Michael was the RSC's Artistic Director from 2002 to 2012.
Under his leadership, the RSC has reinvested in training, artist development, education and experimentation. They staged The Tragedies and The Spanish Golden Age Season in 2004, The Comedies and The Gunpowder Season in 2005, and the Complete Works Festival in 2006, performing all of Shakespeare's 37 plays, long poems and sonnets, with 30 visiting companies from across the world.
As a Director he worked with the first new long ensemble of 34 actors over 2½ years to stage The Histories. The productions opened in Stratford-upon-Avon at The Courtyard Theatre in 2007 and transferred to the Roundhouse in Camden, London in Spring 2008, to enormous critical acclaim, winning many awards including three Oliviers.
During his tenure Michael led the Company through the successful transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, in a major £112.8m project to bring actors and audiences closer together with a thrust stage auditorium.
This year the RSC celebrated its 50th Birthday Season, with two companies of actors playing across both the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres, and a series of events looking back over half a century of bold theatre-making. In April 2011 Michael also directed Macbeth, the first new production in the transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
In the Summer of 2011 Michael took an unprecedented RSC repertoire to the heart of New York as part of Lincoln Center Festival, performing seven Shakespeare plays in a unique reconstruction of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium at Park Avenue Amory.
The RSC produced the World Shakespeare Festival for the Olympics in London – a worldwide celebration of Shakespeare's as the world's favourite playwright.
In April 2012 the RSC's production of Matilda, commissioned and developed by Michael as Artistic Director, won an unprecedented seven Olivier Awards, breaking the RSC's own record of six for Nicholas Nickleby in 1980.
From 1996, Michael was an Associate Director of the RSC, working alongside Michael Attenborough, Katie Mitchell, Gregory Doran and Steven Pimlott. In 2001 he won both the Olivier Award for Best Director and the South Bank Award for his productions of Henry VI, I.II,III and Richard III, part of the RSC's This England: The Histories season.
Work for the RSC includes: Antony and Cleopatra 2010/11, The Grain Store 2009, As You Like It, 2009/11 Richard II, Henry IV parts I and II, Henry V (as part of The Histories) 2007/8, Henry VI, parts I, II, III and Richard III for the Complete Works Festival (2006/7), Twelfth Night (2005), Hamlet (2004), The Tempest (2002) Henry VI, parts I, II and III, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet (2000/1), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999), Troilus and Cressida (1999/2000), Measure for Measure (1998/9), Much Ado About Nothing (1995/6), The Spanish Tragedy (1995/6) and The Broken Heart (1994/5).
Michael was founding Artistic Director of the Tron Theatre in Glasgow from 1985. His productions there included The Trick is to Keep Breathing (Tron, Royal Court and World Stage Festival, Toronto), Macbeth (Tron and Mayfest), Good (Mayfest and Edinburgh Festival), The Real World by Michel Tremblay (Tron and Stony Brook Festival, Long Island, New York), Crow by Ted Hughes, Century's End by Michel Tremblay, Salvation by Peter Arnott, The Baby by Chris Hannan, and Clyde Nouveau by Ian Heggie (Tron and Edinburgh International Festival), The Guid Sisters (Tron, Clydebank, World Stage Festival, Toronto and Centaur Theatre, Montreal).
1982-1984 Associate Director, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Productions include Commedia by Marcella Evaristi , A Midsummer Night's Dream and A Passion in Six Days by Howard Barker.
1980-1982 Assistant Associate Director, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. Productions include: Risky City by Ron Hutchinson, Coventry Mystery Plays and Crow by Ted Hughes.
1979 Trainee Director and British Council Fellow, Malaya Bronnaya Theatre, Moscow
Other theatre credits include: Drama Director of the New Beginnings Festival of Soviet Arts (Glasgow, 1989), Miss Julie (Haymarket Theatre, West End 1999), Commedia (Lyric Hammersmith, Nominated Best Play, Evening Standard 1983), Othello (Lyric Hammersmith - Nominated Best Director, Plays and Players 1985), A Passion in Six Days (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Hard to Get (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Hedda Gabler (Leicester Haymarket), The Alchemist (Cambridge Theatre Company).