Omar F. Okai Interview for Performers Stuff Pro Series: Part 1- From being a Performer to running a successful Theater Company

Written by: Mark Pawsey

July 29, 2021

Performer Stuff Pro Series host, Mark Pawsey catches up with Omar F. Okai, currently rehearsing Disney’s Bedknobs & Broomsticks prior to its UK premiere and Tour, on which he is Resident Director. Mark and Omar met over 30 years ago when they were both working on King – The Martin Luther King Musical, at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End. Listen to Omar talk about how he started in the business as a performer and what it took to begin, develop and then maintain his own Company, The Okai Collier Company which has been breaking down social barriers and encouraging new talent since 1994. Omar is a successful Choreographer and Director having worked on over 90 productions to date and still counting.

Meet Choreographer and Director Omar F. Okai


OMAR F. OKAI is the Co-Director/Founder/ of the Black British Theatre Awards (#BBTAS), who’s inaugural ceremony was October 2019. He is also the Artistic Director of The Okai Collier Company for over 20 years.

He has directed/choreographed internationally, France, Spain, Germany and Shanghai and of course Britain, over 90 productions, videos and documentary. Productions included are Five Guys Named Moe, Cabaret, Rent, Annie, Peter Pan, Elegies for Angel’s, Punks and Raging Queens, Smiling State, Honk!, Assassins’ (Mountview Theatre School) Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Performance Preparation Academy) Sweet Charity. He is also an International Musical Theatre Examiner for Urdang International. This year sees Omar returning to Shanghai to direct Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jnr, Honk, and Once On This Island. In his own right Omar is an accomplished west end performer, credits are KingFive Guys Named Moe (original cast), Sweet Charity, My One and Only, Honk!, Candide and Villains Opera.

He is also an experienced performing arts teacher in dance and drama and has taught in vast array of performing arts schools. Omar is also in preparation for his own penned musical Celia going into workshop.

WATCH: Omar F. Okai Interview for Performers Stuff Pro Series: Part 1- From being a Performer to running a successful Theater Company


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Mark is British and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London winning the Liverpool Playhouse Award and an honors diploma in Stage Management. He spent 15 years in London’s West End working on shows such as “Steel Magnolias”, “Taboo – The Boy George Musical” and original productions of “The Woman in Black” “Buddy” and “The Phantom of the Opera”. In 1998 Mark joined the acclaimed “Cirque du Soleil” troupe, touring the world with “Alegria”, “Quidam” and “Amaluna”. He moved to Las Vegas in 2004 to take up residence with them on “Zumanity” and then to Tokyo in 2010 with “ZED” where he became Artistic Director. He gave a TEDx Talk in Edmonton, Canada in 2013 on “The Future of Inspiration” and left Cirque after 16 years, in 2014. However, he stumbled upon an opportunity with Norwegian Cruise Lines which led to a fortuitous partnership with Joyce Arbucias and The Imagination House in Orlando, where he has been a Producer of Live Entertainment for the past 3½ years.