Michael Palin established his reputation with Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Ripping Yarns. His work also includes several films with Monty Python, as well as The Missionary, A Private Function, an award-winning performance as the hapless Ken in A Fish Called Wanda, American Friends and Fierce Creatures.
His television credits include two films for the BBC’s Great Railway Journeys, the plays East of Ipswich and Number 27, Alan Bleasdale’s GBH, and the three-part BBC drama, Remember Me.
He has written books to accompany his eight very successful travel series, Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya, New Europe and Brazil. He is also the author of a number of children’s stories, the play The Weekend, and the novels Hemingway’s Chair and The Truth. Michael’s three volumes of diaries are 1969–1979: The Python Years, 1980–1988: Halfway to Hollywood and 1988–1998: Travelling to Work.
In 2014, Michael and his fellow Pythons performed a ten-night sell-out show called Monty Python Live at the O2 Arena, London. Between 2009 and 2012, Michael was President of the Royal Geographical Society.
(Photo by John Swannell)
Gail Pallin began her career at The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, and has worked and toured as a Stage Manager with many of the major companies throughout Britain, including The Royal Court, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, and the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester. She has also directed various productions with youth and community groups in Scotland.
She lectured at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, and then Fife College for 25 years and was on the board of the Stage Management Association.
She now runs a business CallQ, which provides show caller training software to drama schools, universities and the profession across twelve countries. She is a trustee at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.
Suzan-Lori Parks is a leading American playwright. Her numerous plays include Father Comes Home From the Wars (2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist), The Book of Grace, Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize), In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus (1996 OBIE Award), The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Fucking A, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award for Best New American Play) and The America Play. Her work on The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess earned the production a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in 2012. In 2007 her 365 Plays/365 Days was produced in more than seven hundred theatres worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theatre history.
Named one of TIME magazine’s '100 Innovators for the Next New Wave', in 2002 Suzan-Lori Parks became the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her Broadway hit Topdog/Underdog. She was the 2018 recipient of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.
Amanda Parris is a writer for the stage and screen, as well as a television and radio host. Her debut play, Other Side of the Game, was premiered at Aki Studio Theatre, co-produced by Cahoots Theatre and Obsidian Theatre Company in 2017. It won the Governor General's Literary Award in 2019.
She is the co-founder of the award-winning alternative education organisation Lost Lyrics and worked with the Remix Project and the Manifesto Festival. She has spoken about her work at United Nations conferences around the world.
Lisa Parry is a playwright based in Cardiff, whose work has been widely performed by leading new-writing theatres throughout the UK. Her plays include The Merthyr Stigmatist (Sherman Theatre Cardiff & Theatre Uncut, 2021) and 2023 (Illumine Theatre, 2018).
Soheil Parsa is an award-winning director, actor, writer, dramaturge, choreographer, and teacher whose professional theatre career spans two continents. In his native Iran, he completed studies in theatre performance at the University of Tehran and began a career as an actor and director. Arriving in Canada with his family in 1984, he completed a second Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies at York University and then went on to establish Modern Times Stage Company as one of the most exciting culturally diverse theatre companies in Canada. As a director, set and stage designer, translator, adaptor, choreographer, and actor, his work is based on his experience in Iran and focuses on oppression and loss of freedom.
Benj Pasek is an American composer and lyricist, best known for his work with Justin Paul as songwriting duo Pasek and Paul, a composing team for musical theatre, films, and television. Their works include A Christmas Story, Dogfight, Edges, Dear Evan Hansen, and James and the Giant Peach. Their original songs have been featured on NBC's Smash, and in the film La La Land, for which they won both the Golden Globe and Academy Awards for Best Original Song for the song 'City of Stars'.
Jusin Paul is an American composer and lyricist, best known for his work with Benj Pasek as songwriting duo Pasek and Paul, a composing team for musical theatre, films, and television. Their works include A Christmas Story, Dogfight, Edges, Dear Evan Hansen, and James and the Giant Peach. Their original songs have been featured on NBC's Smash, and in the film La La Land, for which they won both the Golden Globe and Academy Awards for Best Original Song for the song 'City of Stars'.