Best Artistic Director – Fringe Report Awards 2009
The Writers Guild Award for The Encouragement of New Writing 2010
Best Artistic Director – Off West End Awards 2011 and Off West End Awards 2012
Named as one of ‘The Hospital Club 100’ 2012
“Under Neil McPherson, possibly the most unsung of all major artistic directors in Britain, the Finborough has continued to plough a fertile path of new plays and rare revivals that gives it an influence disproportionate to its tiny 50-seat size.” Mark Shenton, The Stage 2017
“Nominated for an even more audacious and successful programme than ever in 2012, West London’s tiny, unsubsidised Finborough Theatre is one of the best in the entire world. Its programme of new writing and obscure rediscoveries remains “jaw-droppingly good”. Time Out / The Hospital Club
“The Finborough in Earl’s Court is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and Neil McPherson gets my vote for top fringe hero for his tireless programming of it as a hotbed of new writing. Places like the National, Royal Court, Bush, Hampstead and Soho Theatres may have expensive literary departments, but they only have to pay an inexpensive visit to the Finborough to find leading writers of the future, or even (as is the case right now) of the past, with 82-year-old Peter Nichols currently offering the premiere of his play Lingua Franca there with an ace cast.” Mark Shenton, The Stage 2010
“Institutions, big and small, were run by people with flair; not just Nicholas Hytner and Michael Boyd at the flagships (the National and the RSC), but Sam West in Sheffield, Jonathan Church at Chichester, Neil McPherson at the Finborough, Sam Walters at the Orange Tree.” Michael Billington, The Guardian – Review of the Year 2006
“Neil McPherson’s imaginative tenure at the Finborough” Rhoda Koenig, The Independent on Sunday
“Neil McPherson is one to watch. Since he took over the running of the Finborough Theatre in 1999, the young Scotsman has transformed this small room above an Earl’s Court pub into a blazing beacon of intelligent endeavour, nurturing new writers while finding and reviving neglected curiosities from home and abroad.” Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph
“The superlative artistic direction of Neil McPherson.” Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
“Like the Finborough Theatre, the best kept secrets are often hidden away from the usual theatre razamataz. Neil McPherson, who has just unearthed another amazing find in Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover Square has proved to have that absolutely essential but elusive quality when it comes to running a theatre: an unerring sense of a good play be it fifty, sixty years old or fresh off the keyboard.” Carole Woddis, Theatrevoice.com
“The unfunded Finborough theatre does terrific service to plays and playwrights, young and old, with its rediscoveries and productions of new work. Accolades and awards rain down. And long may this continue in the capable, caring and imaginative hands of Artistic Director Neil McPherson” Vera Liber, British Theatre Guide
“Having reached the ripe old age of 30 in 2010, The Finborough is still going strong bringing bright and solid theatre to its corner in West London. Artistic director Neil McPherson is much lauded for his eye for new talent and for turfing up forgotten and hidden texts. The space may be compact, but The Finborough’s impact on London’s theatre scene belies its stature.” Time Out
“The Finborough Theatre in Earl’s Court…[has reached] a high watermark under its current director Neil McPherson, whose smart mix of challenging new works and neglected gems has helped make it a mandatory destination for anyone who cares about theater.” Adam Green, Vogue
Born in London, Neil McPherson trained as an actor for three years at the Central School of Speech and Drama, and was a member of the National Youth Theatre for eight years.
He has been Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre since January 1999. During that time, he has seen the Finborough Theatre become an multi-award-winning venue.
He has commissioned many productions for the Finborough Theatre including most of the theatre’s acclaimed series of rediscoveries (including Accolade, Mixed Marriage and Cornelius), produced over 200 productions and co-productions with his production company Concordance. He has also commissioned a number of new plays and adaptations for the Finborough Theatre including Laura Wade’s London debut, Young Emma, and two plays by award-winning young playwright James Graham – Eden’s Empire and Little Madam.
He was Artistic Director of the New End Theatre, Hampstead, for the 1996-97 season. As the sole full-time member of staff, he was also responsible for all areas of the theatre’s activities. Programming included Blood and Ice by Liz Lochhead (The Times’ Critics Choice); a New Jewish Plays Season with world premieres of plays by such writers as Arnold Wesker, Julia Pascal and Tom Kempinski; the world premiere of The Cracked Comic by Stewart Permutt (Time Out Critics’ Choice); the world premiere of Gari Jones’ Wretch; the world premiere of Soul Doubt, the play that made John Cargill Thompson the UK’s most performed professional playwright in 1997; and musicals including Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins. Other innovations included the revival of Sunday and Monday one-night shows, late night comedy and Saturday matinees; and collation of the theatre archives, including writing a history of the venue; and an expanded education provision.
His award-winning first play I Wish to Die Singing – Voices From The Armenian Genocide, commemorating the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, was presented at the Finborough Theatre in 2015, and an excerpt was also performed concurrently in Los Angeles. His second play, It Is Easy To Be Dead, based on the life and work of Scottish First World War poet Charles Hamilton Sorley, played a sold out run at the Finborough Theatre in 2016, subsequently transferred to the West End, and was nominated for thirteen awards including an Olivier Award. Both I Wish to Die Singing and It Is Easy To Be Dead are published by Oberon Books.
Freelance Production and General Management work includes The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, The Ugliest Woman in the World (BAC Playing in the Dark season, awarded five stars in The Guardian), Associate Producer of the sell-out extended-run production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins (New End Theatre, Hampstead) and Producer of the World Premiere of Thomas Brown’s 1697 comedy, Physick Lies A Bleeding; or the Apothecary Turned Doctor at Apothecaries’ Hall, London, for The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.
As an actor, he appeared in Lionel Bart’s Maggie May (Royalty Theatre), Trinculo in The Tempest featuring choreography by Matthew Bourne (The Place), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shaw Theatre), The Rivals (Greenwich, Brighton and Aberdeen) and the leading role of Alfred Locke in Lionel Bart’s musical Blitz! (Playhouse Theatre), all for the National Youth Theatre. Other work includes The Provoked Husband, The People’s William, Heinrich Heine vs Nikolai Gogol (New End Theatre, Hampstead), Mass Appeal, Harry’s Christmas, Not About Heroes, Oklahoma!, Displaced Person (Concordance, mainly at the City of London Festival), Where Breath Most Breathes… (BAC) and the title role in Give a Dog a Bone (Westminster Theatre). He also had extensive experience in cabaret and variety including appearances at the Palace Theatre, the Bloomsbury, the Astoria, the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford, and for the British Music Hall Society. Television included Princess Daisy (NBC), Late Expectations (BBC), four years as a stand-in on Whose Line is it Anyway? (Hat Trick Productions), a short film for Mike Leigh and the title role in John Osborne’s autobiographical television play, A Better Class of Person, nominated for the Prix Italia (Thames).