Winner 2003

Bijan Sheibani

Production: Party Time and One for the Road by Harold Pinter


Bijan Sheibani is a freelance theatre and opera director.

His recent theatre credits include The Arrival (as writer and director) at the Bush Theatre; Dance Nation by Clare Barron, at the Almeida Theatre; The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney, at the Young Vic; Barber Shop Chronicles by Inua Ellams, at the National Theatre, and Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker at Home Manchester. After two sell-out runs at the National Theatre,  Barber Shop Chronicles toured internationally and across the UK.

Recent opera credits include Nothing by David Bruce at Glyndebourne and Danish National Opera (nominated for a 2017 Southbank Sky Arts Award for Best New Opera) and Tell Me The Truth About Love for Streetwise Opera.

Bijan was as an associate director of the National Theatre from 2010-2015 under Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr, and artistic director of ATC from 2007-2010. He was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2010 for Best Director for his production of Our Class. In 2008, he won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement or Performance in an Affiliate Theatre for his production of Gone Too Far! in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court.

Winning the JMK Award made it possible for me to direct two plays by Harold Pinter that I loved, which Harold himself came and saw. It was a gruelling, energising, and thrilling time. Without that time, and without the JMK Trust, I would not be in the privileged position I'm now in. I only wish there were more opportunities like this one for the breadth of talented people who are embarking on that very daunting and penniless road - Bijan Sheibani

Beautifully cast and aesthetically vibrant, both plays demonstrate how language can simultaneously dissemble and carry oppression in every syllable - Rachel Halliburton in The Evening Standard


These are really first rate productions. It gave me great pleasure and pride to watch them. They have real authority and focus. I am deeply impressed - Harold Pinter


The brilliance of Sheibani's double bill is to make very different depictions of squashed dissent seem like two instalments of the same story. And the cast grasp Pinter's comedy of menace with both hands. This pairing catches the savage sophistry of latter day Pinter without missing a beat
- Claire Allfree in METRO

The staging by Bijan Sheibani - winner of this year's James Menzies-Kitchen Award for Young Directors - is bleak and gripping. Elusive and haunting - Kate Bassett in The Independent on Sunday

In 2003 the weekend workshops at BAC were led by Tom Morris who was joined on the interview panel by Thea Sharrock, then Artistic Director of Southwark Playhouse, and designer Dick Bird. The shortlisted directors included Elliot Cowan, Chris Rolls, Katie McAleese, Charlotte Westenra, Helen Eastman, John Terry and Philip Breen.

Production photos by Paul Burgess.