Illyria was created in 1991, and ever since has delighted audiences the length and breadth of the UK, and in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States and Canada.
Illyria has also won 4 international "Best Performance" awards and attracted numerous "5-star" and "Critics' Choice" reviews for the lively clarity of its approach to Shakespeare's plays, the high quality of its shows for Families and the refreshing originality of its English classics adaptations and Gilbert & Sullivan performances.
Illyria's mission is simply stated: to create a varied programme of outstandingly enjoyable theatre and to make it available for everyone to see.
Illyria has given more performances to more people across a wider area than any other open air touring theatre company, its presence dominates the sector and its standards set the bar high. Illyria complies with the Equity Union's Outdoor Touring Theatre Guidelines and ensures that all its actors are paid a fair living wage and treated with respect and dignity.
Illyria is proud that for 27 years its popularity has enabled it to operate on a professional basis without any public funding.
Oliver has been at the helm of Illyria for 26 years. Which means he has been doing the same job for exactly half of his life. He definitely feels an emotion about that, but he’s not sure which. He's directed 55 productions for Illyria, but he’s not keeping count.
Oliver trained at ALRA a long time ago and earned a decent living as a dalek and a cyberman in Dr Who – The Ultimate Adventure, a millionaire playboy in The Tart And The Vicar’s Wife, a vicious child-eating giant in The BFG, and a policeman in The Bill. For the last 8 years he has been seen every Christmas in pantomime as one half of the outrageous ugly sister act Lav and Lou – and in January he and Dean Horner, his fellow “sister” won the national inaugural Great British
Pantomime Award for Best Ugly Sisters.
In 2000 Oliver’s article on the speaking of Iambic Pentameter was published in Voice & Speech Review (back in the days when journals were printed on paper. Remember those?)
Stephen first worked for Illyria in the year 2000, literally months after he had partied like it was 1999. He survived two Illyria tours, The Emperor's New Clothes and Alice in Wonderland, before settling down to do a proper job in his home town of Birmingham. This didn't last long however, and he ended up working in the film and television sector between 2002 - 2016, helping productions find locations and crew, working with such projects as Peaky Blinders, Star Wars and Harry Potter.
Stephen returned to Illyria in an organisational capacity in 2017, managing the company's affairs offstage and helping to prevent the guy on the left from losing his mind whilst he directed five productions in one season!
ANIMAL WRANGLER AND
ACTOR LIAISON EXECUTIVE
Tippi joined Illyria in 2009 from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and has worked with fearsome beasts of all shapes and sizes in productions including Fantastic Mr Fox, Babe The Sheep-Pig and Danny the Champion of the World.
She also wrangles animals.
Her four favourite places in the whole world are her garden, the beach, the field behind her house and bed.