About

The Okai Collier Company:

Founded in 1994 by Artistic Director Omar F. Okai and Writer / Producer / Director Simon James Collier, the award-winning Okai Collier Company and its subsidiaries has over 100 productions to its credit and works towards breaking down contemporary social barriers and encouraging new talent by developing a range of projects. These projects include award-winning theatrical productions, feature films and documentaries, opera, projects with young people, exhibitions for new artists, and social investment projects as well as an innovative publishing division. The Okai Collier Company is committed to maintaining a balanced portfolio of work, divided between the commercial and charitable spheres, drawing on a diverse range of people and disciplines, thereby creating vehicles that are ground breaking, informative and entertaining.
 


The Company’s awards and nominations include 5 Musical Stages awards for Ruthless, including Best Director and Best Musical Production, 4 Whatsonstage nominations for Purlie, including Best Musical Revival and Best Overall Fringe Production and 2 Offie award nominations for 1888, including Best New Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. The company has been twice nominated for an Empty Space… Peter Brook Award (2011 & 2014), acknowledging its body of work.


Ruthless, featuring the award-winning
Paul L. Martin & Louise Hollamby
Purlie, Joanna Francis in her
award nominated performance

The company, through its Evcol Entertainment subsidiary, created Shakespeare Sessions at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre, an enterprise which has now evolved into the Arrows and Traps Theatre Company.



Omar collecting his 2016
International Achievement Recognition Award for Choreography
About Omar F. Okai:
         
Omar F. Okai is an award-winning director and / or choreographer of over sixty plays and musicals, produced both in London and Europe. He is the Artistic Director of the award winning Okai Collier Company Limited, which has been nominated for an Empty Space…Peter Brook Award / Equity Ensemble category both in 2011 and 2014 acknowledging its body of work. In 2001 Omar received the Best Director award for ‘Ruthless’, which also won four other awards including Best Musical Production [off West End], and was jointly nominated in 2004 for two Whatsonstage Awards [Best Musical Revival and Best Overall off West End Production] for ‘Purlie’. Omar recently won the 2016 International Achievement Recognition Award for Choreography and has been nominated for a B.E.F.F.T. Award, again for Choreography.

Directing:
Perseverance (Directing, staring Victoria Wilson James [Soul to Soul – World premiere at The Apothecary, Egg, London, 2016]; Catford Broadway Studio Theatre: The White Witch of Rose Hall; Been There, Doing It (Director / Staging  Co-Producer, Tour); Scandinavian Heart (Director, Above the Gatehouse Theatre), Emoticon (Director, Jack Studio); Honk & How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (Director, Steiner Theatre); Sweet Charity (Direction / re-staging Bob Fosse’s original choreography, Steiner Theatre); Aspects of Dance (Direction, Lyceum Theatre, West End)
Movement Direction / Choreography:
Choreographer Honk! National Theatre tour (UK); Moonshadow (Movement Direction, White Bear); Three Sisters (Movement Direction, Birmingham Rep); Stairway to Heaven (Movement Director, Blue Elephant); Gifted (Movement Direction, White Bear)
Theatre Royal Stratford East:
Robin Hood (Choreography); Little Red Riding Hood (Director); Come Dancing by Ray Davies of ‘The Kinks’ (Choreographer); Aladdin, Hansel & Gretel, Cinderella (Olivier Award Nominated Best Show affiliated to the West End); Pass The Baton, High Heeled Parrot Fish
English Speaking Theatre Frankfurt:
Five Guys Named Moe (Direction / Choreography); Cabaret (Choreography); Rent (Choreography)
National Theatre:
Honk! (Resident Choreographer, Olivier Theatre – winner of Best Musical ‘Olivier Awards’); The Villain’s Opera (Assistant Choreographer)
Okai Collier Company:
Purlie (Bridewell, What’s On Stage award nominated for ‘Best Musical Revival’ & ‘Best Off-West End Production’ – Direction); Ruthless (Stratford Circus, London, winner of Best Director and Best Production, Musical Stages Awards); Madame X (Direction, Jack Studio); Preacherosity (Direction, Jermyn Street); The Smilin’ State (Direction, Hackney Empire); A… My Name Is Alice (Direction, Bridewell), Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (Direction, Bridewell Theatre); 1888 (Direction, The Union Theatre); Jekyll & Hyde / The Corruption of Dorian Gray / Dracula (Movement Direction / The Lion & Unicorn); Bloodline (Movement Direction, Jack Studio); Collision (Movement Direction, Hackney Empire); The Remains of the Day (Movement Direction, Union Theatre); The Last Ever Musical (Movement Direction / Choreography, White Bear); Much Ado About Nothing (Additional Choreography, Lion & Unicorn); Blavatsky’s Tower (Movement Direction, Jack Studio); Dracula 2008 (Movement Direction, White Bear);
Education:
He has also worked with the education departments at both Camden Roundhouse & The Royal Opera House, for Kinetika and The New London Orchestra. He has also worked extensively with the Southern Housing Foundation on various social investment projects including directing the notable 411 documentary.
West End Performing Credits:
Five Guys Named Moe (Original Cast, Lyric Theatre, West End), Sweet Charity (Victoria Palace Theatre), My One & Only and King (Piccadilly Theatre), Honk / Candide / The Villain’s Opera (National Theatre)


