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About Illyria

Our mission is simple: to create outstanding outdoor theatre, and make it available for everyone.

Bursting onto the scene in 1992, Illyria has produced high-quality outdoor theatre for over thirty years. Ever since, Illyria has delighted audiences across 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 has given more performances, to more people than any other open air touring theatre company and its standards set the bar high.


Illyria ensures that all its actors are paid a fair living wage and treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Illyria is proud that for over 30 years its popularity has enabled it to operate on a fully professional basis.



Meet the team


Oliver Gray

Artistic Director

Oliver has been at the helm of Illyria for over thirty 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 over sixty 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 Doctor 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 eight years he has been seen every Christmas in pantomime as one half of the outrageous ugly sister act, 'Lav and Lou' – and together with 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 Badham

Company Producer

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!



Tippi Horner-Gray

Animal Wrangler and Actor Liaison Executive, until April 2024.

After almost two-decades, Tippi sadly passed away in April 2024. She joined Illyria in 2009 from Battersea Dogs' Home, taking care of Illyria's actors during rehearsals. During her career, she worked with 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.

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