Having hastily abandoned in quick succession careers in accountancy, social research, social work, and advertising, (much to the relief of the various clientele left behind), Neil entered the world of theatre via weekly stock - acting and directing - and then the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (thanks to the John Gielgud Scholarship and The School Free Place).
Dividing his time in England between acting (radio and television), teaching, and a two year stint as an artistic director, he settled in Canada to find out what he wanted to be when he grew up theatrically, and still doesn’t know.
Now a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC, he holds a Founder’s Ring (and the position of Master Teacher) with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass, and has been recently appointed Text Consultant with both Seattle Shakespeare and the newly founded Whole Actor Enterprise in California. He is/has been a guest faculty member at more than two dozen professional theatre schools in England, U.S.A., and Canada, and has acted with the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, The (Ontario) Stratford Festival, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz.
In the world of professional Shakespeare he has acted in fifteen of the plays, directed twenty-five, and coached them all many times over. His groundbreaking work in using the first printings of the Shakespeare texts in performance, on the rehearsal floor and in the classroom has led to lectures at the Shakespeare Association of America and workshops at both the Association of Theatre in Higher Education and the Voice and Speech Teachers Association, and grants/fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (USA), The Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Canada) and York University in Toronto.
His book on how to use the original scripts, Shakespeare’s First Texts, is now in its second printing, and in addition to the thirty-six individual First Folio Editions (annotated versions of the 1623 First Folio in modern print) and the large 1200 page Applause First Folio of Shakespeare he has completed a new set of thirty-six texts (The Rhythm Texts) exploring the poetic rhythms in Shakespeare plays, setting them down on paper in a way to be of immediate use for both the theatre practitioner, as well as the scholar, teacher, student, and general reader and three separate audition books under the general rubric Once More Unto The Speech Dear Friends containing 900 speeches in annotated side by side modern and First Folio format with a comparative commentary.