Simon overseeing the 1888 rehearsals
About Simon James Collier:

Simon is CEO and Co-Founder of the award-winning The Okai Collier Company Limited / Evcol Entertainment and has produced and been the creative director of over 100 plays, musicals, workshops, recordings, documentaries, social investment / community arts projects and films in London and throughout the world. The Okai Collier Limited / Evcol Entertainment were nominated for a Peter Brook / Empty Space Equity Ensemble Award in 2011, and again in 2014, acknowledging their body of work.
Selected Theatre Productions include [as Producer / Creative Director unless otherwise stated]: Jack Studio Theatre: Madame X (June, 2015 / Adapted), Blavatsky’s Tower / Project Snowflake / Bloodline (also Directed); Theatre Royal Stratford East: Madame X (2015 / rehearsed reading - Director / Adaptation); The New Wimbledon Studio Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew (Producer)  / Titus Andronicus (Producer);  Lion and Unicorn Theatre: Dracula (2015 / Director / Adaptation / Staging / Producer) / Jekyll & Hyde: Corpus Delicti (Director / Staging / Producer / Co-adaptation) / The Corruption of Dorian Gray (Director / Staging / Producer / Co-adaptation) / The Winter’s Tale (nominated for an OFFIE Best Actress Award) / Much Ado About Nothing / Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus (Director / Staging / Producer) / The Jungle Book (Director / Staging / Producer / Co-adaptation) / Oliver Twist / Supernatural; Broadway Theatre, Catford: The White Witch of Rose Hall (Writer / Executive Producer); Arcola Theatre: The Last Crystal of Doominator (Writer/Lyrics); Union Theatre: 1888 (also Co-Director – nominated for 2 Off West End Awards) / The Remains of the Day (Evening Standard Critic’s Choice); Stratford Circus, London: Ruthless! (Winner of 5 Musical Theatre Awards, including Best Production) / A Time to Speak / Doin’ Something Right; Bridewell Theatre: Purlie (nominated for 4 Whatsonstage.com Awards) / Passion / A… My Name Is Alice / Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens (also Executive Producer on cast recording); Hackney Empire: Collision (also Directed) / The Smilin’ State / A Wrongful Execution (also Directed) / A Mother Speaks / The Last Session / In His Hands / Chromovalley (Book & Lyrics); Prince of Wales Theatre: Animate! (Directed, rehearsed presentation); Jermyn Street Theatre: The Dorchester / My Matisse / Preacherosity; White Bear Theatre: The Last Ever Musical (Book / Producer / Director) / Dracula / Moonshadow (Time Out Critics’ Choice) / Love Horse / Gifted; Belgrade Theatre, Coventry: Whole Lotta Shakin’; Cambridge Theatre West End, Plymouth, Birmingham: Great Balls of Fire; Merlin Theatre, Frome: Spooky Noises [1996] (also co book & lyrics) / La Vie En Rose (also King’s Head Theatre/Towngate Theatre) / Countess & Cabbages (also co book); Hornchurch Theatre: Shiny Happy People (with Victoria Wood); Blue Elephant Theatre: Stairway to Heaven; Tobacco Factory, Bristol: Normal; Finborough Theatre/Edinburgh Festival/Tour: The Lullabies of Broadmoor; K52 Theatre, Frankfurt: Hedwig & The Angry Inch; Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells: Viva O Carnaval (also co book & lyrics); Three Mills, London: Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens. Workshops include: Numbers / Dr. Ox’s Experiment / The Last Ever Musical / Spooky Noises / Call Me Lee / Diary of a Chav / Where Art Thou Brother? / Disparate Bodies / Velvet Voices: Close Comforts / The White Witch of Rose Hall / Mary Seacole in Many Lands.
