William Kerley is represented by Rayfield Allied worldwide.

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William Kerley

Stage director

  • William Kerley's staging of The Rake's Progress was one of the best I have seen anywhere ... Kerley staged the fable brilliantly.
    Hugh Canning, Opera Magazine
  • William Kerley's modern-dress production of The Rake's Progress packed a well-honed punch.
    Anna Pickard, The Independent
  • William Kerley's strikingly independent productions rode on strong performances, creative staging and choreography.
    Anne Midgette, The Washington Post
  • William Kerley was born in London and is a director of opera and theatre.

    In 2009 Maestro Lorin Maazel appointed him Resident Stage Director at the Castleton Festival, Virginia, USA where he has directed new productions of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, The Beggar’s Opera, Albert Herring and The Turn of the Screw, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s Trittico and La Bohème, as well as double bills of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale/de Falla’s Master Peter’s Puppet Show and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges/Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins,  all of which were conducted by Maestro Maazel.  His Castleton Festival productions have been performed at the Opera Company of Philadelphia and to CAL Performances in Berkeley, California.

    William has worked as assistant and associate director in theatre at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Almeida Theatre, and in opera at Glyndebourne Festival, Birmingham Opera Company, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera.  Directors he has assisted include Tim Albery, Bill Alexander, Jonathan Kent, Phyllida Lloyd, Jonathan Miller, Graham Vick and Matthew Warchus.

    A renowned Britten specialist, William directed the 50th anniversary Aldeburgh Festival production of Gloriana at the Snape Maltings.  He also directed a new production of Britten’s children’s opera, Let’s Make an Opera at the Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall, where the piece had its premiere in 1949.

    In 2011 William directed the Chinese premiere of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Sivilgia at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.  In 2012 he directed a new production of Bizet’s Carmen at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy.  Recent productions also include the world-premiere of Giorgio Battistelli’s The Embalmer at Almeida Opera and a new production of Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment for Opera Holland Park.  His Guildhall double-bill of Hindemith’s Long Christmas Dinner and Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. More recently, he has directed a new production of Thomas Ades’ Powder Her Face at Opera Philadelphia and a new Britten Centenary production of Paul Bunyan for British Youth Opera at the Peacock Theatre in London.

    Other recent opera engagements include a Puccini double bill of Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica for the Royal Academy of Music. William’s first feature film is shot in the autumn of 2015.

    • Paul Bunyan, British Youth Opera
      Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre, London (September 2013)

      William Kerley’s fluent production certainly made a persuasive case for the opera... Kerley’s decision to present the outsized ‘hero’ as a sharp-suited impresario, brandishing a loudhailer and pronouncing orotundly from above, invisible but omnipresent, was a sure one.
      Claire Seymour, Opera
      ...the flair of a production team led by William Kerley (director)... The visual ambience – a tree-stump platform, a motif of brooms, a silhouette of soft rainbow colours – is fluent, witty, theatrical and true.
      Andrew Clark, The Financial Times
      The excellent and necessary British Youth Opera, dedicated to helping graduates step into professional careers, try something else. Their Bunyan — Will Edelsten, of normal size — stands in an auditorium box, delivering his dialogue amplified. It slots easily enough into William Kerley’s production, which is playfully replete with cut-out shapes, silhouettes, fiercely coloured skies and pocket models of American icons, corporate and architectural. Thank you, Jason Southgate (set design) and David Howe (lighting) for making this show such a delight to the eye.
      Geoff Brown, The Times
      Some directors prefer to keep Bunyan out of sight and portray him as a disembodied voice, but Kerley gives him flesh.
      Andrew Clements, The Guardian
      Wit is the ruling spirit of British Youth Opera’s delectable production of Benjamin Britten and W.H. Auden’s operetta Paul Bunyan, directed by Will Kerley.
      Jaime Robles, bachtrack.com
      In director Will Kerley and conductor Peter Robinson's hands, this early stage work is an absolute treat and the perfect opportunity for a huge, and hugely-talented, British Youth Opera cast and creative team to mark the composer's centenary year, while showing what they can do.
      Simon Thomas, whatsonstage.com
      Kerley and Southgate's production was highly imaginative, with everything formed from basic props, so the for Paul Bunyan's birth and youth we had a charming shadow-puppet show and Babe the blue cow was formed from people and sheets. Kerley kept the show moving and, with such a large cast, ensured that everything flowed seamlessly. The cast were tireless and energetic, the staging inventive, so that we were carried along too.
      Robert Hugill, planethugill.com
    • Powder Her Face
      Opera Philadelphia (June 2013)

      Highest marks must go to the creative team interpreting this work for Opera Philadelphia – chiefly director William Kerley... The production values were exquisite. Kerley delivered the sensuality that must underpin this opera without ever devolving into seedy and shocking, like having, oh, a baker’s dozen of naked men filling the duchess’ bedchamber.
      Gale Martin, Bachtrack.com
      Opera Philadelphia pulled off its greatest piece of work this season, and perhaps in several seasons, with a gorgeously sung and smartly crafted production of Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face. Director William Kerley knew there was already enough camp and melodrama built into the unravelling of 20th-century tabloid fixture Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, without boldfacing its drama in hot-pink neon.
      Peter Dobrin, The Philadelphia Inquirer
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