Britain, one notes the topicality of Biedermann fraternising with the Semtex-juggling Bill and dithering in the face of anti-capitalist terrorism. O'Loughlin's cast admirably combine naturalism, satire and near-Pinteresque menace - Kate Bassett in The Independent

In 2001 our final eight applicants attended a two day session at BAC. These workshops were run by Erica Whyman, then Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, Tom Morris, then Artistic Director of BAC and Phil Wilmott of the Finborough Theatre.

Shortlisted directors in 2001 were Roland Smith, James Phillips, William Galinsky, David Salter, Annecy Lax, Rosanna Lowe, Nancy Hirst.