Cal McCrystal is a leading director who continues to transform the face of opera as we know it, recognising his creative vision as one of the most playful and dynamic currently seen worldwide. Originally from Ireland, his work spans opera, theatre, circus and film across the globe, with his productions described as ‘laugh-out-loud funny’ (The Guardian) where ‘Every aspect of the staging is designed to provoke or facilitate humour’ (Bachtrack). McCrystal created the critically-acclaimed production of Rossini Le comte Ory for Garsington Opera, and two Gilbert and Sullivan productions for English National Opera: H.M.S. Pinafore and the Olivier Award-winning Iolanthe, which will return in the ENO 2023/24 season.
McCystal trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama and at École Philippe Gaulier, and has worked extensively as an actor, writer and director in theatre, TV, film and radio. He was Comedy Director for the Royal National Theatre's award-winning West End and Broadway hit show One Man, Two Guvnors and for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Don Quixote.
McCrystal directed the original Mighty Boosh stage shows, winning a Perrier Award, and recently directed Noel Fielding's international tour An Evening With Noel Fielding. McCrystal continues to work regularly for British repertory theatres including Peepolykus, the Comedians Theatre Company, Garry Starr, and the celebrated British clown troupe Spymonkey. He collaborated for many years with the singer Kate Dimbleby with the last of their cabarets, Beware Of Young Girls, which transferred to New York in 2014. He spent many years as Comedy Director for Cirque du Soleil and created clown routines for their touring show, Varekai, and their erotic cabaret, Zumanity: Another Side of Cirque du Soleil, which ran for 15 successful years in Las Vegas. He recently returned to Las Vegas to direct OPIUM at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and create a new resident show for the Venetian Hotel, Atomic Saloon Show. For the last decade, McCrystal has written and directed the annual touring shows for Giffords Circus.
McCrystal is a leading Comedy Consultant for the movie industry where recent work includes: The Dictator, Matilda, The Worlds End, Man Up, The Nice Guys, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Cats and the Paddington films.
The Spectator, July 2021
"McCrystal ratchets the farcical plot to a pitch of delirious daftness that I’ve not encountered at the opera since, well, since McCrystal directed Iolanthe for ENO.....a comic genius. And McCrystal, like Rossini, is certainly that."
The Daily Express, February 2018
"Cal McCrystal made a name for himself directing One Man, Two Guvnors and has since earned great acclaim with the films Paddington and Paddington 2, but his Iolanthe in many ways surpasses even those in comic inventiveness"