Phelim has been directing and performing since 1984. He co-founded Dereck Dereck Productions with Julia Bardsley and productions include Cupboard Man, as solo performer (Fringe First), Gaudete (Time Out Director’s Award and The Sweet Shop Owner. Other directing includes Dr Faustus, Improbable Tales and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the English Shakespeare Company in 1996/97 (TMA Award for Best Touring Production).
He co-wrote with Lee Simpson and appeared in Get Off My Foot. He directed Shockheaded Peter in London and at the Little Schubert Theatre, Off Broadway, with Julian Crouch; a junk opera collaboration with The Tiger Lilies for Cultural Industry (Olivier Award for Best Entertainment, TMA Best Director Award and Critics Society Best Designer Award). Productions with Improbable include the multi award-winning 70 Hill Lane, Lifegame, Animo, Coma, Spirit, Sticky, Cinderella, The Hanging Man and Theatre of Blood, a collaboration with The National Theatre.
Phelim McDermott has also worked as an actor in radio, film, TV and theatre. In 2003, he was awarded a NESTA fellowship to research new ways of rehearsing and creating theatre using Improvisation and Process Oriented Conflict Facilitation Techniques. As part of this work, he recently facilitated the fifth Open Space Technology event called ‘Devoted and Disgruntled: What are we going to do about theatre?’ for the theatre community.
Phelim is a regular improvising guest with the Comedy Store Players.