Jonathan Best began working with Starving Artists in 2007 and directed Eat Me (Royal Exchange Studio, 2009), the fifteenth anniversary production of Road Movie (Manchester Library Theatre, Sheffield Crucible Studio, and UK tour, 2010), Days of Light (Brewery Arts Kendal and Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester) and the UK tour of Take Me With You. Both Days of Light and Eat Me were nominated for Best Studio Production at the Manchester Theatre Awards.
Much of Jonathan’s work has been in music theatre, including a ten year collaboration with Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia on a series of music-theatre productions: Amadeus (Barbican, London and UK tour with Zubin Varla and Richard McCable), Much Ado About Nothing (City of London Festival) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Royal Shakespeare Company (Barbican + 5 UK tours). He staged two productions at the Bridewell Theatre, London including the first UK production of the Gershwin musical Of Thee I Sing, and spent periods on staff at English National Opera, Opera North, Royal Opera, Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. He was Associate Director to Trevor Nunn on the National Theatre’s award winning Oklahoma! which transferred to both the West End and Broadway.
Jonathan was Artistic Director of Queer Up North International Festival between 2006 and 2009, commissioning, producing and presenting new performance by artists from all over the world including Taylor Mac, Justin Bond, Sandra Bernhard, Stephen Petronio Company, Chris Goode, Ursula Martinez, Quarantine, and South African enfant terrible Stephen Cohen. Under his leadership QUN established its groundbreaking young people’s programme, Blaze, and commissioned and produced the UK’s first theatre and education project addressing the subject of homophobic bullying, Fit, by Ricky Beadle Blair, which has now been seen by over 100,000 teenagers in schools across the UK.
Most recently Jonathan produced the inaugural Festival of the North East, commissioning and co-commissioning a wide range of new work including Foghorn Requiem by Joshua Portway, Lise Autogena and Orlando Gough, Frozen by Sight by Paul Smith and Peter Brewis, and a series of five new theatre commissions with ARC Stockton.