Simon has written and published over twenty books and novels for young adults (these include: The Rise of Alex Avi / Towards the Light Fantastic Trilogy / The Mr Dark Trilogy / Towards The Light Fantastic Trilogy / Spooky Noises / Norman / Norman Under The Sea / The Keeper / Countess & Cabbages / Fantastic Adventures in the Land of Wishful Thinking / George the Germ, a number of which have been optioned for television and adapted for the stage.
He has also been a Picture Editor for The Walt Disney Company, The Reader’s Digest, The Funday Times, The Young Telegraph, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd, Richmond Publishing and Addison Wesley Longman Publishers, working on over 500 books and magazines. Simon has also been a critic for Musical Stages Magazine and BBC Radio.
In 2009 he produced Dance with Me, his first feature film, and is currently developing new movies for production. He also directed The Difference We Make, a documentary for Southern Housing Foundation as well as presenting noted events at Hackney Empire (Inspiration Innovation Integration Season) & St. Paul’s Cathedral (Service of Thanksgiving, Remembrance & Hope for World AIDS Day). In 2003 Simon commissioned noted composer Rowland Lee to write Requiem’ to mark World AIDS day. The piece was performed that year at St. Martin in the Fields, London, with Sarah Connolly, MBE, with a reception hosted by the South African Ambassador at South Africa House (Trafalgar Square) afterwards. The Requiem, following a performance at the Philharmonia Grand Hall, St Petersburg, Russia in 2011 by the Opera Choir of the Mikhailovsky Theatre accompanied by The St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra, has now been published by Editions Peters and is slated to be recorded in 2016 / 17.
Simon is a judge of the highly successful ‘Write Now’ new writer’s competition in London – now in its seventh year, and has been Executive Director at both The Bridewell and Lion & Unicorn Theatres, and Artistic Consultant at Jermyn Street Theatre. Simon has recently completed his latest novel; The Rise of Alex Avi: Genesis and is currently working with long-time collaborator Omar F. Okai on Speakeasy, a new musical he co-wrote the original story for, and Spooky Noises, a new family musical he’s created with Composer / Lyricist Richard Bates.
Outside of the entertainment business Simon has held the position of ‘Director’ at The Globe Centre, helping with people living with HIV / AIDS, and acted as Trustee for both that organisation and BILAN (where he was also Chair), a charity working with Somali people coping with HIV. He was Chair of the Events Committee at Crusaid, the National HIV / AIDS fund-raising charity, and also a Trustee of Urban Theatre, an arts-based youth organisation in East London, giving young people a chance to express themselves through theatre and the written word.

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