Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Sophie Hunter

Last updated 09 January 2020

Sophie Hunter
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Sophie Irene Hunter

Born: Thursday 16th March 1978 (age: 43)

Curtis Brown (agent)

Sophie Hunter is an English theatre and opera director, playwright, actress, and singer. She directed the revival of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts (2010), the New York City performance art titled Lucretia (2011) based on Benjamin Britten's opera The Rape of Lucretia, the African tour of Mozart's The Magic Flute (2011) and the experimental play 69° South (2013).

Hunter released a French-language music album in 2005 titled The Isis Project in collaboration with songwriter Guy Chambers followed by an English-language album, again with Chambers, titled Songs for a Boy in 2011. Earlier in her career, she has performed in television, film and theatre, appearing in the films Vanity Fair (2004), and Burlesque Fairytales (2009); and the television series Midsomer Murders (2004), and Keen Eddie (2004). She is married to actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Early life and education

Hunter grew up in Hammersmith, west London. Her mother, Anna Katharine (née Gow), worked as an administrator, and her father, Charles Hunter, was an insurance executive who later became a professional card player; the couple later divorced. She has two younger brothers, Patrick and Timothy. Her maternal grandfather is the General Sir Michael James Gow GCB, Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath, who worked with Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester in the 1950s and was Aide-de-Camp General to the Queen from 1981 to 1984. Hunter is a maternal great-granddaughter of World War I politician J. E. B. Seely, 1st Baron Mottistone.

Hunter attended St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith before studying Modern Languages with a concentration in French and Italian at Oxford University. After graduating from Oxford, Hunter resided in Paris to study avant-garde theatre for two years at the L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. She then trained at the Saratoga International Theatre Institute in New York City under the mentorship of theatre and opera director Anne Bogart.


Hunter co-founded the Lacuna Theatre Company, and was an associate director at Royal Court Theatre in the West End and Broadhurst Theatre in Broadway. In addition, she also serves as collaborating director and dramaturge on marionette and puppetry production with the Phantom Limb Company.

Known for her avant-garde plays, she has directed, performed and conceived theatre productions throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America. She directed the experimental play 69° South (2013), the New York performance art titled Lucretia (2011) based on Benjamin Britten's opera The Rape of Lucretia, the African tour of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute (2011), the 2010 revival of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts as well as the Italian production of Leoš Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen and Palestinian production of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fidelio.

Hunter is the artistic director of the Boiler Room, which won the 2007 Samuel Beckett Award for the avant-garde play The Terrific Electric with Hunter as co-director. She is also a member of the performance collective Militia Canteen.

In 2015, she is set to direct two pieces written by British composer Benjamin Britten. One will debut at the Aldeburgh Festival and the other at Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival.

Creative arts

Hunter also works as creative director and has developed projects including 2012's Don't Major In Debt Student House and Loma Lights (2013), one of the largest public arts programs in New York.


In 2005, Hunter recorded a French-language music album titled The Isis Project in collaboration with songwriter Guy Chambers. In 2011, she released an English-language album titled Songs for a Boy, again with Chambers.

Film and television

Earlier in her career, Hunter has acted in film and television. She has had supporting roles in the television series Midsomer Murders (2004), Keen Eddie (2004), Mumbai Calling (2007) and Torchwood (2009). In 2004, she played Maria Osborne in the costume drama film Vanity Fair and played Annabel Blythe-Smith in the 2009 thriller film Burlesque Fairytales.

Personal life

Hunter previously had a long-term relationship with sculptor Conrad Shawcross whom she met while studying at Oxford. The couple split in early 2010.

Hunter's engagement to actor Benedict Cumberbatch was traditionally announced in the "Forthcoming Marriages" section of The Times on 5 November 2014. In January 2015, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed that they are expecting their first child later in the year. On 14 February 2015, the couple married at the 12th century Church of St. Peter and St. Paul on the Isle of Wight followed by a reception at Mottistone Manor.

Biography from the wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA