A Mad World My Masters

Thomas Middleton

A Mad World My Masters

Sean Foley


Sean Foley is an actor, writer and director - a multi Olivier Award winner, he is the only UK theatre creative to have been Olivier nominated in all three categories. 

Most recently Sean directed The Walworth Farce at the The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, January 2015. Starring Brendon Gleeson, Domhnall Glesson and Brian Gleeson, the play was a critical and commercial smash hit. Other recent directing work includes, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Duke of York's in Autumn 2013, starring Matthew MacFadyen and Stephen Mangan. It won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy 2014, and is currently on a National tour after a year long run in the West End. Also in 2014, Sean directed I Can’t Sing! at the London Palladium, a critically lauded musical comedy written by Harry Hill and Steve Brown.

Sean was co-founder and co-Artistic Director of The Right Size 1990-2005. With Hamish McColl, he originated and wrote comic theatre shows that mixed European physical theatre, physical comedy, and British Variety. Their self produced shows included: Que Sera, The Bath, Flight To Finland, Moose, Penny Dreadful, Baldy Hopkins, Stop Calling Me Vernon, Hold Me Down, Do You Come Here Often? and Bewilderness. The Right Size toured nationally and internationally for 10 years, taking in the National Theatre's of Brazil, Malaysia and Senegal among others, and included tours of India, Brazil, Argentina, Oman, Jordan, Malaysia, all round Europe, Egypt, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Borneo.

The Right Size and the Almeida Theatre co-production of Mr Puntila And His Man Matti by Bertolt Brecht in a new version by Lee Hall played sold-out runs at the Traverse, Edinburgh, and the Almeida Theatre before transferring to the Albery Theatre, West End, 1999. Together Sean and Hamish wrote and starred in Do You Come Here Often? winning the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment 2000, (Vaudeville Theatre). He also co-wrote and starred in The Play What I Wrote at Wyndhams Theatre which won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy 2002 and was directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh. Sean was also nominated with Hamish for the Best Actor Olivier Award. The Play What I Wrote transferred to the Lyceum Theatre, Broadway, and was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003. Ducktastic! (Albery Theatre), also directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh, was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment 2006.

Other directing credits include: Pinter’s People at the Theatre Royal Haymarket 2007; Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress, Leicester Square Theatre, 2008; Arturo Brachetti’s Change, at the Garrick Theatre in 2009, nominated for Olivier award for Best Entertainment 2010. The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound at the Chichester Festival, Minerva Theatre in 2010; Armstrong And Miller Live, a UK-wide live tour of the BAFTA winning comedy duo 2010. In 2011 Sean adapted and directed Francis Veber's French comedy The Painkiller for the Lyric Theatre Belfast in 2011 and starred Sir Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon. In the same year he directed and was script associate on The Ladykillers at the Gielgud Theatre, (nominated for five Olivier Awards 2012: Best Play, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Set Design, Best Sound Design). The show broke the box office record for a single week at the Gielgud. In 2012 Sean directed Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw at the Vaudeville Theatre, as well as a four-person version of Ben Hur, at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury. He directed the successful second West End production of The Ladykillers, at the Vaudeville Theatre in summer 2013. His RSC directing debut in 2013 was the first production of Thomas Middleton's A Mad World My Masters.

Other acting credits include: (theatre) Hysteria, Birmingham Rep; I Am Shakespeare, Chichester and national tour; (television) Brass Eye, C4; Wild West, BBC 1; The Fitz, BBC 2; People Like Us, BBC2: (film) Act Without Words, by Samuel Beckett, directed by Karel Riesz.

Go Back