Andrew Laithwaite and Will Stanford in The Caucasian Chalk Circle
(Photo: Jacob Sacks Jones)
Jessica Lazar is a freelance director represented by Jessica Stewart at Independent Talent, and part of award-winning theatre company Atticist (which she co-founded in 2016).
She works on new writing, revivals, and adaptations, and is particularly drawn to stories that explore the tension between social facade and human passion. Her style is physically dynamic and creative collaboration sits at the heart of her practice.
Jessica was an EVOLVE Artist in Residence at Oxford Playhouse in 2019/20 and, since March 2021, has been a beneficiary of Mercury Creatives, a professional development programme for the cultural sector funded by the European Regional Development Fund at Mercury Theatre, Colchester. In 2016, she completed a doctorate in English Literature supervised by then Oxford Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama Tiffany Stern. Since then her productions have won the 2016 Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, the inaugural 2018 SIT-Up Award for ‘social impact theatre’, and been nominated for ten 2018-19 Off West End Awards including Best Director, Best Ensemble, and Best Production, as well as the 2017 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.
Theatre credits include Rafaella Marcus's Sap (Vaults 2020 / further details announced soon), Lisa D'Amour's Anna Bella Eema (Arcola 2019), Iman Qureshi’s this is a love story and Sam Potter's The Unicorn (North Wall Arts Centre 2019), David Greig’s Outlying Islands (King’s Head Theatre 2019), Christina Murdock’s Dangerous Giant Animals (Edinburgh Fringe / United Solo Fest New York / Park Theatre 2018), Steven Berkoff’s East (King’s Head Theatre, 2018), and Katherine Rundell’s Life According to Saki (Edinburgh Fringe 2016 / New York Theatre Workshop Fourth Street Theatre 2017). Details of these productions and further credits are available here.
Audio credits include Margaret Perry's A Passion Play and Rafalla Marcus's The You Play Vols. 1 - 2 (2020, Written on the Waves series). Recordings and more information can be found here.
A full CV including projects in development, dramaturgy, workshops, teaching, and assistant directing is available on request.
‘Combining first-rate puppetry, masked theatre, and slick ensemble choreography, Jessica Lazar’s eclectic direction is alive with energy.’
The Telegraph, Tristram Fane Saunders: Life According to Saki, 2016
‘Berkoff’s play remains a remarkable work…Jessica Lazar’s inventive production is no less remarkable. Her five-strong cast wriggle and writhe, spit and snarl their way across the intimate, sparse space like grotesque marionettes, all to a cheery Cockney piano accompaniment.’
The Stage, Fergus Morgan: East, 2018
‘Jessica Lazar’s production brings real inventiveness to something that might be overly static...The spoken simply melts into song, a woman turns into a wolf, a child is made out of mud, the real and the fantastical sit side by side in a weirdly enticing slice of Southern Gothic.’
Stagedoor, Lyn Gardner: Anna Bella Eema, 2019
‘I was impressed by Jessica Lazar’s production and the discipline of its performers.’
The Guardian, Michael Billington: Anna Bella Eema, 2019
‘The continued imagination of theatre makers has been one of the few inspiring things to come out of this thoroughly uninspiring year...[Katherine] Parkinson is a terrific guide...deftly woven together by director Jessica Lazar’.
The Stage, Fergus Morgan: The You Play Vol 1: small acts, 2020
‘Teenage romance, queer desire, spiritual conflict and the crucifixion might seem like impossibly large themes to squeeze into 30 minutes but Margaret Perry's fine, tender A PASSION PLAY pulls it off spectacularly.’
The Stage, Ka Bradley: A Passion Play, 2020