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Michael Downey Directing The Merchant of Venice

Michael Downey (he/him)

Michael Downey in The Orderly (2019 production)

Michael Downey is Founding Co-Artistic Director of Speech of Fire and served as regular stage director and text coach for Seoul Shakespeare Company (SSC) from 2015 to 2019, having been an actor for SSC since 2010 and board member since 2011.

Michael directed SSC’s productions of The Merchant of VeniceGarageThe Winter’s Tale, and Much Ado About Nothing, forming the company's house style during those years. Other directing credits include New Year’s Eve by David MacGregor, and A Circular Play by Gertrude Stein.


Michael trained as an actor at the Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts in New Zealand, and later completed an MA in Drama Studies from the University of Auckland. 


He co-founded the Rebel Alliance Theatre Company in 2006, their first production being his solo play The Orderly, which toured New Zealand and was adapted for radio. Another playwriting credit, Aroha, won the 2007 SmackBang PlayRight award.


Stage acting credits include Seoul Shakespeare Company’s Macbeth (Macbeth), The Tempest (Prospero), Titus Andronicus (Titus), and King Lear (Lear); Bucheon Cultural

Foundation’s The Soldier’s Tale (Narrator); Eurasia Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Richard III (Clarence) at the National Theatre of Korea; Auckland Museum’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck); SmackBang Theatre’s Daddy’s Dollar (the Man); ConArtists’ The X Folios

 (Ensemble); and Free Theatre’s Oedipus the King (Creon). 


Screen and television credits include Power Rangers (Baron Von Gerstein); Shortland Street (Barry Brown); Street Legal (Gordon Sellars); Interrogation (Athol Nombach); and Xena: Warrior Princess (Young villager). 


In the summer of 2018 he trained in Prague Shakespeare Company’s Summer Shakespeare 

Intensive, playing Octavius Caesar and Soothsayer in Julius Caesar at the Estates Theatre.


 Michael founded the theatre company Speech of Fire with his wife, American actor/creative producer/director/designer Lauren Ash-Morgan in 2019 and relocated to London in 2022. The company is currently focused on producing small-scale shows that have the ability to travel, as well as offering acting classes to the public.

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