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Meet The Team

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Guy Retallack

Guy trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD), doing the Stage Management Course, having taken advice from director Deborah Warner.

As a stage manager Guy worked in the West End, at the Old Vic Theatre under Jonathan Miller, and for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

During the early 1990s Guy was a founder member and director of London based Company of Clerks, with whom he did numerous shows including the highly acclaimed "The Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov (BAC), for which he was nominated Most Promising Newcomer by Plays International.

Guy's real training and development as a director came from his extensive experiences as an assistant and associate to some of Great Britain's most talented and successful directors, including Howard Davies (National Theatre), Jeremy Sams (NT and PW/Old Vic). Guy worked with Stephen Daldry over a two year period, as associate director on the internationally acclaimed "An Inspector Calls" (PW/National Theatre). Guy's most formative experience as a young director came from his four year apprenticeship with Max Stafford Clark (Out of Joint/Royal Court); this included the celebrated production of "Shopping and F***ing" by Mark Ravenhill.

Since 1998 Guy has been Artistic Director of Wild Thyme Theatre Company, which toured bold reimaginings of Shakespeare's classics, including "Richard III", set in the 1960s East End, starring Eddie Marsan (from his original idea).

In 2002 Guy began a collaboration with Filter Theatre, which resulted in "Faster", a show that was to grow and evolve over the following three years, playing London, touring nationally, internationally, and eventually finishing at the 59E59 Festival in New York in 2005.

2004 saw Guy directing a new play,but in a classical mould, by Glyn Maxwell, the prize winning poet; "The Lifeblood" was sharply focused contemporary take on the last days of Mary Stuart, written in iambic pentameter. The production was such a critical that it led to the formation, by Sue Scott Davison of Lifeblood Theatre Company. The collaboration between Guy, Glyn Maxwell, and Sue Scott Davison has led to further projects including "Liberty", at Shakespeare's Globe and on tour, and most recently a development of "The Gambler", a reworking of Dostoevsky's classic novella, which is also being developed for BBC Radio 3.

2006-2008 Guy was Literary Manager at Bill Kenwright Productions, during this time Guy worked on script development, and doing a number of playreadings with Simon Russell Beale, Alex Jennings, Desmond Barrett, Nicholas Le Prevost, Jenny Seagrove, Belinda Lang, Martin Shaw, Patrick Malahide, Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack and Richard Griffiths.

During 2007, Stephen Brown, who wrote the second version of "Faster", asked Guy to direct the World Premiere of Stephen's groundbreaking and provocative play about paedophilia and redemption "Future Me", which was produced at Theatre503. A totally new production of "Future Me" tours in 2009.

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Rachel Tucker

"Would you be happy in the back row of the chorus, and not much else to do for the rest of your life, as a living?"

"Absolutely!" was my reply to a very short but definite conversation with my mum at the age of fifteen. There was never any question about me wanting to take to the stage for a living; it felt as though it was the only option in front of me, and a very natural thing for me to do as a career.

From the age of nine I started singing with my dad around the local cabaret circuit, which is now pretty much non-existent in Belfast. It was a very young age to get such an adrenalin rush from a crowd but I was hooked, and the more I did it the more I longed to do it for the rest of my life!

My weekends were mainly spent singing with my dad accompanied by big live bands, with me choosing and preparing 6-10 songs for that night's performance. After that, it wasn't long before I was acting out scenes from Singing In The Rain with my brother (who wasn't as keen as I would have liked!) so I decided to take my first drama lesson at The Golden Thread Theatre, where I played my first role... and my first male role at that!

Bugsy Malone was to be the part and show that gave me the 'acting bug'; I was in my element and there was nothing I didn't want to be involved with. I then went on to do what felt like the longest amateur touring production of Grease (which I think lasted about nine months!), alongside some other great shows like Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Annie, The Sound of Music, Our Day Out, Rockin Mikado, Fiddler On The Roof and West Side Story. All these wonderful, professional-based productions gave me not only that great buzz that I longed for but also a brilliant grounding that would help so much in my future career. It was during this time that I was approached by a local agent who was able to springboard me into the professional side of acting, where I gained even more experience from advertisements and short films.

"What about school?" I hear you ask; well I did in fact adore school, and it was Little Flower Girls School that gave me the encouragement and support to go further, guiding me along the more academic root of course, to a Performing Arts course. Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education was where I eventually studied singing, acting and dance for two years; not exactly the scenes from Fame, but it was close enough and I loved it! My first real opportunity to perform in a paid show came with Rent, which was coming to Ireland to cast a mainly Irish company. My best friend and I went along to the audition thinking it would just be great experience, when to our complete surprise we both landed the lead roles... so I was 19 and about to play one of the best female roles in the most exciting musicals of the decade!

