Simon Painter

Executive/Creative Producer

Simon Painter is a visionary creative producer and entrepreneur based in California. Originally from London, Simon started his career as a classical violinist but soon transitioned into producing and creating commercial theatre. During the last 10 years, Simon has been at the forefront of the live entertainment industry, having launched and managed major performance venues and conceived, created and produced acclaimed productions such as Adrenaline and Le Noir. The first show he produced, Le Grand Cirque smashed box office records at the Sydney Opera House selling over 40,000 tickets in 10 days.


In 2012, in collaboration with Tim Lawson, Simon created “The Illusionists” franchise, which has become one of the biggest magic shows of all time, playing in over 50 cities in 15 countries. The show has since expanded with the stunning sequels The Illusionists 2.0 and The Illusionists 1903- The Golden Age of Magic, which debuted in Australia in January 2015.

Tim Lawson

Executive Producer

Australasian theatrical credits include Sweet Charity, Jolson, Buddy, Spirit of the Dance, Oh! What A Night, Fiddler on the Roof starring Topol (1998 and 2005-2007), It’s A Dad Thing!, Weary – The Life of Sir Edward Dunlop, Shout! The Musical and Brave Men Run In Our family, Jekyll and Hyde starring Brad Little and The Rocky Horror Show starring Richard O’Brien as the Narrator.

In partnership with one of the world’s most exciting young entrepreneurs, Simon Painter, the summer season of Le Grand Cirque at the Sydney Opera House broke box office records in the history of the iconic venue. This was followed by Aerial Dreams and Adrenaline, which would then tour through Australasia and beyond.


Their production of The Illusionists, sold out before it opened at Sydney Opera House, and has been touring theatres and arenas around the world ever since, along with it’s equally popular sequel The Illusionist 2.0 - The Next Generation of Magic.


Tim’s production of A Chorus Line was embraced by critics and audiences alike through Australasia, winning the 2012 Helpmann Award for Best Musical. Tim was also producer of the London Palladium season whilst touring Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang through Australia.

Tim and Simon’s sizzling production Le Noir - The Dark Side of Cirque has played twice through Tokyo, Singapore and China and returns to Australia in 2015 where their new production The Illusionists 1903 - The Golden Age of Magic premiered in January. Currently, their expanding network spans through over 120 cities in 23 countries.


Andrew Spencer

Executive Producer

Andrew has 20 years of experience in the live entertainment and arts industry from London to Sydney.  Over that time, Andrew has built up a diverse skill set that spans the entrepreneurial and subsidized sector within theatre, music, family entertainment and special events.


Most recently Andrew was Executive Producer of the Sydney Opera House programming department, Sydney Opera House Presents. Highlights of Andrew’s time at SOH were producing the annual program ‘Summer At the House', a festival of Summer Entertainment that annually sold 200,000 tickets, 'Just for Laughs at SOH’ in collaboration with the JFL team in Montreal and 'Jerry Springer the Musical'.


Eight years ago Andrew collaborated with Tim Lawson and Simon Painter to present commercial family entertainment during summer at SOH.  The first show 'Le Grand Cirque' in ‘07 was the highest selling show in the Opera Houses history.   In 2012, Andrew, (on behalf of SOH) co-produced 'The Illusionists' which became one of the most successful live entertainment brands in the world.


Jonathan Sanford

Producer/ General Manager

Jonathan Sanford has been in the entertainment industry for the past 15 years, first as a performer, and then as a producer on several international events and live stage shows.  With a degree in business and communications, he started behind the scenes production work on The Ice Kingdom, Luminasia, Illuminasia, and Cirque Shanghai, for International Special Attractions in Los Angeles before beginning his role as Producer and General Manager of The Works.


Since then, Jonathan has added production and management credits for The Illusionists franchise as well as Le Noir: The Darker Side of Cirque to his resume.

Neil Dorward

Director/ Choreographer

One of the most up-and-coming commercial theatre and TV directors in the world today, Neil has directed and choreographed a number of critically acclaimed touring theatre shows across Europe, China, Japan, America, Canada, the Middle East and Australia including: Solid Gold Motown (Monaco Sporting Club), All Night Long (Tropicana Hotel Las Vegas and European tour,) Rock around the Clock (European Tour), Spirit of Christmas, which opened in the world famous Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and Man in the Mirror (European Tour).


