About Us

Playful Productions was founded in 2010 by Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis and Nick Salmon. We are one of the largest independent theatre production companies in the UK.

Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies at the Aldwych Theatre Photographer Johan Persson
Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies at the Aldwych Theatre. Photograper Johan Persson

Based in Covent Garden, our team of 24 has a wealth of experience spanning both subsidised and commercial theatre. We produce plays and musicals for the West End, Broadway and on tour, and have collaborated with companies including the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Old Vic, Bush Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Almeida Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Young Vic Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, Hampstead Theatre and Sheffield Theatres. We also provide general management and production accountancy services in London and on tour to other producers, currently for several record-breaking West End and touring productions, as well as booking all of our UK and international tours. Our productions have received 27 Olivier Awards, 10 Tony® Awards, 8 Evening Standard Awards, 1 Oscar® nomination and 1 Grammy® nomination.

At Playful we are passionate about developing new work to produce. The adventure of finding, nurturing and shaping an idea all the way through to production is incredibly rewarding. Ideas have sprung from modern fiction, documentary television, music we have listened to, conversations with our peers, and overheard conversations on the tube. They would remain ideas if we weren’t fortunate enough to collaborate with talented playwrights, composers, designers, directors and actors at the top of their game, who help us realise each project’s ambition.

This year we are general managing the UK premiere of Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre from January 2019. Prior to its West End engagement Come From Away has had a limited run at the Abbey Theatre Dublin, as well as continuing its sold-out record-breaking engagements on Broadway and across the USA and in Canada.

In the West End, Playful general manages Wicked which celebrated its 12th birthday in September and became the 13th longest running show in the West End. Wicked is currently booking until November 2019 at the Apollo Victoria.

The touring production of Kinky Boots continues to thrill audiences on its first UK outing which started in Northampton, where the story is set. The tour will also visit Wolverhampton, Newcastle, Manchester, Edinburgh, Canterbury, Stoke, Llandudno, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Sunderland, Plymouth, Cardiff, Blackpool, Milton Keynes and Hull, with further venues to be announced.

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage tours the UK again. The tour opened in Brighton in September before travelling to Dartford, York, Stoke, Hastings, Southend, Birmingham, Preston, Wimbledon, Plymouth, Oxford, Gateshead, Bradford, High Wycombe, Torquay, Swansea, Bromley, Edinburgh, Woking, Aylesbury, Wolverhampton, Ipswich, Manchester, Guildford, Liverpool, Grimsby, Glasgow, Bournemouth and Leeds with further venues to be announced.

Kinky Boots completed its critically acclaimed run at the Adelphi Theatre on 12th January 2019. Inspired by true events Kinky Boots is the winner of every major Best Musical Award including Tony®, Olivier, What’s On Stage and Evening Standard and continues to raise up audiences across the country on its UK tour.

Following a sell-out run in the West End and a record-breaking UK tour Shrek the Musical went on a second UK tour starting in Edinburgh in 2017 and visiting Manchester, Sunderland, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Northampton, Sheffield, Cardiff, Stoke, Blackpool, Woking, Liverpool, Norwich, Canterbury, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Llandudno, Nottingham, Belfast, Dublin, Plymouth, Southampton before completing its tour in Leeds in January 2019.

While continuing to delight audiences in the West End, Wicked embarked on another UK and Ireland tour which started in Bristol in February 2018 and travelled to Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Dublin, Sunderland, Southampton and Cardiff before completing another outstanding tour in Manchester in January 2019. 

Last year, Imperium I: Conspirator and II: Dictatorthe historical two-part thriller based on the Cicero trilogy by Robert Harris, transferred to the West End from the RSC. Directed by Gregory Doran and adapted by Mike Poulton, Imperium opened to critical acclaim at the Gielgud Theatre on 30 June for a limited 12 week engagement.

2018 also saw Quiz transfer to the Noel Coward Theatre following its sell-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre, written by James Graham, directed by Daniel Evans. At the Duke of York’s Theatre we presented the West End première of David Hare’s The Moderate Soprano. Directed by Jeremy Herrin, Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll reprised their roles of the Glyndebourne founder John Christie and soprano Audrey Mildmay.



West End

Photography Helen Maybanks

An American in Paris

West End

Photography Tristram Kenton

Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies

West End

Photography Johan Persson

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

West End

Photography Johan Persson

Groundhog Day

West End

Photography Manuel Harlan

The Audience

West End

Photography Joan Marcus

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

West End

Photography Marc Brenner

No Man's Land

West End

Photography Johan Persson





The Playful Productions team is led by our three Directors, Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis and Nick Salmon. Find out more about them and the rest of the team here.

Find out more about our productions here.