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Rebecca Frecknall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rebecca Frecknall
Born1986 (age 36–37)
OccupationTheatre Director
Years active2016 - present
Notable workCabaret, Summer and Smoke

Rebecca Frecknall is a British theatre director best known for directing the 2021 West End revival of Cabaret starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley.[1] The show received the 2022 Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Musical, and Frecknall was named Best Director, taking home both the Olivier Award and Critics' Circle Award. She is also associate director at the Almeida Theatre[2] where she directed Summer & Smoke, Three Sisters, The Duchess of Malfi, A Streetcar Named Desire and Romeo and Juliet.[3] Her direction of Summer & Smoke first brought her critical acclaim and showcased her ability to re-invent old works in new ways.[4] The production won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play in 2019, with Frecknall also nominated for the Sir Peter Hall Award for Best Director.[5] In 2023 she was listed by The Stage as the 13th most influential person in the theatre.[6]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
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  • Rebecca Frecknall on Summer and Smoke
  • Rebecca Frecknall (Cabaret) wins Best Director | Olivier Awards 2022 with Mastercard
  • Inside Rehearsals... Romeo and Juliet
  • Summer and Smoke | In Rehearsals
  • Julie: behind the scenes



In 2018, Frecknall directed a revival of the Tennessee Williams play Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre, her first in a major London theatre. The revival received rave reviews and secured a transfer to the West End, at the Duke of York's Theatre.[7] Holly Williams, writing for The Independent, remarked that the staging "announces Frecknall as a director of real vision".[8] Veteran critic Michael Billington wrote in The Guardian that Frecknall's production "restores Williams’s wrongly neglected play to a central place in the canon."[9] Susannah Clapp at The Observer, asserted, "Summer and Smoke must make Rebecca Frecknall’s name as a director."[10] The production received 5 nominations [11] at the 2019 Laurence Olivier Awards and was awarded Best Revival and Best Actress for Patsy Ferran.[12]

In 2019, she directed revivals of The Duchess of Malfi and Three Sisters, both at the Almeida Theatre.[13][14]

In 2019, Eddie Redmayne saw Frecknall's production of Summer and Smoke on the final night of its West End run at the Duke of York's, and was inspired to ask her to consider directing a revival of Cabaret that he was attached to, in the role of the Emcee.[15][16] The production, titled Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, converted the Playhouse Theatre from a proscenium-arch theatre into an in-the-round cabaret space, with prologue performers putting on routines on all levels of the theatre before the start of the show.[15][16] It opened in 2021 to rapturous reviews,[17] and was described in the New York Times as "a nerve-shredding revival".[18] Dominic Cavendish at The Telegraph called it "the kill-for-a-ticket theatrical triumph of 2021".[19] Renowned critic John Lahr, writing for Air Mail, stated that Frecknall was "the complete dazzling directorial package: a fine critical mind wedded to a confident sense of fun", and "succeeded in making John Kander and Fred Ebb’s 56-year-old fun machine feel like a brand-new musical event".[20] The revival received 11 nominations, and led with seven wins at the 2022 Olivier Awards, including Best Musical Revival and Best Director for Frecknall, setting a record for being the most award-winning revival in Olivier history, as well for being the first production to obtain awards in all 4 eligible acting categories, with awards for Redmayne, Jessie Buckley, Liza Sadovy and Elliot Levey. The production has enjoyed widespread audience acclaim, and is slated to continue at the converted Playhouse Theatre till September 2024. [1]

In 2023, she directed a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Patsy Ferran, Paul Mescal and Anjana Vasan, which opened at the Almeida and then transferred to the West End, at the Phoenix Theatre.[21] The revival was met with rave reviews, and received 6 nominations at the 2023 Laurence Olivier Awards, winning 3, including Best Revival, Best Actor for Mescal and Best Supporting Actress for Vasan.[22] David Benedict, writing for Variety, stated that Frecknall "proves once again that she is a theatrical force to be reckoned with."[23]

Her 2023 production of Romeo and Juliet, at the Almeida Theatre, starring Toheeb Jimoh and Isis Hainsworth, was met with glowing reviews. Arifa Akbar at the Guardian remarked that Frecknall "is fast becoming the director with a consummate gift for turning old into new",[24] a sentiment echoed in the New York Times by Matt Wolf, who wrote that Frecknall "treats the often overly familiar play as if it were entirely fresh, and the result is astonishing."[25]


Frecknall grew up in Cambridgeshire, the middle of three sisters.[26] She read Drama and Theatre Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London, before participating in the director's course at LAMDA.[27] Her love of theatre was inspired by her late father, to whom she dedicated her 2022 Laurence Olivier Award.[28]