In early 2011, Neil directed Le Grand Cirque Adrenaline, a high octane Cirque spectacular that premiered at Sydney Opera House and toured internationally, marking the beginning of his collaboration with Simon Painter and Tim Lawson. Neil went on to direct Le Noir- The Dark Side of Cirque, which is currently touring the world.


Neil has proudly directed “The Illusionists” franchise from its debut at Sydney Opera House, to London’s Hammersmith Apollo (broadcast on ITV), and was thrilled to be able to bring it to Broadway as part of the US Tour.

His latest creation was The Illusionists 1903- The Golden Age of Magic, which premiered in Australia in January 2015.


Hollie Sanford England

Associate Producer

A graduate of Cambridge Performing Arts at Bodywork in England, Hollie has experience in all facets of the entertainment industry.  A member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA, she began her career as a stage and screen actress (Legally Blonde/ Scrooge/ Gossip Girl etc) and was first introduced to magic on European tour with Hans Klok. Hollie eventually transitioned into her role as a Production Coordinator and Associate Producer for The Illusionists franchise. She now works in tandem with The Works' producing partners around the globe to keep the brand relevant and trending.

Mathieu Laplante

Resident Director | Company Manager | Casting Director of Le Noir - The Dark Side of Cirque and Cirque Adrenaline

Since 2012 Mathieu has been the Resident Director, Company Manager & Casting Director for Le Noir- The Dark Side of Cirque, which will be continuing it's world tour in New Zealand in October / November 2015. Additionally, he will be taking on the high power extravaganza Cirque Adrenaline, opening soon in Hong Kong & Brisbane  December /January 2016.


Mathieu has just recently been invited to be part of the jury for the 17th International Circus Festival – City of Latina which will be held Oct 15th to 19thOctober 2015.


After 10 years of performing with the world famous Cirque Du Soleil “O” Show at The Bellagio, Las Vegas, and touring the world with Saltimbanco, Mathieu directed his first 'cirque-style' show at the age of 26 in Hawaii in 2005.


During his 4000+ artistic performances, Mathieu worked on stage with artists such as Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel and Janet Jackson and performed for the Queen of England at the Royal Variety Show in London.


During those years, Mathieu also created his own entertainment companies and served as an Event Designer and Director for many world-renowned companies such as Volkswagen, Strategic Group, Planet Event, Reebok, Cascade, Wallis Foundation, and Paris Hotel & Casino.


Kirsty Painter

Associate Director/ Choreographer

Kirsty started her entertainment career on cruise ships, moving on to live in Paris dancing in cabaret revues as a can-can soloist. Whilst in Paris, she added film and TV credits to her name such as Sydney Fox and Ni pour Ni Contre directed by Cederic Klapisch. Kirsty's next move was to travel the world with Spirit Productions in shows such as Spirit of the Dance, Spirit of Broadway, Dancing Queen, Spirit of Christmas and Le Grand Cirque. Eventually Kirsty took over as Assistant/ Resident Director for Le Grand Cirque when the show featured for the first time at The Sydney Opera House and after toured some of the biggest venues worldwide. There she found a love for the production side of show business as well as performing.


More recently as the Associate Director for The Illusionists, she worked closely on the creation of the show that opened for its world premiere at the Sydney Opera House 2012 and in July it toured Mexico performing to 115,000 people in 28 shows. Following on from that came the creation of The Illusionists 2.0, The Illusionists 1903 and Le Noir, all of which are following in the same successful path.



Christopher ‘Boon’ Casey

Lighting Designer

Angela Aaron

Costume Designer

International stylist Angela Aaron has suited and booted them all. She has styled the covers of magazines from Esquire to Newsweek, costumed chart top-ping music videos, and seen her work featured on national TV. On the live front, her costumes have graced stages and circuses from Beijing to Sydney and from Beirut to Dubai. She is proud and happy to work with The Works Entertainment, adding her own style of magic to a Broadway success story.


Evan Jolly


Theatre includes: The Illusionists 2.0 (Sydney Opera House), Le Grand Cirque (Sydney Opera House); Great White Fog (Almeida, London); arrangements for The Genius of Ray Charles and Thriller: The Musical (West End, UK and US tours). Film and TV credits include Tonight Is Cancelled (Fastnet Films); Under The Skin (Filmfour); Cowboys In India (Channel 4); Graham and Alice (BBC). Games (with James Hannigan) include Command & Conquer and the Harry Potter franchise.