"When in doubt, add another row of sequins!"
Mike Lees is a London based Costume, Production, Set Designer and stylist working across Musicals, Straight Theatre, Opera and Television.
With over a decade of experience on a vast and eclectic mix of projects, Mike has built up a successful reputation as a Designer with an outstanding passion and eye for detail. As well as designing, Mike can offer a combined wardrobe and make-up service, as well as being an accomplished scenic artist, stage manager and model maker.
Creative, dedicated and highly organised as a Head of Department and crew member, providing services that work on time, on specification and on budget; liaising effectively with all departments to bring the vision of the Director, Producers and Performers to life, Mike has an obvious love for his work and thrives on perfection, bringing a unique and individual approach to each project, tailor making each production to the company’s needs.
From an early age Mike's obsession with creating was obvious. He learnt to draw, sew and paint and was soon making costumes and designing scenery for school plays and drama companies he was member of. With a brief foray in front of the curtains, with varying success, Mike decided his role was firmly behind the scenes.
Having studied at the Rose Bruford School of Speech and Drama, covering Production Design and Realisation, Mike began his career designing and creating costumes for the BBC and for West End Productions, obtaining experiences and knowledge that can only be learnt truly hands on, and or, being thrown in the depths. He assisted and accompanied several Designers, Choreographers, Directors and Creatives, learning on the job and picking up key skills needed to survive. This experience, coupled with a history of acting and stage management, allowed him to have a completely well rounded skills set and understanding of the importance of all the departments working together. Now, a decade later, Mike has the knowledge and skills to take on any project, no matter how big, small or bizarre.
Mike has designed sets and costumes for more than 200 productions throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East and America.
Recent productions include: Undine; Romeo & Juliet (Bolshoi Ballet Russia); The Toxic Avenger (Arts Theatre London) Shoot!-I didn't mean that! (National Theatre Shed); Stop The Play! (Trafalgar Studios); Mathilde (Vaudeville Theatre); Fred Astaire: His Daughter's Tribute (London Palladium); What I Heard About Iraq (Arts Theatre); Gone (New Ambassadors); Madama Butterfly (Hackney Empire); Miss Julie (Strindberg's Intima Theater, Stockholm & New Wolsey Ipswich); Olga's Room (Abbaye de Neumunster, Luxembourg); The Little Mermaid (National Theatre of Dubai); Calendar Girls (Leicester & Tour); Holding Hands at Passchendale (Lyric Belfast & Tour); The Stanhope Sisters (Theatre Royal Bath); Pete n Dud: Come Again (Leicester Square Theatre); Whistle Down the Wind (Churchill Theatre Bromley) as well as numerous designs on the London Fringe for the Finborough, Jermyn Street, King's Head, Landor & Arcola Theatres; where he has designed the UK premieres of Sondheim's Do I Hear A Waltz, A Tale of Two Cities The Musical, Myths and Hymns, Count Oederland, Abigail1702 and The Young Ones.
Mike has designed both private parties, corporate events and award ceremonies for clients including Facebook, Palantir, Google, The Bulgari Hotel, Harrods, The Berkley, JP Morgan, Barclays Group, Aspen, Corinthia Hotel, Northern Trust and numerous high profile individuals. As well as red carpet events and premieres including Beauty & The Beast, Rogue One and Fantastic Beasts.
As a Costume Designer and maker, Mike has created costumes and outfits for the National Theatre, The BBC, The Theatre Museum,, The World Trade Fair and numerous Cabaret and recording acts and artists including Lady Gaga, KACTA and most recently for the XFactor and Downton Abby. He has contributed work to several publications on design and theatre history; and his designs have been exhibited at the V&A, 4Dimensional, The Bloomsbury gallery, The Candid Gallery, The Royal National Theatre Craic Gallore and The University Women's Arts Club.
Mike has designed 23 recipient productions of the Edinburgh Fringe First Award, all of which have transferred to successful London runs, and he is holder of a Mercury Award for Design. He has been nominated for 18 Of f West End Awards over the last 5 years, and been in the final 3 for 4 consecutive years. In 2017 he was nominated for Russia’s prestigious Golden Mask for his work on Romeo & Juliet.