Phelim McDermott has been performing and directing since 1984. Phelim’s company, Improbable (which he co-founded in 1996), has produced a number of shows including the multi award-winning 70 Hill Lane, Lifegame, Animo, Coma, Spirit, Sticky, Cinderella, The Hanging Man, Theatre of Blood in collaboration with The National Theatre, Panic, and Beauty and the Beast, in co-production with ONEOFUS. Phelim also directed Philip Glass’ Satyagraha and The Perfect American, and, for his latest project, Mozart's Così Fan Tutte in collaboration with the English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.
Phelim co-founded dereck dereck productions with Julia Bardsley, directing a number of productions including Cupboard Man, Gaudete, The Vinegar Works, The Glass Hill and The Sweet Shop Owner. During his impressive career he has also directed Alex at The Arts Theatre, The Ghost Downstairs at Leicester Haymarket, Dr Faustus and Improbable Tales at Nottingham Playhouse and The Servant of Two Masters, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Government Inspector at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Phelim’s work also includes a musical version of The Addams Family, which he developed for Broadway with Julian Crouch and Elephant Eye Productions. His work with the Metropolitan Opera also saw him direct the company’s 125th Anniversary Gala and the world premiere of The Enchanted Island.
In recognition of his outstanding work, Phelim received a TMA Award for Best Touring Production for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed with the English Shakespeare Company. He was also awarded an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment, a TMA Best Director Award and a Critics Circle Best Designer Award for his work directing Shockheaded Peter, a junk opera collaboration with The Tiger Lilies for Cultural Industry.
In 2003 he was awarded a National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts fellowship to research new ways of rehearsing and creating theatre using improvisation and process-oriented conflict facilitation techniques. He was also made an Honorary Doctor of Middlesex University in 2007.