He is thin as an exclamation mark with blue eyes and spiky peroxided hair - and his laugh is big enough to engulf him. His beautiful speaking voice is at odds with his energy - languid, as if he had all the time in the world.
Born in Dorset in 1960, the son of a singer and a bank manager, Stephen Daldry joined a youth drama group in Taunton, before winning an RAF scholarship to Sheffield University to study English. Here he cut an ostentatious figure, notable for his flamboyant dress (which included a deerstalker and pillbox hats).
After university, Daldry spent a year travelling through Italy where he became a clown's apprentice. On his return, Daldry worked at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield from 1985 to 1988, then moved to London's Gate Theatre, which he ran between 1990 and 1992.
His National Theatre production of An Inspector Calls, in collaboration with designer and ex-lover Ian MacNeil, won a Tony when it transferred to Broadway in 1994. In 1992 he was appointed artistic director of the Royal Court.
In 1998 he turned film director with a short film called Eight for Working Title. He returned to the theatre to direct David Hare's monologue Via Dolorosa, then embarked on his first feature film, Dancer which was to be later rechristened Billy Elliot (2000).
The film won Oscar nominations for screenwriter Lee Hall, supporting actress Julie Walters, and director Daldry. Sir Elton John and Daldry are currently working on a stage adaptation.
The Hours (2002)
Billy Elliot (2000)