Robert Thirtle, born in West End, Surrey, has been working as a performer, assistant stage director and designer since 1981. As an actor, he has worked regularly with the director and artistic director of Improbable Theatre, Phelim McDermott, as well as with the director, set and costume designer Julian Crouch: their productions include Dr Faustus and Improbable Tales (Nottingham Playhouse), The Government Inspector (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Satyagraha (English National Opera, Improbable, Metropolitan Opera). He also worked with Julian Crouch as an assistant set and costume designer; he constructed set models, puppets and masks for productions including Wolves in the Walls (Scottish National Theatre), Stars Are Out Tonight (Amici Dance Theatre Company), Die Zauberflöte (Welsh National Opera), Doctor Atomic (English National Opera, Metropolitan Opera), The Enchanted Island (Metropolitan Opera) and The Devil and Mister Punch (Improbable).
As assistant director, he was responsible for the celebrations of the spectacular sporting event Commonwealth Games 2002, the musical Jerry Springer: The Opera (National Theatre), the BBC Radio comedy adaption Round the Horne … Revisited, Johnny Vegas' Interiors (Manchester International Festival), the Armstrong & Miller Show Live (Just for Laughs) and Memories of a Monkey Boy of the Amici Dance Theatre Company (Colombo, Sri Lanka). He has toured internationally with Trickster Theatre (Time of Lies, Mantu, Charavari), the Mime Theatre Project (Thunderbirds FAB, The Three Musketeers), with the Company Gavin Robertson (Fantastical Voyage), The Right Size (Penny Dreadful) and Improbable Theatre (Sticky, The Devil and Mister Punch).
Apart from his work in the theatre, Robert Thirtle has appeared regularly on film and TV. He played more than 30 different alien characters on the British TV series Space Precinct by Gerry Anderson. He also appeared in the movies Return to Oz, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, in the children’s series Brum and Numberjacks as well as the comedy series Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle.