Discussion with Producer Neil Gooding
By Anna Robb
TheatreArtLife has a one on one discussion with Neil Gooding, international producer, director and writer.
A founding member of Sydney’s Hayes Theatre Co, and the head of New Musicals Australia, Neil has a history of championing new and diverse theatrical work and has taken this interest internationally. Join Neil to discuss the leap from working in Australia to establishing himself as an internationally recognised producer. Topics include: producing and directing in different markets around the world, the process of developing new work, and digital theatre presentations in the age of COVID.
Neil Gooding is an international theatre director, producer and writer. He was the originating Chairman and one of the founding members of Hayes Theatre Co in Sydney, and is the head of New Musicals Australia (Australia’s peak body for the development of original Australian Musicals). Neil produces and directs shows across the globe through Neil Gooding Productions, which he established in 2001.
As a director, Neil was nominated for a 2009 Helpmann Award and a 2009 Green Room Award for the Australian premiere of Gutenberg! The Musical!. He has also been nominated for a Sydney Theatre Critics Award for his direction of the Australian premiere of Dogfight. Other directing highlights include the Australian premieres of Stalking The Bogeyman (Old Fitz Theatre) and The Bridges Of Madison County (Hayes Theatre), the World Premiere concert version of Paris, the World Premieres of The Red Tree and Becoming Bill, the New York Production of Church And State (Asst. Director – New World Stages), Passion (Arts Centre Melbourne for Life Like Touring), the World Premiere of The Hatpin starring Caroline O’Connor which went on to perform at the New York Music Theatre Festival (as Asst. Director). Neil was also assistant director to Gale Edwards for the launch concert of Kookaburra Music Theatre Company.
As Producer / Director Neil has created many productions including Sing on Through Tomorrow (a song revue of the music of Matthew Robinson); LOVEBiTES by Peter Rutherford and James Millar; Love Letters (starring Ian Stenlake and Rachael Beck), Truth Beauty And A Picture Of You and High Fidelity (Hayes Theatre Co); the national tour of Thank You for Being A Friend; as well as Side by Side by Sondheim and Diciasette (starring Mark Vincent).
Productions that Neil has produced have been nominated for numerous Helpmann Awards, Sydney Theatre Awards and Green Room Awards. His producing work internationally includes the New York productions of Church And State, Handle with Care (starring Carol Lawrence); The 39 Steps, which played at Union Square Theatre in New York; Alan Cumming’s one-man version of Macbeth which ran for a special 14-week limited season on Broadway; as well as being a financial investor in It’s Only A Play and The Ferryman. In London’s West End, NGP was a producer of the hit Australian play, Holding the Man.
His producing credits in Australia include the multi Helpmann Award winning Sweet Charity which launched Hayes Theatre Co, before going on to have a national tour; and the original tour of Breast Wishes – a new Australian musical which went on to complete a six-month regional tour in 2011.
Neil has also produced and directed some of Australia’s best musical theatre and cabaret performers including Catherine Alcorn’s hit show The Divine Miss Bette which has toured extensively throughout Australia and the US; I GET THE MUSIC IN YOU, an evening with Jan van de Stool; Lucy Maunder in Irving Berlin: Songs In the Key Of Black; Marika Aubrey in Last Of The Red Hot Mamas; Mitchell Butel in Killing Time; Toby Francis in Love, Death And An American Guitar; Kerrie Anne Greenland in Pictures, Blake Erickson in Hold Me Closer Logies Dancer and An Evening With Orson Welles; and Queenie van de Zandt’s multi-award-winning show, BLUE: The Songs of Joni Mitchell, which was nominated for the 2018 Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Cabaret Production as well as winning 3 other prestigious theatre awards. He has also produced and directed Nicholas Christo’s cabaret shows Well Swung and The Fabulous Frances Faye, which was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Critics Award, and was presented in New York in 2009.
Early in his career, Neil was employed by Jacobsen Entertainment, where he was responsible for the financial administration of the Arena Productions of The Man from Snowy River Arena Spectacular, the Long Way to The Top concert series, De La Guarda and Dirty Dancing, as well as being the tour accountant on the road with Ja Rule & Ashanti in 2003. In 2005, Neil also worked for Delta Goodrem and toured Australia as her Tour Accountant on her Visualise Tour.
Neil is also the author of the musical Back to the 80’s which is now produced hundreds of times around the world every year, as well as the recently released Popstars.