...I have to admit, I landed on my feet; to have played Maureen in Rent as my first professional show was such an amazing start and opened many doors for my career. Despite this, it was always an ambition of mine to train at a drama school; I felt not doing so would mean I wasn't fully prepared or ready to audition for the big West End musicals. When I heard a friend had been to the Royal Academy of Music and loved it, I decided to audition too, and was fortunate enough to get a place the following year!

It was a one-year postgraduate course in Musical Theatre and was everything a drama course should be... and more! The biggest lesson I learned was not to be afraid to stand-up and hold my own on stage; up until then I had not felt totally comfortable in my skin, but during that time I developed how to just 'be'. And although I knew that I had a big voice, it wasn't until my studies that I discovered how to use it technically, soaking up the advice from such masters as Philip Quast, Joanna Riding and Julia McKenzie. It was to be the most exciting, intense year of my life and as a result of our final showcase I was noticed by an agent and was soon out auditioning for the shows I'd always dreamed of!

Before long I was on my first UK tour in a 10 month contract with The Full Monty, followed by 6 months on the road with Tommy and another 6 months with Tonight's the Night. Touring was such great fun and taught me so much, giving me a good grounding and understanding of how productions actually work (including all their ups and downs).

Following such a long period on the road, I didn't want to tour again for a while and decided to hold out for the right show to come along in the West End. During this time I was always traveling back and forth to Ireland to perform original plays and shows at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. My absolute favourite was playing the role of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz... it was a role that had always been on my wish list, and even featured the lovely Liam Nesson playing the Voice of Oz - I was in heaven!

It was while I was playing Dorothy that I saw an advertisement asking girls to audition for the role of Nancy in a new West End production of Oliver! I knew that doing well in a show like I'd Do Anything would give me the exposure to help land those auditions that I was really struggling to be seen for. I had no idea that I would remain in the competition until the semi-finals and had the absolute time of my life! It was such a joy to sing, act and dance my way through twelve huge weeks with the British public, to eventually have Andrew Lloyd Webber decide my fate!

Since I'd Do Anything it has been non-stop! I was soon offered the part of Meat in Queen's We Will Rock You, which was to be my first West End show! In the very same year I had the chance to co-present with Eamonn Holmes in a one-off entertainment programme called The Friday Show, sing to hundreds of people with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Hampton Court, judge on a Northern Irish comedy programme called Find Me The Funny, and finally go through rounds of auditioning for my dream role - Elphaba! It really was the best and craziest year of my life to date!

I count my blessing everyday and I know how lucky I am to be doing what I'm doing for a living!

Rob Harris

After experiencing virtually every job in the theatre world, including 10 years of working as a theatrical agent, I decided to see whether I could make it as a producer. In 2009 I founded CliMar Productions – named after, and now in memory of my parents. My aim at that point was to strive to produce enjoyable and accessible theatre. I had originally experience producing while studying at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

My first production was West End Glee Club at the Edinburgh Festival, not only was this my first production, but I came up with the original concept and script (the later was rewritten and subsequently made wonderful by a good friend – Anthony Topham.) The show was a great success and really gave me a taste for the industry.

My next production was Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, which received great praise from critics and public alike, being nominated for 7 'Off West End Awards' ('The Offies') and also the 'Best Off West End Production' at the 2012 Whatsonstage Awards. The show opened at the Tristan Bates Theatre and then transferred to The Charing Cross Theatre. This started a unique experience for me as I was able to work closely not only with the very generous creator of the piece Stephen Dolginoff, but it marked my first production working with Gut Retallack.

After Thrill Me: The Leopold: The Leopold & Loeb Story, I was luckily enough to spend 2 years working with the amazing Canadian Cabaret Artist – Sharron Matthews (Superstar) both at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where her shows garnered 4 and 5 star reviews and in particular were awarded 'Best of the Fest' (2011) and 'Pick of The Fringe' (2012) from ‘The Scotsman' newspaper.

In 2013, I was reunited with Guy again when I produced The Last Session in London- this show received a great response from the press and audiences. It was also nominated for a number of 'Offies' as well as an Whatsonstage Awards. The production also worked in connection with the Make A Difference Trust and raised a substantial amount towards their fundraising. Again this experience was enhanced by being able to work directly with the creators of this amazing piece Steve Schalin and Jim Brochu.

Most recently I was able to reunite with most of the creative team from the original London Production of Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story and co-produce the show's Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut for which we garnished a great response from both Critics and public alike and were awarded a coveted “Bobby Award” for best production.

There are so many people to thank for getting me to where I am today – too many to list here, but you all know who you are – so thank you each and everyone of you. 

The company can be followed on twitter @CliMarProd

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