Michael Alfreds is a director who was born in London in 1934 to Jewish parents. He is best known as the founder of theatre company Shared Experience. Alfreds studied dramatic arts at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in the US and worked as stage director in Cincinnati and Tucson, Arizona. He trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in London. Throughout his career Alfreds directed plays in a number of theatres in the UK, was artistic director of an ensemble at the National Theatre, and worked in theatres in many different countries, such as Canada, Germany, Norway, China, Belarus, Australia, New Zealand, and Mongolia. From 1970 to 1975, Alfreds worked as senior lecturer at the theatre department of Tel Aviv University, and from 1972 to 1975, he was artistic director of the Khan Theatre in Jerusalem. In 1975, after his return to Britain, he founded and toured with his own ensemble Shared Experience. In 1986, he won a Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for directing The Cherry Orchard at the National Theatre. From 1991 to 1999, he was director of the the Cambridge-based company Method and Madness, and also directed at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Alfreds’ method of direction was inspired amongst others by Constantin Stanislavski and Rudolf Laban, with emphasis on physical activities and spontaneity. He has written about his work in the theatre in Different Every Night: Putting the Play on Stage and Keeping it Fresh (2008) and Then What Happens? Storytelling & Adapting for Theater (2013).