Award winning director, Andrew Keates will be departing Clapham's Landor Theatre, leaving the post of their theatre manager and artistic consultant. He will be developing newly formed and innovative theatre Production Company Arion Productions Ltd as its artistic director and founder as well as directing upcoming productions of Martin Sherman's ground-breaking play Passing By at the Finborough Theatre this September and returning to the Landor as a director for the world premiere of A Winter's Tale by Howard Goodall and Nick Stimson and developed by Keates in November 2012.
Andrew Keates has been with the Landor for nearly two years in various capacities. He was brought to the forefront of the national press with his seering production of Martin Sherman's play Bent, which subsequently transferred to the Tabard Theatre, earning him great professional respect as the youngest director in the world to be granted the professional rights to the controversial play at at the age of only twenty-four with such a groundbreaking production.
He co-produced the enormously successfully A Spotlight On... West End Cabaret Season and Series, providing the opportunity for audiences to share the music and stories with such prestigious West End alumni such as Clive Rowe, Richard Dempsey, Rosemary Ashe, Liz Robertson and Roni Page to name but a few.
After a difficult year at the Landor, Keates was appointed theatre manager and artistic consultant for the south london fringe theatre. Keates was jointly responsible with its current artistic director Robert Mcwhir for running the famous musical theatre work-house. Duties would include running the box office, managing the venue, looking after productions to casting many of its critically acclaimed shows, most notably Ragtime, The Glorious Ones, Lucky Stiff and the Landor's current production of Curtains.
In 2012, Keates directed The Hired Man by Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall which received universal critical acclaim, winning the 'Offie' for Best Musical Production in the OffWestEnd.com Awards and many other awards and nominations. He even received a special mention in the Critics Circle Awards for best newcomer with other up and coming fringe director Michael Strassen. Mark Shenton has regularly sung this young director praise and reffered to Keates' production of The Hired Man in the Peter Brook Awards as one of the best fringe productons he has ever seen. Keates' last production at the Landor as a director was the Joe DiPietro & Jimmy Roberts musical The Thing About Men, which played throughout May and June this year. Nearly all of these productions were directed whilst Keates still worked as theatre manager.
"I would find myself in rehearsal in the morning, in the office during lunch time, back in rehearsal during the day, then preparing the theatre for the show that evening and then often in the office until very late finishing the required admin and management tasks. I will miss the Landor terribly. My time there has been filled with huge obstacles and great rewards. I've had an incredible mentor and if I'm so bold to say, even father-figure in Robert McWhir [Artistic Director] who has given me so many opportunities to work in almost every capacity in the effective running of a theatre as well as help cut my teeth as a director and producer. I hope to develop Arion Productions Ltd into one of the most exciting production companies in London, with the ethos of creating great pieces of theatre based on their artistic merit alone and helping develop the skills of other young production team members. I honestly believe with hard work comes great rewards. I will continue to develop Arion, direct my productions, encourage others and hopefully work on a show in the West End. The dream would be to collaborate with the theatres that first inspired me to do this, such as the Donmar Warehouse, Menier Chocolate Factory, National Theatre and The Royal Court".