Michael Billington OBE

Michael Billington OBE

Michael Billington OBE (1958, English) The Guardian Theatre Critic

Born in 1939, Michael is ‘Britain’s longest-serving theatre critic’ and the author of biographical and critical studies relating to British Theatre and the Arts.

Studying English at St Catz between 1955 and 1958, Michael was a member of Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS) and in 1960, he directed a production of Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Prima Donna, a performance which was attended by Harold Hobson, the drama critic for The Sunday Times. Michael's directorial debut was not well received, yet he credits Hobson for having "changed my life.” After the Festival, Michael decided to forego pursuing a career as a theatre practitioner to follow in Hobson's footsteps and become a critic of theatre too. Five years later and they would become colleagues at The Times.

In October 1971, Michael left The Times to become theatre critic for The Guardian. Beginning in the 1980s, he was a London arts correspondent for The New York Times and, since 1988, he has also served as drama critic for Country Life.

Michael was appointed an OBE in the 2013 New Years Honours for services to the theatre.