Having trained at LAMDA, he started his career by assisting directors such as Alan Ayckbourn, Eric Thompson, Frank Hauser and Michael Blakemore; however, he has been directing plays in his own right since the age of 17.
In the first 10 years of his career Hugh directed more than 60 productions in London and throughout the UK – from Alan Ayckbourn to Rene de Obaldia, and Pam Gems to Athol Fugard. He was a resident director at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester; the Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead, and the Old Vic Theatre, London.
During the next 10 years, he ran his own multi-media company, The Jolly Good Production Company, which produced plays and TV programmes, managed artistes and published books. During this time he was also responsible for music programmes and programming in the ITV network, specifically in the south and south east of England. He also directed international tours of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show as well as national tours of plays by Noel Coward, Daphne du Maurier and Dylan Thomas.
Lately he has specialised in devising, directing and producing large-scale events around the world including the Richard Rodgers Award celebrating Andrew Lloyd Webber in Pittsburgh, An Evening with Hal Prince in Munich, Sondheim Tonight in New York, and Who Could Ask For Anything More? – the centenary celebration of Ira Gershwin at the Royal Albert Hall, London. With Trevor Nunn he co-directed the Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen. In May 2008 he adapted and directed Chess in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall with Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal and Marti Pellow, introduced by Sir Tim Rice.
Most recently he has directed the UK Tour for Bill Kenwright Ltd of The Haunting , an adaptation of short stories by Charles Dickens with Paul Nicholas, Sean Maguire and Charlie Clements, then with David Robb and James Roache and various ghosts; the 21st Anniversary production of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber at the University of Oklahoma; ANTHEMS: The Concert with Kerry Ellis, Brian May, Adam Pascal and Escala at the Royal Albert Hall - this won the Jo Hutchinson International Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Solo Performance in 2012; an all-star version of the Jeremy Lloyd classic, The Wonderful World of Captain Beaky and his Band, for UNICEF with Sir Roger Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, Joanna Lumley, Alan Titchmarsh, Hugh Bonneville and many others; the Gala Celebration of The Original Calendar Girls, Seasons of Love, at the Royal Albert Hall for the benefit of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research with John Alderton, Lynda Bellingham, Janie Dee, Patrick Doyle, Patricia Hodge, Tim Firth, Sue Holderness, Celia Imrie, Lesley Joseph, Willy Russell, Christopher Timothy, Stephen Tompkinson, Stilgoe & Skellern, Julie Walters and many more; and The Night of 1000 Voices (2012) also for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research which was introduced by Hugh Bonneville at the Royal Albert Hall.
Since 1999, he has produced, devised and directed The Night of 1000 Voices and The Night of 1000 Stars at the Royal Albert Hall, London. In 2013, the production celebrated the great Broadway producer and director Harold 'Hal' Prince at the Royal Albert Hall, London hosted by Alan Titchmarsh and Gloria Hunniford.
In 2011/2, he was the Beatrice Carr and Ray Wallace Visiting Professor at the A. Max Weitzenhoffer Familly College of Fine Arts based at the University of Oklahoma. In 2013/4 he directed the European and US production of BelCanto in conjunction with the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation, which was first seen at the New York City Center in November 2013. Currently he is concentrating on the production of his play (in conjunction with Nick Bromley) Heads Up! and his adaptation of Alexander Kaletski's Darkness of Light, whilst working on the usual slate of projects. Most recently, he has directed at the St James Studio, London, the brand new production of Twist of Lemmon with Christopher Lemmon portraying his father, the great Jack Lemmon.
Hugh Wooldridge has directed many showcase, workshops and first productions of new writing, and has been much in demand helping others to improve their own productions. He hopes to direct a production every year at a drama school in the US, UK or Denmark - most recently his own adaption of Under Milk Wood with music by Julie Cooper at BADA.
In the future, in addition to his commitment to continue working on large-scale productions, Hugh Wooldridge plans to spend more time directing smaller projects similar to those he thrived on during his first 10 years, and being available to help others achieve their goals.
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