Welcome

Whether on stage or screen, the craft of storytelling usually takes place inside a black box—transporting audiences to worlds, lives, and narratives that reveal to heal. 

Thank you for visiting my website, and for your interest in my story and the stories inside this black box. You’ll find my biography and other materials below.

Because I was blessed to have mentors in Hal Prince, Frank Galati, Terrence McNally and others, I’m including resources at the bottom of this page to help other emerging storytellers, too.

Thanks, friend. Hope to collaborate with you soon.

Biography

Stafford Arima is an award-winning International director for the stage. In 2015 he became the first Asian Canadian to direct a musical on Broadway (Allegiance), and he was nominated for an Olivier Award for his West End premiere production of Ragtime.

Arima is the Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary where he has helmed new works includingForgiveness, Mary and Max, and a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol, as well asBilly Elliot. Arima has also shepherded new works at the Toronto Fringe Festival, New York Musical Theatre Festival, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and New York Stage and Film.

USA credits include Ragtime: 25 Anniversary Concert (Broadway, Minskoff Theatre), The Secret Garden: In Concert (David Geffen Hall, NYC), Carrie (Off-Broadway, Lucille Lortel Theater), Altar Boyz (Off-Broadway, Dodger Stages), The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Roundabout Theatre Company), bare (Off-Broadway, New World Stages), Dial M For Murder (The Old Globe, CA), Poster Boy (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

International credits include Bhangra Nation (The Birmingham Rep, UK), Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Stratford Festival, Canada), and The Secret Garden (Tokyo).

He’s a founding Board member of the Canadian Guild of Stage Directors and Choreographersad a proud member of SDC and CAEA.

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Photo Credit: Trudie Lee

Awards & Nominations
AWARDS

5x Winner — 2023 BroadwayWorld Calgary Awards

Best Direction of a Play
Best Play
Best New Play or Musical
Best Scenic Design of a Play or Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play or Musical

Forgiveness

3x Winner — Betty Mitchell Awards

Outstanding Direction

Outstanding Production of a Play

Outstanding New Play

Forgiveness

3x Winner — Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards

Achievement in Direction

Outstanding New Play

Performance in a Supporting Role

Forgiveness

Winner — Outer Critics Circle Award

Best Off-Broadway Musical

Altar Boyz

Winner — Off-Broadway Alliance Awards

Best Musical Revival

Carrie

Winner — Laurence Olivier Award

Best Actress in a Musical — Maria Friedman

Ragtime

3x Winner — Betty Mitchell Awards

Outstanding Direction

Outstanding Production of a Play

Outstanding New Play

Forgiveness

NOMINATIONS

7x Nominee — Laurence Olivier Awards

Best New Musical

Best Director

2x Best Actor in a Musical

Best Supporting Performance in a Musical

Best Lighting Design

Best Sound Design

Ragtime 

3x Nominee — Betty Mitchell Awards

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Drama

Outstanding Projection or Video Design

Outstanding Costume Design
Forgiveness

6x Nominee — Alberta Film & Television Awards

Best Director

Best Scripted Feature

Best Screenwriter 

Best Original Musical Score 

Best Production Reflecting Cultural Diversity

Best Performance by an Alberta Actor

A Christmas Carol

2x Nominee — Drama Desk Awards
Best Musical Revival
Carrie

Outstanding Musical

Altar Boyz

2x Nominee — Drama League Awards

Best Musical Revival

Carrie

Distinguished Production of a Musical

Altar Boyz

2x Nominee — Outer Critics Circle Awards

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical

The Tin Pan Alley Rag

Best Musical Revival

Carrie

Nominee — Lucille Lortel Award

Outstanding Musical

Altar Boyz

Nominee — Joe A. Callaway Award

Best Direction

Altar Boyz

Film & Television

Allegiance

Broadway Company & Sing Out Louise Productions

A Christmas Carol
Theatre Calgary & 4K Film Production

"I Got All I Need (This Christmas)"

Lynne Shankel, Jon Hartmere & Joe's Pub

"Phenomenal Woman"

Lynne Shankel

"Bowfire"

PBS television special

International

Artistic Director
Theatre Calgary, Canada

Bhangra Nation
(formerly Bhangin' It)
The Birmingham Rep, UK

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris

Stratford Festival, Canada

Ragtime

Piccadilly Theatre, West End, UK

Allegiance

Tokyo International Forum Hall, Japan

The Secret Garden

Toho Company Limited, Japan

Selected Credits: View More

New York

Ragtime 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert

Minskoff Theatre

Allegiance

Longacre Theatre

Two Class Acts: Ajax & Squash

The Flea Theater

The Secret Garden in Concert

David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center

Carrie

MCC Theater

Altar Boyz

New World Stages

The Tin Pan Alley Rag

Laura Pells Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company

bare
New World Stages

Saturday Night

The York Theatre Company

Selected Credits: View More