Justin Butcher is a writer, director, producer, actor and musician. His best known works include the multi-award-winning solo play Scaramouche Jones, starring Pete Postlethwaite and directed by Rupert Goold, the hit anti-war satire The Madness Of George Dubya and its sequels, A Weapons Inspector Calls and Guantanamo Baywatch and the controversially-acclaimed Go To Gaza, Drink The Sea, as well as five plays for BBC Radio 4. He holds BA and MA Honours degrees in Classics Greats from Oxford University and is an Honours Graduate of Drama Studio London. He lives in London and has worked all over Europe, in Russia, the Middle East, Africa, Australasia, Canada, the USA and Mexico. His work is produced and studied all over the English-speaking world, and has been translated into Albanian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Spanish and Turkish. He reads and translates Ancient Greek and Latin. He is artistic director of Passion Pit Theatre, which has produced 13 acclaimed professional theatre productions in the UK, USA, Mexico, Malta and Australia since 1994. He is also founder and director of the north London choir Vox Holloway and works extensively as a conductor, MD, organist, pianist and singer. Alongside his work in the arts, he works regularly as creative consultant, speaker, trainer, comedy writer and event producer in the corporate, government and charitable sectors.
As writer, Scaramouche Jones:
“Extraordinary solo piece by Justin Butcher … hilarious, picaresque and terrifying.” (John Peter, The Sunday Times)
“Justin Butcher’s fascinating, poignant, funny play” (Jeremy Kingston, The Times)
“Justin Butcher’s gloriously elegiac prose … reverberates in the memory” (Sophie Gorman, Irish Independent)
“Unique … stunning … a new kind of theatre” (Karen Joyner, Metro)
“Butcher’s use of language is sensational … every line dances … like dynamite …” (Vicky Frost, Bristol Evening Post)
As performer, Scaramouche Jones:
“Justin Butcher gives … the finest performance on the Fringe this year … a masterpiece of solo Magic Realism, impeccably written, perfectly performed” (Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide)
“Justin Butcher is superb in his delivery: engaging, animated, and endearing.” (Cameron England, Adelaide Advertiser)
As writer-director, The Madness Of George Dubya:
“Justin Butcher’s Aristophanic vitality … blends manic comedy with passionate polemic.” (Michael Billington, The Guardian)
“Fantastic piss-take … comedy and current affairs crackle along like Carry On meets Kubrick … comedy with smart gags that hit the target.” (Mark Espiner, Time Out)
“A welcome blast of light relief … this oil-black comedy scores … direct hits.” (The Daily Telegraph)
“Justin Butcher’s stealth-bomber of a show” (Independent On Sunday)
“This lively, sexy production has a gloriously distinctive bark” (Evening Standard)
As writer-performer, Breaking Strain:
“A modern classic: overwhelmingly intelligent … makes the atmosphere crackle with danger and sexual tension … as intelligent as it is hilarious.” ***** (The Scotsman)
As co-writer & director, Go To Gaza, Drink The Sea:
“A deeply felt, humane and vividly expressive reaction to the current crisis.” (Michael Billington, The Guardian)
“Raw power … carries huge moral and emotional impact.” **** (The Scotsman)
As director, Black Comedy:
“An incandescent production by London’s Passion Pit Theatre … a tour de force of physical humour. The tempo is furious, the timing perfect.” (The Gazette, Colorado Springs, USA)
Justin’s latest play, The Last Great Quest, was commissioned by the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC), Cardiff, to mark the centenary of Captain Scott’s last Antarctic expedition and inspired by Manchester University historian Dr Max Jones’s masterly study of the Edwardian age of explorer-heroes (The Last Great Quest, OUP 2004). Directed by Rebecca Gatward and produced by Conrad Lynch for the Ambassadors Theatre Group in association with WMC, The Last Great Quest will premiere in Cardiff in 2014, prior to UK and international touring.
Earlier this year Justin also completed Childhood in Berlin (see http://childhoodinberlin.com/), a dramatisation of the childhood memoirs of Max Neimann, written in collaboration with Julia Holden, scheduled for production in 2014.
His first book, Jimmy – A Legacy Of Peace, the biography of Jimmy Mizen, written with Margaret Mizen, was published in May 2013 to national media acclaim, described by The Guardian’s Erwin James as “One of the most moving books I have ever read.”
On December 1st 2013, in St Luke’s Church, Justin will conduct his choir Vox Holloway in Songs of Exile, a benefit concert for the medical charity Hand in Hand for Syria, featuring acclaimed vocal soloists Clara Sanabras singing Scattered Flight, songs of Spanish Exile, and Reem Kelani premiering her new composition, Cry Palestine, written collaboratively with Vox Holloway’s composer-in-residence Harvey Brough, for which Justin has written the libretto.