Phyllida Lloyd CBE


Current position: Director of plays, opera and film including Mamma Mia! on stage and screen

Course: BA, Drama and English, 1979; DLitt, Honorary Degree, 2009


This mentor may be of interest to students of Drama, Theatre Arts or English, and to those with an interest in careers in theatre, film or television.


A leading British director and an English graduate from the University of Birmingham, in 2008 Phyllida Lloyd directed the UK’s highest ever grossing film, Mamma Mia, transforming her stage version, seen by a global audience of more than 45 million, to the silver screen. In 2011, she directed The Iron Lady, the award-winning biopic of Margaret Thatcher. Phyllida spent five years working in BBC television drama after graduation before winning a bursary from the Arts Council of Great Britain to be a Trainee Director at the Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich and a flourishing directing career followed, including staging the English National Opera’s production of Wagner’s Valkyrie at Glastonbury music festival. Awarded a CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours for services to drama, Phyllida is also a supporter of the University’s new auditorium build.

Quotes from mentees

  • Phyllida gave me the names of several casting directors and agents she knew who I should write to, and said that she would forward my emails onto them herself, which is incredibly helpful. Since then she has put me in touch with one of the top musical theatre casting directors in London who has agreed to meet with me sometime in the next couple of months.
  • For me, the greatest advice Phyllida gave to me was her honesty about the difficulty in breaking into such a competitive industry like the media whilst at the same time, offering me advice and guidance on how to improve my CV and stand out from the crowd.
  • Thanks to Phyllida’s advice on how to contact these companies and how to conduct myself in a professional manner, I have been luckily enough to get an internship at a local television production company throughout my final year at university.