ABOUT

View my CV

As you'll know if you read the text in big letters at the top of this page, I'm a director, and - after ten years in London - I'm now back living (and hopefully working) in Belfast.

I've been in and around the theatre, film and television industries for about fifteen years, and even though I started directing for the screen relatively recently, I've been working up to it for a very long time.

On the way, I’ve developed new writing for the stage (including commissioning and directing Lisa McGee’s early work), produced the Irish premiere of The 24hr Plays, taught acting at University of Ulster, lectured in theatre at Queen's University Belfast, and was Artistic Director of my home-town's Lyric Theatre Drama Studio - an actor training program for performers aged 18-26. Add to that my experiences over ten years living and working as an actor in London, in everything from BBC period dramas to Ridley Scott produced Sci-Fi, from the National Theatre to the the Bond stage, and you'll see why I feel like I have something different to offer. Unlike most directors, who rarely get to see how their heroes do the same job, I've been lucky enough to be directed by some of the best, both on screen and on stage - including Stephen FrearsRalph FiennesRian JohnsonOliver Hirschbiegel, Howard Davies, David Farr, Dominic Cooke, and Nick Murphy.

My first film, Guard -  a female led boxing film (or relationship drama, if you're not a festival curator) - was completed in 2017. It debuted at Galway Film Fleadh and has since screened in compeititon at over thirty festivals, including Oscar, BAFTA and EFA qualifiers. Then, just before the end of last year, it won a European Independent Film Award in the Best Short Film category. By that time, I'd already moved on to child number two...

My second film, Troubles, another Belfast-set relationship drama, focuses on issues of male friendship, sexuality and mental health. It was funded by BFI Network via Northern Ireland Screen. Having just been completed, the film was selected for inclusion in a BFI NI Screen showcase event, hosted by BAFTA in April 2018, before debuting in competition at the Oscar-qualifying Galway Film Fleadh.

My third film is a short doc entitled The Empty Chair, exploring the impact of teenage suicide on three Northern Irish families. Once again, I've been awarded funding by BFI via NI Screen, and have secured additional support from Inspire, the mental health charity. I will shoot and edit the film myself and hope to complete the whole process before the end of the year.

Having completed a course in documentary filmmaking at the NFTS, and worked professionally as a photographer for a decade, the recent move into self-shooting (for documentary) has been a hugely rewarding one, utilising lots of existing skills and allowing me to further develop as a narrative director.

Most recently, I made a return to directing for the stage, with On McQuillan's Hill by "Ulster's Martin McDonagh" (The Guardian's words, not mine) Joseph Crilly, at London's Finborough Theatre. You can read more, including some of the critical responses on the ''OMH' page.

The ultimate aim? I want to direct theatre and TV, side by side. In regards to the latter, I'm looking for my first broadcast credit, and any experience that will help me get there.

I’m interested in truthful stories that affect us on an emotional level and which allow the audience access to a world to which they might not otherwise gain entry. I love the dark humour that arises in unlikely circumstances – the kind I grew up around in 80s  and 90s Belfast. I’m a passionate believer in diversity and in telling stories from underrepresented social and ethnic groups.

So that's me. When I'm not going on about myself, I start more books than I finish, extoll the virtues of veggie haggis, and make things out of wood. All this happens somewhere in South Belfast, where I live with my wife - an actor and telly writer - our baby son, and our very moody lurcher, Gracie. I'm in London about once a fortnight, so give me a shout and we'll have a coffee. I want to hear about you for a change.

Please email me for a bang up-to-date CV, links to full screeners and an extended reel.

TESTIMONIALS

“A consummate professional who has a clear idea of what he wants and now knowing how to get it. A great rapport with actors as you would expect from a good actor himself, and a respect for crew make a great mix and can only lead him to bigger and better things.”

Raymond Lau, Producer (Disney’s The Lodge, Millie Inbetween)

 

“Jonathan is very clear in his vision as a director and it is always a great pleasure for me to work with him at the helm. He also effortlessly manages to keep the set going with good humour which is so vital”

John Leslie. Production Designer (Zoo, The Survivalist, Bad Day for the Cut)

 

“A great collaborator, respectful and with a clear vision. Also, a great attention to detail throughout the entire post production process. Jonathan is the kind of director I like to work with”

Brian Philip Davis, Editor (Bad Day for the Cut, Zoo, Devil’s Doorway)

 

“Every process from casting, rehearsal and the shoot was an absolute dream to be a part of. Jonathan allowed artistic freedom and discovery whilst maintaining his precise, clear vision for the project. He created an easy and fun environment which meant myself and the other actors could do our very best work. I would relish the opportunity to work with him again.”

Fra Fee, Actor (Les Misérables, Animals)

 

“Besides being an extraordinarily dynamic director of acting, Jonathan has a highly developed visual sense. Along with an understanding of what the production’s physical, and aesthetic needs are, is the technical knowledge of how to achieve it.”

Norman Coates, Scenic Designer (The Dice House, Proof, Mr Cinders, The Importance of Being Earnest, From a Jack to a King – all West End)

 

“Jonathan has the ability to really get the best from artists. You’re never made feel like an idiot, and the process is about continual discovery in an egalitarian environment. I was absolutely blown away having worked with him, and want to do it all again. I trust him implicitly.”

Gina Costigan, Actress (The Ferryman, Broadway)

 

“Jonathan showed a mastery of his craft from the outset and squeezed every drop from a challenging play. He directed with compassion, humour and limitless energy. We couldn’t have asked for more from a director and would love to work with him again should the opportunity arise.”

Tom Aarvold, Producer (Finborough Theatre)