Tim studied English at Cambridge, then attended the Sherman Theatre Cardiff’s post-grad theatre course, before starting work as an assistant director at Scottish Opera in 1987, then at Opera North and ENO.
Tim began directing productions in 1989, then designing scenography from 1998, and working with film and videography from 1994. He is interested in performance disciplines of many kinds, particularly music-related, both traditional and contemporary. Tim now also makes new pieces and other work in a variety of forms, alone and in collaboration, acts as creative director for projects featuring work by other artists, and as a consultant, advisor or mentor.
As director, he has created productions of historic and new repertoire for Opera North, The Royal Opera, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Theatre Basel, Buhnen Graz, Staatsoper Hannover, Opera North, Teatro dell’Opera Roma, Bayerische Staatsoper Festspiel, Wexford Festival, Glimmerglass, English Touring Opera, Dublin Grand Opera Society, Alternative Lyrique Paris, Almeida Opera, Aldeburgh Festival, Aurora Orchestra, Channel 4 TV, Batignano Festival, BBC Symphony & BBC Proms, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Northern Sinfonia at The Sage Gateshead, South Bank Centre, Battersea Arts Centre, London Sinfonietta, London Artists Projects, Hyperjam and others. He has worked with a number of composers – Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle, Mauricio Kagel, Judith Weir, Lionel Bart, Tansy Davies, Dai Fujikura, Mira Calix, Claudia Molitor, John Woolrich, Rob Thomas, Carleen Anderson and others, directing their work.
Productions have often been meeting points for a range of artistry in creative teams, connecting traditional and contemporary ideas, or imagining futures for the art-form. Tim also makes solo pieces, currently Four Quartets on Film, responses to contemporary string quartets, to be screened at Strangelove and Aldeburgh Festival 2022-23.
In 2001 he was awarded a NESTA Fellowship to look at lyric theatre and new technology, and how the 400-year opera tradition could engage with this.
Undertaken full time from 2002 to 2005, this extended to a consideration of related European opera practice, and reflections on the impact of technological transformation emotionally, politically, culturally.
It also saw a shift from interpretive art (as a director of existing works) towards making new pieces, often in collaboration. The NESTA Fellowship opened up experiences of a wide range of practice, through making projects, observing others, and specialist guidance. In film, Simon Pummell, Walter Donahue and Michael Mann acted as advisers, (Tim observing Mann direct Collateral 2003-4.) In opera, this included research visits to intendants in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Dresden, Hamburg, Theatre an der Wien, *Theatre Basel and *Staatsoper Hannover (*where he also directed.)
From 2006 he resumed independent practice, directing opera repertoire and making new work, including a media-theatre production of Britten’s opera for TV, Owen Wingrave, (Royal Opera); a site-specific opera Elephant and Castle, created with Pippa Nissen, Tansy Davies, Mira Calix, Pippa Nissen and Blake Morrison for Aldeburgh Music; directing the quartet from Mozart’s Seraglio for Channel 4 TV; the installation Lost Chord for Opera North/English Heritage at Belsay Hall.
In 2007 he was awarded an AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts, hosted by the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre (CROMT) at the University of Sussex. These awards were opportunities for arts practitioners to develop and share their understanding inside an academic context. Tim’s award ran part-time until 2012. The programme supported his time on three new research projects, produced outside the University – Give Me Your Blessing for I go to a foreign land (Royal Opera House 2), The Lost Chord (Opera North) and TV Opera – Idomeneo TV (Aldeburgh Music) each exploring performance through old and new media. They focused respectively on Stravinsky and folk music; the Victorian creative imagination; new ways of mediating operatic performance on screen. ‘Astonished and Terrified – Opera and the Transformation of the World By Technology’, a conference marking the end of the AHRC Fellowship was hosted by CROMT in 2012. His relationship with Sussex continues, as Research Fellow (part-time) in experimental music theatre.
In 2011-12 he was creative director of BBC Proms Music Walk 2012 – an online / performance platform for site-specific commissions by Alvin Curran, Judith Weir, David Sawer, Claudia Molitor, Alwynne Pritchard, Sound Intermedia, and others, responding to real locations around Exhibition Road, designed to be heard on headphones at the locations themselves. This also marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Cage. With Joana Seguro he developed a successor – Soundtracks – intended for larger urban contexts (supported through a development commission from Sound and Music in 2013.)
In 2012 Welsh National Opera invited him to help develop their creative use of digital media, leading to the proposal Land Of Song, (Artangel 100 list 2013) and to the project Occupation (Welsh National Opera / The Space co-production, 2014-15) – commissions for composers to write songs in response to current events, released online in real time according to the flow of news events. In 2015 he directed site specific performance for the Science Museum of Objects at an Exhibition, a group of new compositions inspired by objects, for Aurora Orchestra and NMC.
Recently Tim has been developing Empathy Machine with composer Rob Thomas – Opera for Virtual Reality systems, for use in the field of conflict resolution, (supported by Arts Council England, with partners Glyndebourne Opera, Artists and Engineers,the V&A Museum); Melancholy Artefacts, new music theatre piece with composer Judith Weir, for commemoration of the 1914-18 War, evoking the desperate ingenuity of the closing months of WW1; Abiding Love, short films of Strauss’ Four Last Songs; Encore!, Composed Theatre piece curated by John Woolrich (50th Anniversary London Sinfonietta RFH); Les Barricades Mystérieuses, Augmented Reality pieces for the streets of Paris; Tapestry Project, an installation about how Britain narrates itself, with music by Rob Thomas (Bridgepoint Rye); Kagel – Turning Points, direction and performance (London Sinfonietta.) Current: Kleine Wanderung (film, 12 mins) responding to string quartet by composer John Woolrich.
He has translated operas from Italian and French for performance in English, contributed to professional debate, (e.g. New Digital Content for New Digital Audiences, Opera Europa, 2015) and acted as consultant to Scottish Opera (2016) and Welsh National Opera (2012) on their response to the digital realm. He mentors ENOA-supported emerging directors.