KIRK Jameson is the award winning director, who has brought the stunning production of Madagascar - on its way to the Cliffs Pavilion next week.

He has a whole lot of great shows under his belt, including Peter Nichols’ Olivier Award winning play Privates on Parade at the New Union Theatre in Southwark, a venue where he has been involved in no less than 10 other productions.

In 2016 Kirk also presented a hugely successful revival of the American comedy I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change at the Arts Theatre starring Julie Atherton, Simon Lipkin, Gina Beck and Samuel Holmes.

Following a sell-out run and a nomination for Best Musical Revival at the Broadway World Awards, the show later returned for several gala performances to celebrate the titles 20th anniversary.

As associate director, Kirk has worked with Jonathan Butterell on the critically acclaimed production of Floyd Collins at Wilton's Music Hall. Kirk also acted as associate director on a concert version of Styles and Drew's Peter Pan and on the London professional premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Pipe Dream.

Madagascar tours its way to Southend from Monday, September 3 until Saturday September 8, including matiness performances.

Join Alex the Lion (played by X Factor’s Matt Terry) , Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and, of course, those hilarious, plotting penguins as they bound onto your stage in the musical adventure of a lifetime.

Based on the smash DreamWorks animated motion picture, Madagascar – The Musical follows all of your favourite crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.


Kelly Buckley catches up with Kirk:

Hi Kirk – thank you for talking to the Echo. You’ve directed a number of productions and have won awards for them! How does it make you feel?

I never really set out on any project hoping to win awards. That being said, it’s always really lovely to be acknowledged in that way - it kind of serves as a helpful guide that I’m ok the right track!

When and how did you first realise you wanted to be a director?

I was an actor in musicals for quite a few years before I moved into directing. During that time I was lucky enough to be in the same room as some of the best creatives in the business - Cameron Mackintosh, Arlene Phillips and Matthew Borne to name a few. I was absolutely fascinated when watching them work and found myself drawn to that process much more than the need or want to be an actor.

Can you tell us briefly about your theatrical background?

Well, as I said, I was an actor for quite a few years before directing. A number of years ago I appeared in the national tour of The Sound Of Music directed by the brilliant Jeremy Sams. After watching him work on that project, I knew I wanted to do that, so I began to pursue opportunities on the creative side. It was a long time before I really broke into directing though. I owe a great deal to Sasha Regan, the artistic director at the Union Theatre in London. It’s a very small, but well respected space and Sasha allowed me to work and develop there as a director for many years.

What was your first directing role?

I directed a great little musical called Dames at Sea at the Union Theatre. The whole thing is a sort of parody to the Busby Berkeley era of Hollywood and starred the amazing, Rosemary Ashe, who I’d admired as an actress for years! I was so thrilled to work with her; It was an amazing first job!

Madagascar is now on its way to Southend. What did you enjoy most about directing that giant of a show?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one particular thing. The process, as a whole was hugely challenging, but massively rewarding. Seeing ideas come to life is always such a rush for a director and that was magnified on this show, purely because of the scale. I have to say, I am very fond of the puppets though!

Echo: Madagascar - photo by Scott Rylander

Were there any particularly tricky parts you needed to negotiate?

I think being true to the movie version was always a major concern of ours - we didn’t want to disappoint fans. That being said, I think we’ve managed to keep them happy whilst putting our own stamp on it too.

What are the main parts of that show which you are most proud, from a director’s point of view?

I think animal characters onstage can be very hit or miss. It’s an area that can very easy go wrong - how they look, how they move, and so on. But I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved on Madagascar. The costumes and puppets look really terrific!

How much input do you have once you have finished the rehearsals for a show, after it is ready to go off on tour?

Once the show is out on tour it is looked after by the resident director, who keeps the show in shape and maintains the vision of what the cast and I created in the room. I do visit the show every so often though and check in with the cast.

Please tell us the highlight (or one of the highlights) of your career so far.

I directed a revival of the wonderful American comedy “I love you, you’re perfect, now change” at the Arts Theatre in London a few years back. The producers said they’d only commit to the project if I secured a first rate cast, which I’m rather proud to say, I did. Working with Simon Lipkin, Julie Atherton, Gina Beck and Samuel Holmes on that material will always remain one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. Four incredible comedy actors, wonderful music and lots of laughter.

Have you ever worked with a cast member and been star struck or nervous before you met them and got down to work, and if so, can you please describe what the experience was like?

I can honestly say no. When it’s a job, all that stuff becomes unimportant very quickly and the work takes priority. That being said, if you put me in front of Judi Dench, I might struggle to form a sentence for a few moments.

What is next for Kirk Jameson?

I’m currently gearing up for my two seasonal projects, which all kick off next month. I’m directing the Christmas production for the new Barn Theatre in Cirencester. We’re presenting Just So, the Stiles and Drewe musical based on the Rudyard Kipling stories. Then it’s straight onto my very first pantomime; Jack and the Beanstalk in Hastings. I can’t wait!

Madagascar opens at the Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend, on Monday September 3 - Saturday September 8.

Visit for booking and further information.