Directing credits

Year Title Venue Role
2024 Cabaret The Kit Kat Club (August Wilson Theatre) Director
Julie Internationaal Theater Amsterdam
2023 The House of Bernarda Alba National Theatre, Lyttelton
Romeo and Juliet Almeida Theatre
A Streetcar Named Desire Almeida Theatre (later, Phoenix Theatre, London)
2021 Cabaret The Kit Kat Club (Playhouse Theatre)
2020 Sanctuary City New York Theatre Workshop
2019 The Duchess of Malfi Almeida Theatre
Three Sisters Almeida Theatre
2018 Summer and Smoke Almeida Theatre (later, Duke of York's Theatre)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2023 Laurence Olivier Awards[29] Best Director A Streetcar Named Desire Nominated
2022 Laurence Olivier Awards[30] Best Director Cabaret Won
Critics' Circle Theatre Award[31] Best Director Cabaret Won
WhatsOnStage Awards[32] Best Director Cabaret Nominated
Drama Desk Awards[33] Best Director Sanctuary City Won
2019 Laurence Olivier Awards[5] Best Director Summer and Smoke Nominated


  1. ^ "'We were a little naive': staging Cabaret, in the 60s and now". The Guardian. 20 November 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Almeida People". Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Director Rebecca Frecknall: 'I want to be moved and if I'm not I feel slightly cheated'". The FT. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Why Rebecca Frecknall and Patsy Ferran went back to Mississippi for Summer and Smoke". Evening Standard. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b "2019 Results | Laurence Olivier Awards". Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  6. ^ "The Stage 100 2023: numbers 9-14". The Stage. 5 January 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  7. ^ "Almeida's Summer and Smoke to transfer to West End starring Patsy Ferran". London Theatre. 11 June 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  8. ^ "Summer and Smoke, review: Patsy Ferran is a genuine marvel". The Independent. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  9. ^ Billington, Michael (8 March 2018). "Summer and Smoke review – gripping return for rare Tennessee Williams". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  10. ^ Clapp, Susannah (11 March 2018). "The week in theatre: Summer and Smoke; Macbeth – review". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  11. ^ "Olivier Awards 2019: Full list of nominations". London Theatre. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  12. ^ Rooney, David (7 April 2019). "Olivier Awards 2019: Full Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  13. ^ "The Duchess of Malfi". Almeida Theatre. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  14. ^ "Three Sisters". Almeida Theatre. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  15. ^ a b Maxwell, Dominic (23 August 2023). "Cabaret is back — how the Kit Kat Club returned to the West End". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  16. ^ a b "The Times - Dominic Maxwell - Cabaret is back — how the Kit Kat Club returned to the West End - Cabaret". Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  17. ^ Roundups, Review. "Review Roundup: CABARET Opens in the West End - See What the Critics Are Saying!". Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  18. ^ "Review: First the Party, Then the Crash, in a 'Cabaret' Revival (Published 2021)". 15 December 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  19. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (13 December 2021). "Cabaret, review: Eddie Redmayne dazzles in the kill-for-a-ticket theatrical triumph of 2021". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  20. ^ "How Much Would You Pay to See Eddie Redmayne in "Cabaret"?". Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  21. ^ ""A Streetcar Named Desire" with Patsy Ferran, Paul Mescal and Anjana Vasan to transfer to the West End". 24 January 2023. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  22. ^ "2023 Olivier Awards: Full list of winners". London Theatre. 2 April 2023. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  23. ^ Benedict, David (15 January 2023). "'A Streetcar Named Desire' Review: Paul Mescal Is Explosive in Rebecca Frecknall's Staggering Revival". Variety. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  24. ^ Akbar, Arifa (15 June 2023). "Romeo and Juliet review – Rebecca Frecknall's dance to the death". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  25. ^ "Review: In London, a 'Romeo and Juliet' That Feels Startlingly New". 16 June 2023. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  26. ^ "Cabaret is back — how the Kit Kat Club returned to the West End". The Times. 2 December 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  27. ^ "Our People: Rebecca Frecknall". Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  28. ^ "Oliviers 2022: Cabaret and Life of Pi sweep theatre awards". BBC News. 11 April 2022. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  29. ^ "2023 Nominations | Laurence Olivier Awards". Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  30. ^ "2022 Results | Laurence Olivier Awards". Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  31. ^ "2022 Results | Critics' Circle Theatre Awards". 10 April 2022. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  32. ^ "2022 Results | WhatsOnStage Awards". 27 February 2022. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  33. ^ "Drama Desk Award Nominees". Retrieved 17 May 2022.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 September 2023, at 13:25
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