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 26 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 22 Olivier Awards, 10 Tony® Awards, 8 Evening Standard Awards, 1 Oscar® nomination and 1 Grammy® nomination.

We have a passion at Playful for developing new work to produce. The adventure of finding, nurturing and shaping an idea all the way through to production has given us some of our most rewarding fun. Ideas have sprung from modern fiction, documentary television, lunch, and overheard conversations on the tube. They would remain ideas if we weren’t lucky enough to collaborate with some of the best playwrights, composers, designers, directors and actors who help us realise each project’s ambition.

We are currently producing Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? starring Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo, directed by Ian Rickson opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 5 April 2017 with previews from 24 March 2017. We are also producing Patrick Marber’s Don Juan in Soho starring David Tennant in the title role and directed by Patrick Marber. It opened at Wyndham’s Theatre on 28 March 2017 with previews from 17 March 2017. It will complete its strictly limited eleven week run on 10 June 2017.

We are currently general managing the UK première of An American in Paris which is directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Inspired by the Oscar® winning film and featuring the timeless music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and book by Craig Lucas, An American in Paris opened at the Dominion Theatre on 21 March 2017 with previews from 4 March 2017.

Later this year Shrek the Musical will return for another UK and Ireland tour. Starting in Edinburgh in December the production will then tour to Manchester, Sunderland, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Northampton, Stoke with further venues still to be announced.

Wicked continues its international tour, starting 2017 in Hong Kong before moving to Manila, Shanghai, Beijing and other international venues throughout the year.

Last year we produced the UK tour and West End production of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land which starred Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, directed by Sean Mathias. The tour commenced on 3 August 2016 and visited four venues before a run at Wyndham’s Theatre in London for a limited 14 week engagement. It opened on 20 September 2016, previews began on 8 September 2016, with an NT Live broadcast on 15 December 2016. Last summer we general managed Groundhog Day, a new musical based on the 1993 Columbia Pictures film, directed by Matthew Warchus, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, which opened at the Old Vic theatre on 16 August 2016. Groundhog Day will begin previews at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway on 16 March 2017.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory closed on 7 January 2017 after 4 years, which concludes a 6 year run of Playful shows at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Our other current productions include Wicked in London (general manager), at the Apollo Victoria which recently celebrated its 10th birthday and Kinky Boots (producer and general manager) continues its run at the Adelphi Theatre and is the winner of every major Best Musical Award including Tony®, Olivier, What’s On Stage and Evening Standard.

Photgrapher Manuel Harlan
Photographer Matt Crockett
Photographer Helen Maybanks
Photographer Helen Maybanks
Photographer Matt Crockett

 

OUR TEAM
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The team is led by our three Directors. Matthew is a producer who develops and leads on all the plays that we produce and heads up the development team at Playful. He is known to be partial to a musical and is in fact currently developing his first one. Nia is a producer and general manager who heads up the production team, is responsible for the day to day running of Playful’s staff and leads on many of the musicals we produce and manage. She also enjoys being able to work on Playful’s plays when nobody is looking. Nick is a producer and general manager who oversees all aspects of the plays and musicals that Playful produces and general manages and leads on a variety of our productions. There’s not much he doesn’t know.

You can read more about our previous productions here and about the rest of our team here.